What is Thermal Biofeedback?
Thermal biofeedback, also known as psycho-physiological feedback, is a type of treatment that uses a person’s body temperature to assess that person’s physical state. Over time, a person can be trained to control their body temperature by monitoring real time changes to their thermal state and, as a result, have a level of control over certain physical issues.
How It Works
Thermal biofeedback works by attaching a temperature sensor or thermistor to a patient, normally the finger or hands. A temperature read out is then shown on a digital screen to the patient, who can track his or her body temperature by the minute. How tense a person is can be measured by a drop in temperature in their hands. This is because, during times of stress, the body will divert blood from the surface area of the body to the muscles and organs, allowing us to better respond to a nearby threat. This is also referred to as the “fight or flight” response. When our surface temperature is high, it typically means we are in a relaxed or sleepy state.
Readings should always be taken in a neutral temperature room, in which one is neither hot nor cold. This will allow for the best feedback of body temperature. A person will be able to perform thermal biofeedback readings on his or herself after proper training has been given, usually by a psychologist or alternative medicine provider. Because there is no license or certification needed to perform biofeedback therapy, a person should be aware of who is training them and ask thorough questions.
Thermal biofeedback can also be performed at home. A person would only need the proper equipment and a bit of patience and imagination, in this case imagination to visualize conditions to help control body temperature. For example, someone could use mental visualization to imagine sitting in a cold room to help drop their temperature or vice versa. Children tend to be more successful with practicing thermal biofeedback at home because they are naturally more imaginative than adults.
Benefits of Thermal Biofeedback
When used consistently and under proper conditions, the practice of thermal biofeedback can be used to remedy the effects of stress and tension in the body. It is particularly beneficial for the reduction of migraines in headache sufferers. In fact, studies have shown that the use thermal biofeedback in the treatment of migraines can be more successful when used in combination with traditional migraine medications.
It is also beneficial in the treatment of Raynaud’s Syndrome or “white finger”, which causes discoloration in a person’s fingers or toes. This is caused by blood vessels constricting and slowing down blood flow to the fingers or other areas of the body. It can be extremely painful for a person who develops it and the effects of stress or cold are normally the causes of it. In this case, thermal therapy is an ideal treatment for such a condition, especially for someone who is unwilling to undertake traditional medical treatment or take prescription medications.
Besides helping to alleviate various medical issues, thermal biofeedback can also improve ones mental state and overall mood. By improving ones mood, a person will be able to perform at higher levels of concentration and subsequently, higher levels of success. This can be applied to job performance, athletics or even just day to day activities.
Overall, thermal biofeedback is an effective and fairly inexpensive therapy for one to use, as a person can use it simply and within the comfort of their own homes. With just a little guidance and thorough practice, anyone can be able to use the technique to improve their physical state and being.