One common way of assessing your relaxation response during biofeedback training is to practice relaxation and meditation techniques while measuring the temperature of your hands using a small digital thermometer with a wire taped to your finger. As you are able to increase the temperature reading you learn what your body feels like when become more relaxed.
According to the American Headache Society:
Thermal or hand-warming biofeedback was first used at the famous Menninger Clinic in Kansas. Researchers there discovered that headache patients who learned to raise the temperature of their hands using biofeedback had fewer and less severe headaches when they practiced this skill regularly.
Hand-warming works in the following way: When a person is anxious or under stress, the blood vessels in the fingers narrow and the hands become cooler. That's why we tend to get "cold and clammy hands" when we're frightened or nervous. On the other hand, when you are relaxed, the blood vessels in your hands expand and your hands get warmer. You can get an idea of how stressed you are by taking your hand or finger temperature with a thermometer or biofeedback instrument. You can learn to reduce your level of arousal through the process of temperature biofeedback training. Then, whenever your hands are cool or you are experiencing stress, you use your hand-warming skills to produce a more relaxed state.
I was lucky enough to receive the training from a doctor who learned the technique at the Menninger Clinic, but there are people all over the country who can help you learn and practice the technique.
It takes a great deal of practice to become so in tune with your body that you can utilize the technique, so you will want to have a digital thermometer like this one so you can practice on your own.
If you're interested in my recommendations for relaxation and meditation CDs and books, visit this link:
Somebody Heal Me Amazon.com Store: Meditation
Biofeedback & Relaxation Training for Headaches
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Content by Diana E. Lee.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site constitutes medical or legal advice. I am a patient who is engaged and educated and enjoys sharing my experiences and news about migraines, pain and depression. Please consult your own health care providers for advice on your unique situation.