Posture Anticipation: Work or (Mouse)
As CEO of Aerobic Mouse, with a history of wrist aches and tingling when I first started using our mouse product I found that, for the first hour or so and for almost two weeks, my hand would sweat profusely. Though this was not as bad as hurting it did seem as though we were about to launch "perspiration mouse" onto an unsuspecting world. I was obviously concerned and so my interest was understandably peaked as to the process behind the process and I started to look at things using my own expertise, in physiological/biochemical terms, acquired (when I had a real job) in the clinical pathology laboratory at the start of my career. Such investigations spawned the principle that we now hold dear which is that posture manages molecules, and is why we have many of the products designed as they are today.
In monitoring these occurrences it was noted that there was a perceived increase in hand temperature upon sitting down in front of the computer and placing the hand into the mouse. It doesn't happen instantly, but a few minutes after starting to work. In terms of background; activity by the muscles of the hand is not sufficient to generate enough heat (a byproduct of the body's metabolism) so as to keep them warm. Warmth in the hand is supplied as if by a central heating system, carried out from the body cavity to the hands via the circulation.
The conclusion was therefore that when adopting a posture that anticipated using a mouse, that is any mouse and not specifically the AirObic mouse, the body was responding in some way by increasing the circulation to the hands. As heart rate did not change it was not due to an elevation in blood flow. Upon conducting desktop research the conclusion was reached that a vasodilation process (increasing the diameter of blood vessels) was taking place.
Vasodilation is a control mechanism that increases the diameter of blood vessels (vasoconstriction, decreases) subject to certain stimuli; one of which is elevated carbon dioxide levels which occur when oxygen levels drop and indicates insufficient blood circulation. The benefit of vasodilation is that if you cannot increase blood flow by increasing heart rate then increasing the diameter of the blood vessels delivers more blood (so oxygen) in the same amount of time.
Static Posture, adopted when gripping objects, tenses muscles and requires them held tense. Muscles that are tensed use more oxygen and have a lower blood volume because they constrict their own blood vessels and make it more difficult for blood to flow through them. We know that a low oxygen level in the hands will not impact the oxygen sensor in the brain sufficiently to increase heart rate and so the most logical, "local", explanation is that of a vasodilatory process at work in an attempt to open the "bore" of blood vessels so as to increase blood flow that way. Once this process becomes common practice the autonomic system then seems to take over and invoke it whenever that posture is adopted independent of physiological conditions prevailing.
"Postural Anticipation" is a documented conditioned response in anticipation of a work habit which physiologically translates into "adapting to a working posture". It would appear that in my case Computer Mouse Work was recognized and anticipated to cause a reduction in blood flow so vasodilation in the mousing hand had become a part of my autonomic system. My non mousing hand was unaffected, for the record. However when I switched to a mouse that didn't constrict this autonomic effect was observed as sweats due to surplus heat being delivered to the hand.
So when a tool that eliminated Static Posture was used the autonomic response, being autonomic (Greek for Self-Law), continued to "kick in", even though it was not now needed. After an hour or so the sweating ceased as [opinion] the body detected that the extra blood flow was not required. After a few days the sweats disappeared altogether tending to suggest that the autonomic system had been recalibrated for this Gripless and less constricted working posture.
Was it just me? The answer is no, up to 40% of new users experience it to some degree and its prevalence is such that we included an explanation of its occurrence in the instruction manual. In all cases it disappears in a week or two.
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The AirO2bic Mouse design has been granted a U.S. Patent.
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