The Science

Evidence Matters

It is good to question. It is even better to seek answers based on sound reasoning, evidence, and direct experience. This holds true whether you are drawn to Western or to Eastern medicine and philosophy.

Biofeedback reduces stress and anxiety, and much more, evidence shows

Biofeedback treatments require active, intelligent participation in the process, and this is supported by a clear understanding of the theory behind it and the evidence for it working. Recognizing this need, the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB) has compiled statistics from hundreds of studies that tested the effectiveness of biofeedback for a wide range of disorders. They applied meta-analysis review techniques in line with the best principles of evidence-based medical practices. These are the standards that are adopted by the National Institutes of Health and that are the gold standard for determining efficacy. Further, the beneficial effects of mindfulness training have been shown in hundreds of studies. Contemplative Biofeedback™ combines these two powerful modalities into a single, comprehensive training program.

  • Biofeedback: scientifically proven over 50 years
  • Mindfulness: experientially validated over 2,500 years
  • Contemplative Biofeedback™: designed and driven by evidence-based methods
  • Developed by a brain researcher and editor of over 1,000 science papers
  • Featured by Johns Hopkin’s chief of pain clinic
  • Featured by Oxford University Press’ medical textbook
  • Used by physicians and psychologists for their own self-care
  • Based on methods taught at Harvard and the Mayo Clinic

Understanding the Levels of Effectiveness

Science is conservative by nature. Good science makes only the most careful and qualified claims. Non-scientists are often disappointed by their overly careful wording and hesitance to present things in black-and-white certainties. While the following levels of evidence (including probably and possibly) reflect this conservativeness, these rankings actually represent some of the strongest scientific proofs in modern integrative and mind-body medicine today.

These levels of evidence are derived from Yucha and Gilbert’s 2004 review of efficacy ratings for most of the disorders biofeedback is used to treat. See References for more.

"Proven" effective

This is highest level of proof, called efficacious and specific:

  • Urinary Incontinence in Females
  • Stress and Anxiety
  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Headache- Adult
  • Hypertension
  • Temporomandibular Disorders
  • Urinary Incontinence in Males

Tell me more...

"Probably" Effective

This is the middle level of proof, called probably efficacious. 

  • Alcoholism/Substance Abuse
  • Arthritis
  • Chronic Pain
  • Epilepsy
  • Fecal Elimination Disorders
  • Headache- Pediatric Migraines
  • Insomnia
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Vulvar Vestibulitis

Tell me more...

"Possibly" Effective

This is the minimal level of proof, called possibly efficacious.

  • Asthma
  • Cancer and HIV, Effect on Immune Function
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  • Depressive Disorders
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Foot Ulcers
  • Hand Dystonia
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Mechanical Ventilation
  • Motion Sickness
  • Myocardial Infarction
  • Post Traumatic Stress disorder
  • Raynaud’s Disease
  • Repetitive Strain Injury
  • Stroke
  • Tinnitus
  • Urinary Incontinence in Children

Tell me more...

Scientific Interest in Mindfulness

Exponential Growth in Research Since 1990


Biofeedback Compares to "Gold Standard"

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT): the old "gold standard"

CBT is the gold standard therapy of Western psychology. Research comparing outcomes between CBT and biofeedback, for many conditions, has shown biofeedback to be equally effective.

Biofeedback for Physical Pain

Mindfulness training “yielded greater reductions than did CBT-P… in daily pain-related catastrophizing, morning disability, and fatigue and greater reductions in daily stress-related anxious affect…. Conclusions: [mindfulness] produces the broadest improvements in daily pain and stress reactivity relative to CBT.”

  • Davis, M. C., Zautra, A. J., Wolf, L. D., Tennen, H., & Yeung, E. W. (2014). Mindfulness and cognitive–behavioral interventions for chronic pain: Differential effects on daily pain reactivity and stress reactivity. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

Biofeedback for Mental Distress

Stress and anxiety have been treated with mindfulness training.  “There were no significant differences between the [mindfulness] and standard care…” in a study of patients with “mild to moderate depressive, anxiety, and adjustment disorders.” The more mindfulness practice, the better the results: “The [mindfulness] treatment response was dose dependent… The equivalence between the [mindfulness] and standard [CBT] persisted.” (

  • Sundquist, J., Lilja, Palmér, K., Memon, A. A., Wang, X., Johansson, L. M., & Sundquist, K. (2014). Mindfulness group therapy in primary care patients with depression, anxiety and stress and adjustment disorders: Randomised controlled trial. The British Journal of Psychiatry.