Biofeedback, a field still in its infancy, has developed treatments that have been used with clinical success in the treatment of a number of disorders. Many have expressed their public concern that biofeedback has not lived up to its early promise and that it has not developed treatments that are, in fact, efficacious. A number of factors, which are inherent in biofeedback research, confound the results of clinical efficacy studies of biofeedback treatments. Researchers interested in the efficacy of biofeedback must address several issues: (1) Rejecting the null hypothesis is not equal to proving the null hypothesis (without the use of power analysis); (2) control for nonspecific effects is not equal to a double-blind experimental design; (3) ignorance of a mechanism of action is not equal to a lack of clinical efficacy; (4) the administration of training is not equal to the subject's learning to criterion; (5) untrained therapists are not equal to trained therapists; (6) statistical significance is not equal to clinical significance; and (7) the laboratory setting is not equal to the clinical setting.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Basmajian, J. V. Control of individual motor units.American Journal of Physical Medicine 1967,46, 480–486.
Basmajian, J. V., & Hatch, J. P. Biofeedback and the modification of skeletal muscular dysfunctions. In Gatchel & Price (Eds.),Clinical applications of biofeedback: Appraisal and status. New York: Pergamon Press, 1979.
Blanchard, E. B., Theobald, D. E., Williamson, D. A., Silver, B. V. & Brown, D. A. Temperature biofeedback in the treatment of migraine headaches: A controlled evaluation.Archives of General Psychiatry, 1978,35, 581–588.
Blanchard, E. B., & Young, L. D. Clinical applications of biofeedback training: A review of evidence.Archives of General Psychiatry 1974,30, 530–589.
Broad, W. J. News and comment briefing.Science, 1980,208, 1354–1355.
Brucker, B. S., & Ince, L. P. Biofeedback as an experimental treatment for postural hypotension in a patient with a spinal cord lesion.Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 1977,58, 49–53.
Brudny, J., Grynbaum, B. B., & Korein, J. Spasmodic torticollis: Treatment by feedback display of the EMG.Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 1974,55, 403–408.
Budzynski, T. H. Biofeedback in the treatment of muscle contraction headache.Biofeedback and Self-Regulation 1978,3, 409–434.
Cohen, J.Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences. New York: Academic Press, 1969.
Diamond, S., Diamond-Falk, J., & Deveno, T. Biofeedback in the treatment of vascular headache.Biofeedback and Self-Regulation, 1978,3, 385–408.
Engel, B. T., & Bleecker, E. R. Application of operant conditioning techniques to the control of cardiac arrhythmias. In Obrist, Black, Brenner, & DiCara (Eds.),Cardiovascular psychophysiology. Chicago: Aldine-Atherton, 1974.
Engel, B. T., Nikoomanesh, P., & Schuster, M. M. Operant conditioning of rectosphincteric responses in the treatment of fecal incontinence.New England Journal of Medicine 1974,290, 646–649.
Fahrion, S. L. Autogenic biofeedback for treatment of migraine.Mayo Clinic Proceedings 1977,52, 776–784.
Fernando, C. K., & Basmajian, J. V. Biofeedback in physical medicine and rehabilitation.Biofeedback and Self-Regulation 1978,3, 435–455.
Furman, S. Intestinal biofeedback in functional diarrhea: A preliminary report.Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry 1973,4, 317–321.
Goldstein, A., Lowney, L. I., & Pal, B. K. Stereospecific and nonspecific interactions of the morphine congener levorphanol in sub-cellular fractions of mouse brain.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 1971,68, 1742–1747.
Harris, A. H., & Brady, J. V. Long term studies of cardiovascular control in primates. In Schwartz & Beatty (Eds.),Biofeedback: Theory and research. New York: Academic Press, 1977.
Havelick, R. J., Rosenberg, S., & Stroebel, C. F.,Biofeedback in clinical practice. New York: Institute for Psychosomatic Research, 1981.
Haynes, S. N., Moseley, D., & McGowan, W. T. Relaxation training and biofeedback in the reduction of frontalis muscle tension.Psychophysiology 1975,12, 547–552.
Hutchings, D. F., & Reinking, R. H. Tension headaches: What form of therapy is most effective?Biofeedback and Self-Regulation 1976,1, 183–190.
Jessup, B. A., Neufield, R., & Merskey, H. Biofeedback therapy for headache and other pain: An evaluative review.Pain 1979,7, 225–270.
Kewman, D., & Roberts, A. H. Skin temperature biofeedback and migraine headache: A double blind study.Biofeedback and Self-Regulation 1980,5, 327–345.
Konowe, L., & Zeeve, C. Biofeedback and tension headaches: How efficacious are the efficacy studies?, in press.
Kristt, D. A., & Engel, B. T. Learned control of blood pressure in patients with high blood pressure.Circulation 1975,51, 370–378.
Middaugh, S. EMG feedback as a muscle reeducation technique: A controlled study.Physical Therapy 1978,58, 15–22.
Miller, N. E. Effect of learning on gastrointestinal functions.Clinics in Gastroenterology 1977,6, 533–546.
Miller, N. E. Behavioral medicine, biofeedback, and homeostasis: New applications of learning.Psychiatric Annals 1981,11, 58–63.
Miller, N. E., & Brucker, B. S. A learned visceral response apparently independent of skeletal ones in patients paralyzed by spinal lesions. In Birbaumer & Kimmel (Eds.),Biofeedback and Self-Regulation. Hillside, New Jersey: Erlbaum, 1979.
Patel, C. H. Biofeedback-aided relaxation and meditation in the management of hypertension.Biofeedback and Self-Regulation 1977,2, 1–41.
Philips, C. The modification of tension headache pain using EMG biofeedback.Behaviour Research and Therapy 1977,15, 119–129.
Ray, W. J., Raczynski, J. M., Rogers, T., & Kimball, W. H.Evaluation of clinical biofeedback. New York: Plenum Press, 1979.
Reinking, R. H., & Kohl, M. L. Effects of various forms of relaxation training on physiological self-report measures of relaxation.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 1975,43, 595–600.
Sappington, J. T., Fiorito, E. M., & Brehony, K. A. Biofeedback as therapy in Raynaud's disease.Biofeedback and Self-Regulation 1979,4, 155–169.
Sargent, J. D., Green, E. E., & Walters, E. D. The use of autogenic training in a pilot study of migraine and tension headaches.Headache 1972,12, 120–124.
Sterman, M. B. Neurophysiologic and clinical studies of sensorimotor EEG biofeedback training: Some effects on epilepsy.Seminars in Psychiatry 1973,5, 507–525.
Sterman, M. B. Clinical implications of EEG biofeedback training: A critical appraisal. In Schwartz & Beatty (Eds.),Biofeedback: Theory and research. New York: Academic Press, 1977.
Taub, E. Self regulation of human tissue temperature. In Schwartz & Beatty (Eds.),Biofeedback: Theory and research. New York: Academic Press, 1977.
Taub, E. Presidential address to the annual meetings of the Biofeedback Society of America, Louisville, 1981.
Taub, E., & Emurian, C. S.Operant control of skin temperature. Paper presented at meeting of the Biofeedback Research Society, St. Louis, 1971.
Taub, E., & School, P. J. Some methodological considerations in thermal biofeedback training.Behavior Research Methods and Instrumentation 1978,10(5), 617–622.
Taub, E., & Stroebel, C. F. Biofeedback in the treatment of vasoconstrictive syndromes.Biofeedback and Self-Regulation 1978,3, 363–373.
Turin, A., & Johnson, M. G. Biofeedback therapy for migraine headaches.Archives of General Psychiatry 1976,33, 517–519.
Whitehead, W. E. Biofeedback in the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders.Biofeedback and Self-Regulation 1978,3, 375–384.
About this article
Cite this article
Steiner, S.S., Dince, W.M. Biofeedback efficacy studies. Biofeedback and Self-Regulation 6, 275–288 (1981). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01000653
- Clinical Significance
- Null Hypothesis
- Clinical Setting
- Health Psychology
- Clinical Efficacy