Biofeedback: Moderately Effective

Moderate effectiveness: 0.57

What is Biofeedback?

1. In a biofeedback session, electrodes are attached to your skin. Finger sensors can alsowill-o-253882-unsplash be used. These electrodes/sensors send signals to a monitor, which displays a sound, flash of light, or image that represents your heart and breathing rate, blood pressure, skin temperature, sweating, or muscle activity.

2. Relaxation techniques are then used as you watch the monitor tracking your heart/breathing rate, blood pressure, temperature… etc.




0.83 large effect: reduced stress and anxiety symptoms (Goessl, Curtiss, & Hofmann, 2017)

0.60 medium effect: reduced pain intensity (Sielski, Rief, & Glombiewski, 2017)

0.62 medium effect: improvement was moderate at follow-up 8 months later (Sielski, Rief, & Glombiewski, 2017)

0.40 small to moderate effect: reduced depression symptoms (Sielski, Rief, & Glombiewski, 2017)

0.49 small to moderate effect: reduced disability (Sielski, Rief, & Glombiewski, 2017)

0.44 small to moderate effect: reduced muscle tension (Sielski, Rief, & Glombiewski, 2017)

0.41 small to moderate effect: improved cognitive coping (Sielski, Rief, & Glombiewski, 2017)

0.73 moderate to large effect: reduced frequency of tension headache episodes (Nestoriuc, Rief, & Martin, 2008)


Goessl, V. C., Curtiss, J. E., & Hofmann, S. G. (2017). The effect of heart rate variability biofeedback training on stress and anxiety: A meta-analysis. Psychological Medicine, 47(15), 2578-2586. doi:10.1017/S0033291717001003

Nestoriuc, Y., Rief, W., & Martin, A. (2008). Meta-analysis of biofeedback for tension-type headache: Efficacy, specificity, and treatment moderators. Journal Of Consulting And Clinical Psychology, 76(3), 379-396. doi:10.1037/0022-006X.76.3.379

Sielski, R., Rief, W., & Glombiewski, J. A. (2017). Efficacy of biofeedback in chronic back pain: A meta-analysis. International Journal Of Behavioral Medicine, 24(1), 25-41. doi:10.1007/s12529-016-9572-9

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