To understand what ‘pressure biofeedback’ is, we need to understand the term ‘biofeedback’. Biofeedback is a practised mind-body technique that involves using visual or auditory feedback to gain control over involuntary bodily functions. Pressure biofeedback is a tool (device) that was designed by physiotherapists to facilitate muscle re-education and activation by detecting movement of the lumbar spine or neck. The device uses pressure to measure deep abdominal (core) or deep neck flexor contraction, in relation to an air-filled balloon by moving the spine. This device has been used by physiotherapists for many years, offering fantastic results in measuring pressure and therefore muscle contraction. Though extremely effective, the use of a pressure biofeedback unit has been limited to the spine, until recently.

What is a Pressure Air Biofeedback (PAB) unit?

Lamberti Physiotherapy has invested in PAB (pressure air biofeedback) units at most of their branches. The device uses air to measure muscle performance through pressure. We use the device not only as a diagnostic aid, but also through biofeedback while exercising.

How does it work?

The device is connected to an air-filled exercise product (balloon) which communicates with a computer that records information, such as pressure (muscle strength) and other physical parameters (range) in a reliable way. The results are then displayed in graph form, to provide easy interpretation of the results from the test, as well as to provide benchmarks for future testing. All results are saved for comparison purposes to determine progress. So, in short, a PAB unit is a diagnostic and educational tool.

Why would Physiotherapists use a PAB Unit?

The PAB unit is calibrated to measure the smallest changes in air pressure output. This means that it is therefore highly sensitive for measuring any form of neuromuscular strength output. The device is reliable, produces valid results, and it is portable. This means that your therapist can adapt testing procedures to each patient’s needs (for example, on the sidelines of a soccer field, at the gym or in a bedroom to check an elderly person’s strength and range to get up after a hip replacement). They can adapt the duration of the test, which enables them to test not only the maximum strength of the patient, but also when the muscles are not performing optimally due to fatigue.

This article was prepared by Lauren Angus, Practice Manager at Lamberti Physiotherapy’s Paulshof branch. You can contact her to find out more about this type of diagnostic and educational support for physiotherapy, or simply complete a quick form online to make an appointment at your nearest Practice.


  1. Clinimetric Analysis of Pressure Biofeedback and Transversus Abdominis Function in Individuals with Stabilization Classification Low Back Pain; DUSTIN R. GROOMS, TERRY L. GRINDSTAFF, THEODORE CROY, JOSEPH M. HART, SUSAN A. SALIBA. 2013.
  2. Measurement properties of the pressure biofeedback unit in the evaluation of transversus abdominis muscle activity: a systematic review; Pedro Olavo de Paula Lima. 2016.
  3. Pressure biofeedback: A useful tool in the qualification of abdominal muscular dysfunction? Mindy C Cairns, Karen Harrison, Chris Wright 2011.
  4. http://www.pressureairbiofeedback.com