Biofeedback separates from traditional healing

Three biofeedback associations are working on professionalisation and training standardisation, despite invitations from two ethno medical associations.

At least one biofeedback association had turned down the apparent advantages of joining bodies representing regulated traditional healers and other ethno medical modalities, that are already professionalized, and have some formalised training in place.

A biofeedback practitioners body had asked for a separate register from the Allied Health Professions Council (AHPC) SA, and two vibrational medicine bodies are following a separate training standardisation process. A third interest group uses training linked to a private natural medicine college.

Biofeedback skills questioned

Many biofeedback device operators are not formally qualified to practice health assessment and stress therapy, despite using automated functions, says the Natural Healers Association (NHA) chairperson, and training specialist, Prof Marius Herholdt.

Prof Herholdt responded to queries from on the status of alternative health modalities and traditional healing, by inviting biofeedback operators to join traditional healers and some other regulated practitioners, in ethno medical practice.

Biofeedback is popular in occupational health and wellness baselines applications, but the modality is not yet regulated, and relevant training is not yet standardised (See report on biofeedback regulation on

“Many biofeedback operators – I would not use the term practitioners – are not qualified in the wider spectrum of health sciences”, Prof Herholdt said.

“The Natural Healers Association (NHA) of SA recommends to biofeedback organisations to incorporate their modality, as vibrational medicine, into the spectrum of ethno medicine.

“Ethno medicine is gaining recognition as an autonomous science. It recognises the roots of traditional heritage and integrates this with scientific research and cutting edge technologies.

“Ethno medicine healing encompasses thorough, accredited training, in a wide spectrum of subjects such as anatomy, physiology, pathology, treatment protocols, diagnostics, herbalism and life style coaching.

“Ethno medicine is not exactly the same as traditional medicine, although some areas overlap. Ethno medicine practitioners now have access to accredited courses in health sciences, as well as malpractice insurance and personal indemnity insurance.

“The Allied Health Professional Council (AHPC) SA recently decided to look into the possibility of a register for ethno medical practitioners. This would place ethno medicine on professional level.

“Biofeedback operators may benefit by becoming part of this development, and biofeedback may then become an area of specialisation within a wider context of health sciences.

“Training standardisation, scope of practice, and so on, will be determined once statutory recognition is instituted.

“Several biofeedback and ethno medicine associations are engaged in networking, and there is no competition at all. We have joint meetings and lobby for common goals, being recognition and benefit of our members”, Prof Herholdt said. However, optimism for unity is not unanimous in biofeedback circles.

Rival bodies

The Ethno Practitioners Association of SA, EPASA, had also invited biofeedback practitioners to join their ranks, following a memo from AHPSA that the concept of an ethno practice register was ‘accepted in principle’.

AHPCSA, however, has not resolved, and not yet tabled, the question of what structure or process the regulation and professionalisation of biofeedback should follow.

The statutory body is not even convinced that biofeedback should take its place on an equal regulatory footing with accepted modalities like chiro practice, homeopathy, acupuncture, and Chinese traditional medicine.

What biofeedback does

Biofeedback is a very popular natural health care modality, as diagnostic tool for compiling holistic health profiles.

It is based on a theory of vibrational medicine, in line with a world view that is beginning to be informed by quantum physics, subtle energies and so-called ‘Einsteinian’ models of physics, Prof Herholdt explained.

According to these perspectives, the following principles hold true:
• matter is a form of energy, as interchangeable forms of reality
• subtle energy flow sustains health
• blockages in energy flow may result in disease
• energy flow can be determined by biofeedback devices
• biofeedback is non invasive and not harmful.

Technical divide

Traditional healers collect roots, barks, leaves and some animal species in nature areas. At Tswaing meteorite crater nature reserve near Soshanguve, about 100 healers are listed to harvest remedies in a sustainable manner.

Their practice is regulated in South Africa, while scientific and high tech applications like Scio and Rife devices are not, despite numerous tests, research reports, and worldwide popularity of devices that have been in development since the 1950s.

• PHOTO; Prof Marius Herholdt is chairperson of the Natural Healers Association (NHA) of SA, and is also a training provider.

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