Warming the Heart Warms the Hands!

Arnie Shapiro, M.D.
January – February 2023 • Vol 4, No 2

Cold hands are tense. Warm hands are relaxed. We can tell a lot about a person’s emotional state by shaking their hand. We can gauge our own stress level by touching our hand to our face (in indoor room temperature, 69–73° F). Cold hands indicate a predominant Stress Response. Warm hands indicate a predominant Relaxation Response. It is all due to blood flow to the extremities. The hands and feet are at the “end of the line” of our arteries. The built-in Stress Response redirects blood to our brain and musculoskeletal system, in preparation for fight or flight in an emergency or threat.

In prior issues of this magazine, I have presented various Brief Relaxation Techniques that are designed to induce the Relaxation Response and counter the Stress Response. With practice, all Brief Relaxation Techniques will warm the hands. In this issue, I will focus on hand-warming techniques, and describe how hand temperature can be measured easily and accurately.

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