Using biofeedback to learn to warm your hands can have a major impact on your health. It can reduce pain, increase immunity, improve digestion, lower blood pressure, promote better sleep and decrease anxiety. And best of all, this skill can be mastered with the help of a simple biofeedback device, the Stress Thermometer, that sells for only $21.95 and can be purchased online. (Please note: this author has no financial connection to this product.)
The power of hand warming lies in the fact that hand temperature is an indicator of stress level. Unless your hands have recently been exposed to the cold, cold hands are a sign that your body is in the stress response, otherwise known as fight or flight. When you are stressed your body goes through many changes in order to protect you from external dangers. One of these changes is that the body withdraws circulation from the periphery of the body and concentrates blood flow in the heart, lungs, brain and large muscle groups so that you can think fast and run fast. As a result, your hands and feet will cool. Your body will also increase heart rate, respiration rate and muscle tension for the same reason. In addition, immune function, digestion, and body maintenance and repair will be suppressed so that your body can mobilize the maximum amount of energy possible to protect you from harm.
These stress-related changes work well in the short run if the danger is physical. For instance, if you need to outrun a tiger or a mugger. If these physiological changes are sustained over a long period of time, say because the stress involves conflict with a boss or spouse, staying chronically in fight or flight can cause or exacerbate just about any illness. No matter how well you eat or how much you exercise, you can still suffer from poor health if you ignore the critical role that stress plays in health.
Often we don’t know when we’re stressed and we’re not sensitive to small changes that may indicate increases or decreases in our arousal levels. That’s where biofeedback comes in. There’s a saying in biofeedback that “the body doesn’t lie”. Biofeedback uses sensitive electronic instruments to measure physiology and then feeds that information back to the user so that the individual can be more aware of stress and can learn how to control the body through changes in thoughts, breathing, posture, etc. As control of stress is learned, the body heals.
Thirty-eight years ago I injured my back. I was in agonizing pain for 3 ½ years. The doctors did not know what to do with me except to prescribe all kinds of useless and dangerous drugs. Then I discovered biofeedback. By learning to warm my hands, I was able to eliminate most of my pain and get back to living a full life. Since that time, I have used what I learned to keep myself healthy on many levels. I’ve been helping others to maximize their health as a biofeedback practitioner for 22 years. There are many other kinds of biofeedback, which measure different aspects of physiology: muscle tension, heart rate, respiration, skin moisture, and electrical activity of the brain (neurofeedback). All can play a powerful role in improving health and well-being. Hand temperature biofeedback is the simplest and most accessible.