Overcoming Frustrations and Fears when using Biofeedback

By |2024-05-13T17:14:11-04:00May 19th, 2024|Latest Articles|

We know that using a new tool in clinical practice can have a steep learning curve. This deters many from even picking up a biofeedback device in the first place. We believe the benefits of surface EMG biofeedback combined with an easy set-up, makes mTrigger the perfect tool for rehabilitation professionals. To help providers overcome some of the barriers to using biofeedback, we asked:

“What frustrations, desires, and fears do physical therapists, occupational therapists, and athletic trainers experience with their use of surface EMG biofeedback?”

This table likely highlights some of the challenges and aspirations you may feel as a physical therapist, occupational therapist, or athletic trainers when it comes to using biofeedback. We took the time to go through each one to address your questions and concerns. 









Complex Set Up Process

Simple Set Up  (See HERE and HERE)

Inaccurate Readings


Limited Device Compatibility

Compatible with Various Devices (Apple or Android

Data Privacy Breaches


High Cost of Equipment

Cost-Effective Solutions

Dependence of Technology


Difficulty in Interpretation

Clear Interpretation

Patient Reluctance


Inconsistency in Results

Consistent Results



Lack of User-Friendly Interface

Intuitive Interface

Legal Liability


Time-Consuming Calibration

Quick Calibration

Device Malfunction


Inadequate Training

Comprehensive Training

Negative Patient Feedback


Limited Portability

Portable Solutions

Ethical Dilemmas


Insufficient Support

Robust Support System

Professional Reputation


1. Set Up 

Researched based biofeedback machines are often large, complex, and time consuming when it comes to set up for research or treatment. The mTrigger biofeedback device is a clinical device designed with the busy practitioner in mind. Set up is easy, simple, and takes less than 60 seconds. Simply turn on the device, plug in your leads, attach your electrodes, open the mTrigger app, and get started


2. Device Compatibility

The mTrigger app can be downloaded on any Apple or Android device, just search for the app in the respective app store. The app can be downloaded multiple time across multiple devices such as phones, iPads, or tablets. 


3. Equipment Cost

Along with being complex, biofeedback machines have historically come with a hefty price tag, making them impractical for everyday clinical use. To alleviate this barrier, mTrigger created a biofeedback system that is cost effective for clinics, athletic training rooms, and patients.  The cost of multiple mTrigger devices still does not touch the cost of what used to be available. 


4. Interpreting the Data

One of the most important features of a clinical unit for everyday rehab providers, is easy to understand data, both for you and your patients. mTrigger biofeedback set out to create just that, offering real time visual feedback from the “Train” screen. The color of the meters correlates to the level of muscle activation based on a previously established goal. Green for high muscle activation -> Good Job! Yellow for fair activation -> Squeeze Harder! And Red for low muscle activation -> Keep Working!  

Aside from viewing real time results on the “Train” screen, mTrigger also has a “Track” function that allows users to view their training data after a session. This gives a little more in depth detail including an average maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) for the target muscle during the exercise as well as a graph illustrating how the performance compared to the set MVC goal. More on results in the next section. 


5. Results 

In order to demonstrate reliability and validity of the mTrigger device, a study done in conjunction with the University of Delaware comparing the results of mTrigger biofeedback to the DELSYS biofeedback system with detecting plantar flexor muscle activity during the push off phase of gait in individuals with stroke. The mTrigger device was able to correctly measure the same number of EMG peaks of muscle activity during walking compared to the laboratory grade DELSY system, demonstrating the consistent results from the mTrigger device. 


6. User Friendly Interface 

The mTrigger app has a simple set up and an easy to use format. The self explanatory “Train” module is easy for patients to understand with little to no explanation. 


The “Track” setting is a simple way for providers to access and view data from the training session. 


The “Settings” module is where everything can be managed and adjusted for time settings, single or dual channel, exercise reps, and adding audio feedback.


Aside from these user friendly features, the main screen of the app has two additional options. The Neuromuscular Deficit Test (NMDT) is a way to determine the percentage of neuromuscular deficit that still exists between the involved and uninvolved limbs. This is an excellent tool to help track progress and contribute to return to play decision making. (IMAGE)


The final options from the home screen is the “Play” module. This takes you to the 4 different mTrigger biofeedback games, because lets be honest, games make rehab more fun! Once you open the game, set your MVC goal and desired repetitions and start playing. 

7. Time Consuming Calibration

Time consuming calibration can be very frustrating for clinicians. However, factors such as electrode placement, skin impedance (hair, lotion, oils, etc), skin temperature, anatomy, motion artifact, and cross talk (signals from muscle groups not being monitored that contaminate the signal being collected) all contribute to EMG signals being highly variable, making calibration necessary for achieving accurate results. That being said, calibration on the mTrigger device takes 40sec. Far less than it takes to place your electrodes, adjust your time settings, and describe the exercise to your patient. If you start by calibrating the device, by the time your are actually ready to perform the exercise, the device is ready to go. 


8. Comprehensive Training

The beauty of the mTrigger device is it can be used to supplement the rehabilitation of almost any injury. Knees and shoulders are the most common joints for biofeedback to be used on in an orthopedic setting. However, it is very often used to treat ankle or low back pain, functional activities following a stroke, or for return to sport testing.


9. Portability

Another previous barrier to every day use of biofeedback, was the size and portability of devices. Laboratory grade biofeedback machines were challenging to move quickly from one place to another. Luckily, the mTrigger device is just slightly larger than a box of cards and fits easily into a pocket or can be secured with a wearable strap


10. Support System 

We want you to be successful when using the mTrigger biofeedback device with your patients. We have an extensive number of blog posts and protocols available to help you get started. We are always available for support via email or phone call. We are happy to provide demos to your team to get you set up and address any questions regarding use of the mTrigger biofeedback device. Don’t hesitate to reach out and contact us. We’d love to help!


Addressing your Fears

In order to prevent inaccurate readings, mTrigger recommends practicing proper electrode habits and proper pad placement in order to avoid any confusion or inaccurate results. Additionally, the quick calibration incorporated in the device helps to ensure you get accurate results. 

Date is stored on the app in a de-identified manner. All exercise sessions are time stamped without any patient information or identifiers. This makes it possible to go back and review sessions but eliminates the risk of a privacy breach.

Biofeedback helps to increase patient engagement and improve their motor patterns. Being able to see what is happening during an exercise is hugely beneficial to most patients and most are more than willing to try it out and have nothing but positive things to say about it. We don’t run into much patient reluctance

mTrigger biofeedback is not designed to diagnosis patients. It is simply a tool to help provide information about muscle function and movement patterns that providers and patients can use to maximize outcomes. 

While technology is always at risk for malfunction, we have done our best to create a simple and easy to use device that has very little risk for error or malfunction.  

As biofeedback continues to be supported as a beneficial tool for helping patients recover from injury, more and more physical therapist, occupational therapists, and athletic trainers are turning towards this product to accentuate their professional reputations as rehab providers.



mTrigger biofeedback set out to design a product that alleviated the majority of frustrations and fears encountered by physical therapist, occupational therapist, and athletic trainers when using biofeedback. This sleek, simple to use, easy to understand, highly effective tool is what every clincian desires when it comes to a clinical biofeedback device. 



Athletic Trainers Guide to mTrigger Biofeedback



See how Russ Paine uses mTrigger Biofeedback



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