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What Is Biofeedback?

Updated: Aug 26, 2023

If you google biofeedback, for me the Mayo Clinic definition popped up first saying biofeedback is "a type of mind-body technique you use to control some of your body's functions, such as your heart rate, breathing patterns and muscle responses. During biofeedback, you're connected to electrical pads that help you get information about your body."

When it comes to addressing it from a nutritional standpoint, biofeedback, in its simplest terms, is the communication your body gives to you in response to the external inputs it receives including anything ingested via your lungs, mind, GI system and skin.

Our bodies are constantly communicating with us in various ways, from headaches and neck pain to digestive distress and changes in bowel habits to skin rashes and menstrual pain. As a registered dietitian, when I look at biofeedback, here's what I'm assessing and addressing:

  • abdominal symptoms - do you experience pain, bloating, cramping with or without eating? Do you have any diagnosed digestive disorders? what types of food do you frequently eat?

  • menstrual cycle - what's the length of your cycle and how long has it been that way? how heavy or light is your flow? what symptoms accompany our cycle?

  • bowel movements - The Bristol chart is a great way to address the 'health' of your stool and how your bowels are functioning. You want to aim for a type 3 or 4 consistency, anything outside of that needs to be addressed!

  • sleep quality - is it hard or easy for you to fall asleep and stay asleep? how rested do you feel when you wake up? do you wake up frequently throughout the night and is it hard for you to fall back asleep? what's your nighttime routine look like? do your pets sleep with you in bed? what's the temperature in your room? do you sleep with a SO?

  • stress levels and stress management - what stressors do you have in life that are generally out of your control and which ones are within your control? how do you manage your stress? what type of self-care routines or things do you utilize?

  • mood and emotional regularity - how are you feeling on this protocol? do you practice gratitude daily? are you cranky and frustrated or joyful and pleasant? are you able to let things go easily or do you hold grudges?

  • energy throughout the day - are your macros at the right ratios? do we need to increase your intake or carb cycle to meet certain energy demands? do you crash mid-day? how much caffeine are you consuming? do you have energy for your workouts?

  • hunger, cravings, satiety cues - are you constantly hungry? thinking about food all the time? stressed out about this plan/protocol? feel like you can't ever tell if you're full or truly satisfied or maybe you're getting really full fast or too soon than you would think.

  • recovery from training - do you feel like you're recovering well? do we need to manage your volume and intensity of your workouts? are you constantly sore? do it hurt to walk or climb the stairs? do you dread your workouts or look forward to them?

All of these questions are things I address regularly and routinely with clients to make sure that the current plan is still working or to see if any changes need to be made to make sure we are still working towards achieving your goals!

If you believe you need further help, guidance and accountability from a coach so you can have someone else monitor all of this for you, then please apply to work with me here! I'd love to help you achieve your goals if you're truly ready for a change!

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