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Articles    H4'ed 11/18/09

Handwarming from the Inside out; Thermal / Temperature Biofeedback

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The subject replied, "How did you know my migraine headache went away?"

Word of her remarkable headache relief flashed through the Menninger foundation's corridors and the researchers quickly had plenty of Migraine HEadache suffering subjects as volunteers. Since that time, many studies have repeatedly shown that temperature or thermal biofeedback h elps about 85 percent of migraneurs. Joseph Sargent, M.D. and Elmer Green, one of the pioneers of biofeedback, published the first research on this.

Since the Menninger discovery, clinician researchers have found that learning to warm your hands from the inside is one of the easiest self regulation skills. With a precision thermometer you can learn in hours what it took Yogis years of practice in the Himalayas to learn. And thermal voluntary self regulation-- what you learn with thermal or temperature biofeedback-- is a practical skill.

Research has shown that stress causes a one or two degree fahrenheit over a five minute period, sometimes even faster. The old mood ring was based on temperature sensitive liquid crystals that changed temperature in response to changes in finger temperature. The same goes for most stress cards. The ring or card goes through four or five color changes which each represent anywhere from three to five degrees fahrenheit. I invented a precision biofeedback ring, the Bio-Q ring, which detects changes of half a degree fahrenheit across the full range of finger temperature which most people experience in room temperature.

Electronic thermometers can be far more sensitive-- from a tenth to one hundredth of a degree fahrenheit. Another factor in electronic thermal feedback devices is the quality of the temperature sensor-- the thermistor. Better ones are smaller, more sensitive and respond faster. A faster response enhances the biofeedack training experience. Another feature of some thermal biofeedback devices is audio feedback. You can listen to a done which develops a deeper pitch as temperature increases, or which click or beeps slower as hands warm, as an indication of relaxation.

With computerized thermal biofeedback, small, high quality, fast response thermistors are the norm. Then, you get to see graphs on the screen, which show the changes in temperature in real time.

You can learn learn handwarming with biofeedback rather quickly, compared to other biofeedback modalities like EEG, respiration, or heart rate.

The cost for a home trainer can be as little as a few dollars if you use a stress card or Bio-Q ring or band.

Stress Card with 1 degress resolution.

The cost goes up to about $30 for a lower cost digital electronic thermometer with a thermistor and sensitivity designed for biofeedback.

More sophisticated thermal biofeedback stand-alone boxes used to be available from a number of manufacturers. Now, they are only available used, usually for $150 to $500 (new, they sold for $300 to $1000.) Temperature biofeedback software, with hardware starts at a little over $200 and ranges up to thousands of dollars. Used computer systems are available for as low as $300.

computerized thermal biofeedback.

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One theme has run through my work for the past 40 plus years-- a desire to play a role in waking people up, raising their consciousness and empowering them. I was the organizer founder of the Winter Brain, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology and StoryCon Meetings and president of Futurehealth, Inc., with interests in (more...)

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