Diabetes & Biofeedback

Biofeedback can be useful in any form of diabetes—Types 1, 2, and gestational diabetes as well as the less common forms of diabetes such as MODY. Recent studies from the Cleveland Clinic have indicated that various forms of biofeedback can lower blood sugar values, lower the A1c value and decrease blood pressure readings.

Biofeedback for Diabetes

Biofeedback is a type of therapy that involves the use of technology to monitor involuntary body responses, such as heart rate and perspiration, with the goal of learning to control these responses in order to improve a mental or physical health condition. Biofeedback can help treat chronic neuropathic pain and prevent or help treat diabetes complications, such as foot ulcers.

Nerve damage associated with diabetes can lead to ulcers (open sores), especially on the feet. If ulcers become severe and do not heal properly, amputation of the foot may be necessary. Biofeedback therapy can help teach an individual to walk in a way that reduces pressure in certain areas of the feet, allowing ulcers to heal and preventing the need for further treatment or amputation. This type of biofeedback uses an in-shoe foot pressure measurement system. The system measures what is known as peak plantar pressure (PPP).

During a biofeedback session to help treat or prevent complications in the feet caused by diabetic neuropathy, biofeedback equipment is used to monitor foot pressure as the individual walks with their usual gait. Feedback is then provided regarding the PPP in the problematic area of the foot. Then, a trained therapist teaches the individual a new walking strategy that reduces pressure on the ulcer. The individual practices the new gait and progress is monitored until the PPP decreases to an acceptable level. They can then implement the new walking strategy without the use of biofeedback technology in order to help heal the ulcer and prevent further complications.

Biofeedback is generally a safe alternative treatment option for diabetic neuropathy; it can help reduce chronic neuropathic pain and promote the healing of ulcers on the feet. Biofeedback Programs:

  • Addictive Behaviors

  • ADHD & ADD

  • Brain Injury

  • Depression

  • Cognitive Decline

  • Migraines

  • Pain

  • Peak Performance

  • PTSD

  • Sensory Integration

  • Sleep & Fatigue

  • Weight Loss

Biofeedback is a therapy that helps you gain a measure of control over typically involuntary functions. During a biofeedback therapy session, electrodes are attached to your skin that help monitor your body’s natural responses to pain and help you to regulate them.

How Biofeedback Sessions Work

During your biofeedback session, electrodes are attached to your skin. The electrodes relay signals to a monitor that measures all of your body’s responses, like breathing rate, blood pressure, temperature, muscle activity, and even sweating.

The monitor directly measures your body’s responses to stress. So you can see immediately how your body reacts when you experience pain or a migraine comes on. We then help you practice relaxation techniques that can be precisely tuned to control a variety of bodily functions.

Using biofeedback, you are taught how to relax with a couple of methods, including:

  • Deep breathing — you concentrate on your breath

  • Mindful meditation — you focus on being fully present and aware in the moment

  • Guided imagery — you concentrate your mind on a specific image to focus and relax your mind

  • Progressive muscle relaxation — you tighten then relax particular muscle groups

As you employ these relaxation techniques, we can see on the monitor how your body responds to each relaxation method and how you can control the biological functions that exacerbate pain.

Questions and Answers

Q: Is biofeedback beneficial for diabetes?

A: Yes, particularly in helping regulate blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and circulation and particularly during more stressful times.

Q: What can be controlled with biofeedback in people with diabetes?

A: Blood pressure, blood flow, and blood sugar levels can be controlled with biofeedback. Biofeedback can be used to decrease the effects of peripheral neuropathy (reducing pain) and diabetic retinopathy (reducing the risk of slowing the progress). It can also lead to better sleep, better mood, and overall better glycemic control.

Q: What is biofeedback training in the case of diabetes?

A: There is no specific diabetes biofeedback program and the changes in blood sugar are not monitored via any electrodes—these values are still measured and monitored using fingersticks, blood tests, and meters. However, studies have indicated that over time, the reduction of the overall stress response can positively affect blood sugar levels.

Q: Is biofeedback therapy for diabetes costly?

A: It may be expensive depending on what coverage you may have.

Q: Is biofeedback therapy for diabetes available everywhere?

A: Biofeedback is available in most countries, but is more likely centered around the larger cities and populated areas.

Q: Is biofeedback therapy recommended?

A: Biofeedback is becoming more and more mainstream and is more often recommended for patients with diabetes in order to maximize their control of blood sugar, and blood pressure, increase circulation and reduce the effects of peripheral neuropathy and retinopathy. It is also recommended to relieve stress, improve sleep quality, improve mood and outlook, and the overall quality of life.

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