Biofeedback & Stress Monitoring Ring
Sold in over 50 Countries
A HISTORY OF A CLINICIAN's INVENTION
EXPERIENCE, with tips on profitably including BIO-Q in your practice or workshops
by Rob Kall, M.ED. inventor of the BIO-Q ring
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Go to Stress/Relaxation Central Bio-Q pricing info & other stress management/relaxation tools
I invented the original BIO-Q ring to help my stress and pain
patients at the N.E.CMH/MRC in Phila.. Back in 1976-77, I was
using ASI EMG and Temp trainers and wanted something to help my patients transfer and
generalize their training from the office
to real life situations.
I'd been buying liquid crystal temperature biofeedback strips,for patients to tape to
their fingers. This was awkward
and impractical. I wanted more than just a thermometer patients could use during home
An Early Warning Stress Alert; I wanted patients to learn to catch drops in finger
temperature as cues that they were
responding to stress-- cues to implement the self-regulatory interventions I was teaching
I cut out tiny pieces of temperature sensitive
liquid crystal and made a wearable disc with a convenient two sided adhesive
electrode collar. Using OPEN FOCUS concepts, I placed the liquid crystals in concentric
rings, so hand warming opened the circle wider. The wearable patch
worked nicely but wasn't durable enough. The BIO-Q ring evolved to it's current
waterproof, streamlined shape over a period of six years. Now the BIO-Q RING is an
attractive, comfortable, wearable biofeedback instrument. The BIO-Q thermometer took years
to perfect. It is the world's smallest self contained precision thermometer, with 0.5
degree Fahrenheit resolution and surprising accuracy.
In 1977 I wrote to about a dozen liquid crystal manufacturers, describing what I needed--
a thermometer with 10 to 15
temperature ranges that could fit in an area less than 1/3 of a square inch. They all said
such a small thermometer would be
impossible with existing technology.
So I went to the U.S. patent office in Crystal City, Virginia,to research liquid crystal
patents--discovering temperature sensitive bras, tee-shirts, wine collars, and forehead
thermometers. I went to the most promising patent holders and their manufacturers and
asked if they could make me a tiny thermometer. Again, all said it was impossible.
Nonetheless,I thought the technology of one company could be miniaturized. Would they try
it if I paid them, even if they had serious doubts of its do-ability? They took my money
and the process worked.
In 1978 and 1979 I took early plastic, then wire and plastic samples of the BIO-Q ring to
the BSA annual meetings in Albuquerque and San Diego. Encouragement from Tom Budzynski, Ed
Taub, Erik Peper, Rick Rubow, Keith Sedlacek and others kept me
working at developing a version that could be cost effectively mass produced.
They also gave me feedback on the optimal temperature response range for the ring. Carmine
Iacono, my professor, co- researcher and friend at Temple University gave me regular
feedback and advice and conversation on the early stage of the ring's development.
Having grown up in Providence RI, capital of costume jewelry manufacturing, Carmine
connected me with a manufacturer for the first 5,000 BIO-Q rings. We'd improved the
thermometer so it was more readable. I had designed a numberless, clock-faced, calibrated,
precision thermometer that read warmer as the liquid crystals lit up further clockwise.
BIO-Q credentials and credits: The BIO-Q ring has been used at every one of the
nation's top ten medical clinics, re-ordered by Yale, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, UCLA,
SCRIPPS, the Menninger Fdtn and thousands of other respected facilities in the U.S. and
every continent on the planet. Printed ring instructions come in English, French, Spanish
and Korean. Articles about the BIO-Q ring have appeared in Russian, Polish, French,
German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Gujarati, and Spanish. Articles or
interviews about the BIO-Q ring have appeared in/on Good Morning America, ABC
Morning News, Cable Network News, King Features, AM Philadelphia, numerous local news
programs (many FUTUREHEALTH clinician customers have used the ring to get local news
coverage on TV or newspapers across the U.S., DISCOVER, OMNI, PREVENTION, WOMAN'S WORLD,
THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER, THE GLOBE, NEW YORK TIMES (front page), WASHINGTON POST, PHILA.
INQUIRER, SAN DIEGO UNION, SAN FRANCISCO HERALD EXAMINER and syndicated articles which
appeared in Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Boston and hundreds of other cities.They all
described the BIO-Q ring as a serious device prescribed by doctors.
RESEARCHERS use the BIO-Q ring in clinical studies in the treatment of Raynauds,
Hypertension and headache and with
athletic performance enhancement. Articles have been published in numerous professional
arenas and paper presentations at the Biofeedback Society of America, the Headache
Research Soc.and Soc. of Behavioral Medicine have frequently included mention of the BIO-Q
PRESCRIBING THE BIO-Q RING or BIO-Q KIT
Over the last 12 years the BIO-Q ring has become readily accepted by most insurance
companies who reimburse for
biofeedback training. At first, we recommended the ring be euphemistically described
as an ambulatory peripheral vasospasm
monitor to avoid biofeedback denying insurers. More recently, it has been well received as
simply a home reinforcement thermal biofeedback training kit, which we bill at $60.00
including the BIO-Q instruction cassette and vinyl/velcro finger band. Some clinicians add
their own tapes to the package and increase the charge to $80, $95 or $125, whatever they
feel is appropriate.
Occasionally, it is appropriate to bill for both an ambulatory thermal biofeedback home
training kit, and an EMG home trainer.
WORKSHOPS & BIO-Qs
Many stress management consultants have repeatedly used the BIO-Q ring, kit or band in
their workshops with the federal
government, Corporations, Hospitals, the military. The rings help make the presentations
greater successes. Usually the
presenters arrange to have the workshop sponsor pay extra so each participant gets a ring.
This payment can be made directly
to FUTUREHEALTH or you can include the ring or band or kit as part of the workshop/
lecture/ seminar. One client did a
workshop with 300 executives' wives and included a BIO-Q ring and his own cassette in the
price of the workshop making 100%
profit on the ring and tape (currently 8.00 for the ring in quantities over 200)and $1.50
for his tape were his cost. He charged
under $20 each.
Besides being clinically unique and effective tools, BIO-Q rings are fun to use, great
conversation pieces and valuable
marketing tools. Many clinics offer the pieces of the BIO-Q kit to the patient as a carrot
to increase patient motivation to
make appointments and stay with the therapy. The ring creates conversations like:
"where did you get that ring?" "What is
biofeedback?", "What's your doctor's phone number? I have a sister who could use
biofeedback." The BIO-Q ring generates word of mouth referrals-- the best kind.
BIO-Q bands and cards are lower cost group or home trainer spin-offs of the BIO-Q ring,
which can double as a customized marketing tool.
The BIO-Q ring has certainly taken me on a series of roller coaster rides. In 1982 I was
riding in a private Lear Jet having
meetings with the CEO of a three Billion dollar U.S.conglomerate subsidiary of a $50
Billion dollar a year British corporation. The multimillion dollar deal was more than
close but no cigar.... I bit off the end, chewed it, lit it, took a puff and had it
explode in my face; as cheap, non-functioning Taiwanese knock-offs (unapproved copies) of
the BIO-Q appeared fast enough to scare buyers from dozens of other department and chain
stores into cancelling orders they'd placed for BIO-Q rings for X-mas 1982. Most stores
never saw the rings, The ones that did couldn't sell them. The BIO-Q needs more
explanation than a department store clerk has the time for. (But biofeedback patients are
already educated. They appreciate its value) By spring 1983, the BIO-Q ring retail store
market was defunct. The bulk of the sales have always been through clinicians and
hospitals and workshop leaders.
FUTUREHEALTH now carries the world's biggest selection of biofeedback
instrumentation/materials. We supply a respectable and growing share of the whole
biofeedback market. We publish BIOPRO, PAINSCAN, EMI/CAM Scan, Biofeedback Toolkit
biofeedback software, co-developed Physiotech, publish audio and video training materials
for office and patient home use. We manufacture home training materials like the ring,
band, BIO-Q stress-check cards, BIO-SQUARES, Tom Budzynski's Multiliminal Tapes, and
MU-PSYCH MUSICtm cassettes. Our professional training seminars are attended by people from
all over the U.S.. We provide private consulting
Now, when I attend the APA annual meeting, I enjoy seeing the new exhibitors. They bring
back memories of my first APA exhibit in 1981 in LA. Thanks for your interest in my BIO-Q
story, and the start or continuation of a long business and professional
Rob Kall, M.Ed.
P.S. Call me if you have new product ideas.
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