Many people don’t have any experience with biofeedback; it is another one of those well kept secrets. Let us explain a little bit about what biofeedback is and it is really cool. Biofeedback uses sensitive computerized instrumentation to monitor the physiological responses of your body. Since this equipment monitors what’s happening inside your body, it can reveal muscle activity below the level of your awareness.
At a typical first session sensors are attached to 6 muscles of the head, face and neck simultaneously to discover what muscles are tighter than normal. What is important is if these muscles have above normal tension, they can’t relax voluntarily. They can’t relax them because the muscles and fascia have gotten short and are unable to stretch back out to their normal length.
So, biofeedback equipment shows the unconscious muscle activity to you on a computer screen, but it is necessary to have someone who knows how the process works of re-training the muscles back to normal. Then you begin to see how to change the behavior which in turn changes the muscle activity that is causing the headaches.
It was not uncommon for me to see jaw or neck or face muscles showing 20 or 25 times the normal level of muscle activity in the first session. But, by the time they relaxed down to normal their headaches had been resolved and they no longer suffered from chronic headaches. This process was the norm, 98% of the time our patients were able to become pain free in a few months. After learning how to really relax you can do it without the equipment.
Frankly, this was the most satisfying part of our counseling practice; it is really gratifying to have something definitive to point to when a client came to the office with headaches. When asked if they are tense, they would say ‘no, not really’. Then sensors were connected to show the types of signals they were generating which were way above normal and they say ‘wow, I had no idea’. Teaching them how to return the muscle activity to normal and the headache pain went away. We really loved this process. But, sadly due to the forces in politics and medicine biofeedback and the specific protocol we used in our clinic never became widely used by doctors.