Biofeedback began in the early 1960s as a technology to treat particular medical conditions while increasing human ability. Research has discovered a connection between the body and mind, and people can be taught to harness their natural abilities to improve health and bodily function. Biofeedback is defined as the awareness of human physiological functions by using instruments that monitors certain criteria of the body.
Biofeedback therapists are able to manipulate physiological functions based on the information provided during monitoring. The therapist can then manipulate a patient’s heart rate, brainwaves, pain perception and other processes using biofeedback.
Biofeedback Therapist Job Responsibilities
A Biofeedback therapist has the responsibility of working with various clients to assess problems. This includes implementing programs to measure the client’s progress, in the voluntary control of the bodily functions. A therapist will also provide proper care to the patient as needed and monitor the patient on an ongoing basis, while modifying the treatment based on the patient’s progress and reaction to therapy. Biofeedback instruments track the patient’s progress, check for improved symptoms, and checking for the ability to control physical functions.
Biofeedback is successful in treating a wide variety of conditions including high blood pressure, without the presence of medicine. Biofeedback practitioners usually work in hospitals, physical therapy practices and medical offices. Patient sessions usually last for 30 to 60 minutes, while incorporating the use of biofeedback tools that measure heart rate variations and body temperature.
Biofeedback Therapist Training and Education Requirements
A career in biofeedback requires certain types of credentials and educational background. A bachelor’s or master’s degree in a health care field is generally required. Particular classes such as anatomy, counseling and respiratory therapy are helpful in pursuing a career in biofeedback. In addition, particular courses in biofeedback are required, as well as clinical training and psychology classes.
Earning a certification in biofeedback can improve the chances of finding a career as a biofeedback therapist, and can help establish more credibility in the field. The Biofeedback Certification Institute of America (BCIA) offers numerous certification programs. Becoming certified requires attending training sessions, completion of all coursework with a mentor approved by the BCIA, successful passing of a test, and paying the certification expenses.
Biofeedback Therapist Salary and Wages
A biofeedback therapist salary ranges depending on the job nature and other factors such as geographic location. Some states pay more in salary than other states, sometimes by tens of thousands of dollars. For instance, salaries in one state can begin at $60,000.00, while the salary in another state could start at $40,000.00. The general salary range is roughly between $40,000.00 and $80,000.00 per year.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Biofeedback Therapist Certifications
A bachelor’s degree in nursing, psychology, human behavior or counseling is generally required. Certification is not a requirement for those looking to practice in biofeedback therapy, but certifications are highly recommended by the BCIA to assure the patients of ensure quality care. A state-issued license is required where applicable, by the state in which the therapist resides.
The BICA encourages earning a degree in a health-based field prior to practicing clinically, such as medicine or nursing. In certain instances the coursework can substitute for the degree requirements, but an education usually requires 48 hours of biofeedback coursework. Classes can include physiological psychology, statistics, lifespan development and more. In addition to coursework requirements, training for at least 20 hours with a mentor, is required to obtain BICA certification.
Biofeedback Therapist Professional Associations
There are several organizations founded for the purpose of studying and understanding biofeedback, as well as certifying individuals who meet requirements and are looking to advance their education. Here are several professional associations for biofeedback practitioners.
Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB)
The Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, also known as the AAPB, was founded in 1969. This non-profit organization has the goal of promoting biofeedback, while advancing the procedures used during its practice.
Biofeedback Certification International Alliance (BCIA)
The Biofeedback Certification International Alliance (BCIA) was formed in 1981. The BCIA was created to certify individuals who have met the requirements for training and education in biofeedback. The alliance also recertifies people who have continued to advance their expertise through education. The BCIA was formerly known as the Biofeedback Institute of America, until the name changed to BCIA in March of 2010.
International Society for Neurofeedback and Research (ISNR)
The ISNR, also known as the International Society for Neurofeedback & Research, is a society consisting of people from across the world, with various professional disciplines based on neurofeedback, neurotherapy, research and training. The ISNR seeks to promote neurofeedback, with the goal of its acceptance as a valid discipline.
Public interest in biofeedback continues to grow and more opportunities are becoming available for students entering this field. Biofeedback therapy is an exciting field will prove to be an excellent career choice for qualified individuals.