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Types of Biofeedback Machines or Biofeedback Techniques
Several different types of biofeedback machines can provide information about
the systems in your body that are affected by stress.
The electromyogram (EMG) measures muscle tension. Two electrodes (or sensors)
are placed on your skin over the muscle to be monitored. The most common muscles
that biofeedback practitioners will use are the frontalis (the "frowning" muscle
in your forehead), the masseter (jaw muscle), and the trapezium (the shoulder muscles
that hunch when you're stressed). This machine had been utilized to rehabilitate
patients paralyzed by stroke. Even when a person has no sensation in a paralyzed
limb and cannot move it voluntarily, EMG can often detect some electrical activity
in the muscles. The EMG machine amplifies the electrical sound emitting from the
paralyzed limb, and as the patient becomes aware of the activity, his nervous system
may stimulate more muscle activity. Eventually, new nerve endings may grow in the
affected muscles and the patient may regain some mobility.
More often EMG is used to promote relaxation in muscles that have become tense
in response to stress. When the electrodes pick up on muscle tension, the machine
gives you a signal, such as a colored light or sound. In this way, you can see or
hear continuous monitoring of your muscle activity and begin to focus on what the
activity (or tension) feels like. As you become more aware of this internal process,
you will begin to recognize in your daily life when tension starts to build. You
then can use the techniques you learn in the biofeedback training to control the
tension before it gets worse or causes other physical problems.
EMG had been used for the treatment of tension headaches, backache, neck pain,
and bruxism as well as in the stress related illnesses such as asthma and ulcers.