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Biofeedback as a Medical Treatment

Julius Segal, PhD
JAMA. 1975;232(2):179-180. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03250020053030.
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FOLLOWING a recent meeting of the Biofeedback Research Society, one optimistic writer reported in the popular press that "biofeedback provides those suffering from functional disorders of all types with a viable alternative to the combination of drugs and surgery offered by traditional Western medicine." That statement-and dozens more like it—reflect the furor therapeuticus that has arisen of late about a field of research whose clinical applications are still uncertain, but that has raised dazzling prospects for healing, among professionals and laymen alike.

The term "feedback" was coined by mathematician Norbert Weiner to mean "a method of controlling the system by reinstating into it the results of its past performance." In 1969, at the first meeting of the Biofeedback Research Society, the term was given its physiological context, referring to any technique using instrumentation intended to give a person immediate and continuing signals of changes in a bodily function of which


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