So you go to your urologist, colorectal doctor, or other healthcare provider and they say you need “biofeedback.”
As a pelvic health practice, we see it all the time on the referrals we receive from providers. What is biofeedback and what is it for? Well, that is a complicated answer. The biofeedback that providers are usually referring to is a type of machine that detects the electrical activity of a muscle, but the actual term “biofeedback” encompasses any type of feedback that uses your body to give you a sense of what is happening in your body.
Types of Biofeedback Used in Pelvic Physical Therapy
Verbal or tactile cueing by therapist for proper muscle contraction.
For this type of biofeedback, we provide different cues for visualization or on technique in real time. Oftentimes, we combine verbal cues with tapping or resisting the muscle that we want you to activate.
Electrical activity (measured in microvolts (μV) in the working muscle/motor unit is received by biofeedback hardware and presented in visual graph form on handheld device or computer screen.
For this type of biofeedback, we place disposable sensors on your pelvic floor muscles.This is not e-stim and you don’t get any electric shock…the surface sensors are just reading your muscle activity.
Alternatively, you can use an internal (vaginal or rectal) biofeedback sensor that records your muscle recruitment.
Not everyone needs “kegels” or strengthening in pelvic floor PT. In fact, many people needs to work on mobility and education and surface EMG can both be used for that reason.
Various sizes and shapes of weights placed into the vagina facilitate muscle contraction and promote strength.
We can help you navigate which type of weight would be best for you.
First perineometer or pressure biofeedback device was developed by Dr. Kegel (Kegel, 1952; Newman, 2014)
A perineometer is a small internal sensor that measures squeeze ability of the pelvic floor muscles (PFMs) by detecting and recording pressure changes with muscle contraction.
Biofeedback is just one tool of many others in our toolbox. Biofeedback and pelvic floor physical therapy are NOT the same thing.
-Zazu Cioce PT, DPT, CAAP-OB
Certification in Pregnancy and Postpartum Physical Therapy