A term covering a range of EEG (electroencephalographic)
feedback instruments and techniques, as well as apparatus giving
information on other biological functions. Biofeedback instruments
can convey to the subject the characteristics of his
own brainwaves, skin resistance, or heartbeats so that he can
learn to modify these functions consciously. In this way, the
subject can enhance his capacity for relaxation or reproduce
some of the psycho-physiological control shown by yogis and
Zen masters.
Modification of brainwaves by biofeedback machines was
first introduced in the United States by Joe Kamiya in the late
1960s; Elmer Green of the Menninger Clinic promoted the
practice through the 1970s. It appeared that biofeedback could
become a major technique within transpersonal psychology,
and that subjects could be trained to control or to generate
brain wave activity at will, thus achieving altered states of consciousness
leading to the production of various psychic, spiritual,
and mystical experiences.
Bigois Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
The chief brain waves identified within biofeedback studies
are alpha (related to relaxation and dream states), frequency
8 to 13 cycles per second (cps); beta (mental and visual activity),
14 to 50 cps; theta (dream and sleep states), 4 to 7 cps; and
delta (deep sleep states), 0.5 to 3.5 cps.
The simple relationship first thought to exist between brain
waves and psychic and spiritual development proved to be
much more complicated and ambiguous than originally believed.
At present biofeedback has been used mainly in teaching
people to alter various body functions to improve their
health; it has been particularly effective in cases of migraine
Green, Elmer. ‘‘Biofeedback for Mind-Body SelfRegulation
Healing and Creativity.’’ In The Varieties of Healing
Experience Exploring Psychic Phenomena and Healing. Los Altos,
Calif. Academy of Parapsychology and Medicine, 1971.
Kamiya, Joe. ‘‘Conscious Control of Brain Waves.’’ Psychology
Today 1, no. 11 (April 1968).
Stearn, Jess. The Power of Alpha-Thinking Miracle of the Mind.
New York William Morrow, 1976. Reprint, New York New
American Library, 1977.
Timmons, Beverly, and Joe Kamiya. ‘‘The Psychology and
Physiology of Meditation and Related Phenomena.’’ Journal of
Transpersonal Psychology 1 (1970).