Legit biofeedback can be at your fingertips for $20. A well calibrated digital thermometer can reflect the state of your body and your mind via thermal biofeedback. This has frequently been used and studied using equipment that does the same thing but costing hundreds of dollars.
When we are stressed blood is drawn away from our fingers and toes and moved into our major muscles and organs. Also, our blood vessels are restricted so the body can jack up our blood pressure.
Cold hands=stressed. Our hands don’t have to be ice cold, although they could be, but below the temp they would be if we were really relaxed. A really relaxed temp is in the mid-90s. Moving away from that, we move into lesser and lesser states of relaxation and into greater states of stress response (our vessels grow smaller and smaller because our body says it wants to push up our blood pressure). Hand temperature is very responsive to the ups and downs of our personal levels of stress. Of course we don’t need a thermometer to tell us when we are experiencing high levels of stress, we know it when we feel it. Fine. What is surprising however, how often we have “holding stress” that is, we are partly stressed but we have no idea that our bodies are in that condition. If we can bring down useless “holding stress”, an habitual keeping our bodies in a state of readiness, usually waiting for something that never comes or rarely appears, we can do wonders for our bodies and minds. Holding the lead to this digital thermometer for 60 seconds will tell us if we are holding stress.
We don’t have to be hooked to this $20 device all day long. With regular practice we can get a sense of the temp of our hands and if it is proportional to the situation we are in (Are we too stressed for the occasion?). We can learn from thermal biofeedback what it takes to bring our bodies into a calmer state. We might relax, as we know how to relax and bring our hand temp to the low 90s. To get really relaxed we can press on and seek to hit 95 degrees. Now the real challenge begins, can we hit yet higher temperatures of 96 or 97? To get there we have to learn how to talk to ourselves and how to visualize (more about these topics in later blog posts).
Whatever temp we work at, we can bring that experience into our daily lives (on the fly) by remembering what our body felt like when we hit 95, 96, 97 degrees. Bringing that body memory more and more fully into mind and body will increase our temperature, driving down our stress level at the moment.
So heat your way to deep relaxation.
See our bookstore to order the digital thermometer from Amazon and you may wish to get the book, Finding the Calm Within which is all about thermal biofeedback. To find both of these items, select “Stress Management” when arriving at the bookstore.