Overindulging and high stress levels can often lead to digestive problems. Fortunately, biofeedback can help you control your GI tract and keep you on the right path.
Biofeedback operates on the idea that you have an innate ability to control physical functions in your body. Biofeedback techniques vary, but they all require the use of devices that measure particular bodily functions—muscle tension, skin temperature, sweat gland activity, brain waves, or heart rate. Once you know the rate of these functions in your body, you can train yourself to manipulate them to achieve the result you want—including healthy digestion.
According to Dr. Satish S.C. Rao and colleagues at the University of Iowa, biofeedback is particularly effective as a long-term therapy for the most common cause of chronic constipation. They tested 52 patients, 47 of whom were women, on the effectiveness of a three-month biofeedback program versus standard therapy (diet, exercise, and laxatives). Twelve months later, those using biofeedback had significant improvement in bowel movements and reported greater satisfaction with bowel function than those using the standard therapy.
If you would like to find a qualified biofeedback therapist in your area, contact the Biofeedback Certification Institute of America (www.bcia.org). You may also be able to get a referral through your doctor.