Abstract and key points
- Biofeedback involves the use of instrumentation to monitor, amplify, and feed back information on physiological responses so that a patient can learn to regulate these responses.
- There is presently a lack of good quality, single-intervention trials, so it is not possible to draw clear conclusions about the role of biofeedback for people with cancer.
- Biofeedback has a good safety record.
Biofeedback involves the use of instrumentation to monitor, amplify, and feed back information on physiological responses so that a patient can learn to regulate these responses. Although some of the studies included in this summary indicate an improvement in pain relief and chemotherapy-related nausea and anxiety, these studies have not been reproduced and have considerable methodological limitations. Four of the five trials included have 12 participants or fewer per group. The only larger, well-conducted study reported no benefits when compared with relaxation and no intervention. Evidence is therefore insufficient to document the benefits of biofeedback for people with cancer.
Biofeedback is considered to have few adverse effects.
CitationHelen Cooke, CAM-Cancer Consortium. Biofeedback [online document]. http://cam-cancer.org/The-Summaries/Mind-body-interventions/Biofeedback. April 29, 2016.
Most recent update and revision in November 2015 by Helen Cooke.
Summary fully updated and revised in November 2013 by Helen Cooke.
Summary fully updated and revised in September 2012 by Helen Cooke.
Summary first published in August 2011, authored by Helen Cooke.
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The present documentation has been compiled by the CAM-CANCER Project with all due care and expert knowledge. However, the CAM-CANCER Project provides no assurance, guarantee or promise with regard to the correctness, accuracy, up-to-date status or completeness of the information it contains. This information is designed for health professionals. Readers are strongly advised to discuss the information with their physician. Accordingly, the CAM-CANCER Project shall not be liable for damage or loss caused because anyone relies on the information.