Research: BLANCHARD and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 38


BLANCHARD and colleagues, Center for Stress and Anxiety Disorders, University at Albany-SUNY, New York 12203 USA tested for the specific therapeutic effects of thermal biofeedback (TBF) for hand warming upon vascular headache (HA).



: 70 patients suffering from chronic vascular HA were assigned randomly to TBF for hand warming, TBF for hand cooling, TBF for stabilisation of hand temperature, or biofeedback to suppress alpha in the EEG. Patients with each condition had high initial levels of expectation of the therapeutic benefit and found the treatment rationales highly credible. Each participant received 12 treatment sessions twice weekly. A daily HA diary was kept for 4 weeks prior to treatment and 4 weeks following treatment.


Based upon the diary data, the HA index was significantly reduced, as was HA medication used. There were no differential reductions in HA Index or Medication Index among the 4 conditions. Global self-reports of improvement gathered at the conclusion of the post-treatment monitoring period did not differ among the 4 conditions.


The authors were unable to demonstrate a specific effect of TBF for hand warming upon vascular HA activity.


Blanchard EB et al. Direction of temperature control in the thermal biofeedback treatment of vascular headache. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback 22(4): 227-45 Dec 1997.

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