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.
|Citation||Helen Cooke, CAM-Cancer Consortium. Biofeedback [online document]. http://ws.cam-cancer.org/The-Summaries/Mind-body-interventions/Biofeedback. April 29, 2016.|
- Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback USA [website], accessed 16th September 2015.
- Sellick SM and Zaza C. Critical review of 5 nonpharmacologic strategies for managing cancer pain. Cancer Prev Control. 1998; 2(1):7-14.
- Burish TG and Jenkins RA. Effectiveness of biofeedback and relaxation training in reducing the side effects of cancer chemotherapy. SO: Health Psychology: Official journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association. 1992; (1): 17-23.
- Payne R and Donaghy M. 2010. 4th Edition. Payne’s Handbook of Relaxation Techniques: a practical guide for the health care professional. London: Churchill Livingstone, Elsevier.
- Tsai PS, Chen PL, Lai YL, Lee MB, Lin CC. Effects of electromyography biofeedback-assisted relaxation on pain in patients with advanced cancer in a palliative care unit. Cancer Nursing. 2007; 30(5):347-53.
- Gruber BL, Hersh SP et al. Immunological responses of breast cancer patients to behavioral interventions. SO: Biofeedback and self-regulation. 1993; (1): 1-22.
- Fotopoulos SS, Cook MR, Graham C, Cohen H, Gerkovich M, Bond SS, Knapp T: Cancer pain: evaluation of electromyographic and electrodermal feedback. Prog Clin Biol Res. 1983; 132D:33-53. Ref ID: 25675
- Ernst E, Pittler M, Wider B and Boddy K. Oxford Handbook of Complementary Medicine. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.
- Shockey DP, Menzies V, Glick DF, Taylor AG, Boitnott A, Rovnyak V. Preprocedural distress in children with cancer: an intervention using biofeedback and relaxation. Journal of pediatric oncology nursing : official journal of the Association of Pediatric Oncology Nurses. 2013;30(3):129-38.
- The Biofeedback Certification International Alliance [website], accessed 16th September 2015
- The Biofeedback Federation of Europe [website], accessed 16th September 2015
- The International Society for Feedback Research [website], accessed 16th September 2015
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.