Manual Biofeedback

The term biofeedback was coined in the 1960's by scientists who trained human subjects to consciously alter their brain and body function.

Biofeedback played an important evolutionary role in human survival--the development and use of clothing, footwear and shelter altered the human brain and body function.  Today's use of biofeedback include:

  • taking temperature with a thermometer
  • heart rate monitoring during exercise
  • manual muscle testing (MMT) using AK and related techniques
  • other procedures: pain control, stress management, gut function, blood pressure control, exercises such as Kegal's for the pelvic floor

Electromyographic (EMG) biofeedback measures electric potentials in skeletal muscles.  Electroencephalographic (EEG) biofeedback measures the brain's electrical output (neurofeedback). EMG and EEG biofeedback traditionally rely on computer and other technology for assessment and treatment.  

Manual Biofeedback (MB) combines EMG and EEG type biofeedback. It is a hands-on therapy that does not require the use of computers, electrodes and other technology.  It addresses the full spectrum of neuromuscular function: brain spinal cord and muscle.  A physicians knowledge of MMT allow immediate use of MB. It can quickly improve brain and muscle function! It addresses clinically difficult cases--stroke, brain injuries, etc. It can help improve the strength of "normal" muscles.  It can eliminate the need for other neuromuscular procedures.

MB integrates the doctor's sensory system as a sensor rather than traditional biofeedback equipment (electrodes and mechanical sensors).  Instead of auditory/visual feedback from a computer, the doctor communicates with the patient manually.

The goal of MB is to enhance neural plasticity--the stimulation or recruitment of unused or underused synapses for improved motor control. It is active and task-oriented therapy involving patient participation.  It improved physical movement--one fiber at a time. Muscle contraction releases myokines (a cytokine) that have far reaching affects on the brain, related organs, and fat cells.

Movement is a powerful therapy in itself: from improved posture and gait (walking) to better brain function, including speech, vision, balance, memory and even intellect.

Respiratory biofeedback can help improve brain function.  It is a simple but effective version of traditional EEG-type biofeedback. It does not require EEG equipment. It can help change the characteristics of brain waves fro better brain function. It can help many types of patients: traumatic injury, attention deficit, alcoholism, anxiety and depression, seizures, sleep disorders, metabolic problems, and for performance enhancement. It combines various procedures that help increase the brain's production of alpha waves (relaxes alertness/higher consciousness).

Increased alpha waves (8-12 Hz) is associated with:

  • an overall healthy brain (relaxed, creative, meditative, happy)
  • reduced high levels of cortisol
  • balanced autonomic nervous system
  • reduced pain
  • improved memory, learning, comprehension, blood sugar, gut function, hormone balance, and other factors

The inability to produce alpha waves is abnormal, and is often due to inadequate sleep, nutritional imbalance, and very high levels of stress (elevated cortisol). "Weak" or inhibited TMJ muscles, neck flexors, the upper trapezius, and all other muscles innervated by cranial nerves, can impair alpha wave activity.  Correction of these muscles can help the brain produce alpha waves.

For more information of Manual Biofeedback and Related topics:

  • (especially sections on Biofeedback, Doctors, etc., and AK Page
  • "Manual Biofeedback: A novel approach to the assessment and treatment of neuromuscular dysfunction" (Maffetone, P. J Alt Med Res 1(3): 221-232, 2009), which includes a list of important references

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