Editor’s Note: This article details the experience of one Raynaud’s patient. No claims are being made that this hand therapy device will help all people with Raynaud’s, as each patient’s needs and experiences may vary. Please review all treatment options with your doctor and use caution in exploring new products.
Like all Raynaud’s sufferers, Ann Marie Vadala was always on the lookout for products and apparel that would provide relief from her painful attacks.
A resident of Lexington, MA, Ann Marie was ready to try anything holistic. “One of my doctors prescribed blood pressure medication to improve the circulation in my hands, but I could not tolerate more than 10mg without bad side effects,” she said.
A recent ad in an arthritis magazine captured her attention. The ad touted Triumph LTD Hand Therapy, a small, portable device that—when used daily—promises to promote healing and decrease stiffness, swelling and inflammation in the hands of those with arthritis and “other hand ailments.” It noted that users would gain greater flexibility, grip strength and overall use of hands and fingers.
“My husband said, ‘Why not try this?” Ann Marie recalls. “It truly has been life changing for me.”
Triumph LTD (Light Therapy Device) Hand Therapy uses a combination of NASA red light therapy (photobiomodulation), heat, and vibration massage. The device is the brainchild of Jeff Zernov, a medical device designer whose companies, Zercom Corporation and Nature Vision, Inc., created such groundbreaking devices as the first oximeter and the first portable defibrillator, a vascular imaging system for the emergency EMT field, along with several marine electronics items.
The Minnesota-based entrepreneur cites several benefits of the non-invasive therapy, including the repair and restoration of damaged soft connective tissues. When the light is introduced to the joint it creates a biochemical reaction in our blood cells, he claims. “Vibration massage and heat work together to dilate the blood vessels, stimulate blood circulation, and reduce muscle spasms,” he says. “Heat reduces the sensation of pain, providing greater flexibility. Vibration massage also acts as a sensory distraction, interrupting chronic pain signals traveling to your brain, relieving your pain without pills.”
Jeff invented the Triumph device specifically for his wife Paulette, who loves gardening. “Her arthritis was progressing, causing her to have a lot of pain and stiffness. She was losing her flexibility, making it very difficult to pursue her passion,” he recalls. “Now, with treatment, her pain is more manageable, her flexibility has improved, and she’s been able to return to gardening.”
Intrigued by the results touted in Triumph’s ad, Ann Marie contacted Jeff, telling him about her Raynaud’s. “I wasn’t familiar with Raynaud’s at the time,’ says Jeff, ‘so I was very interested in learning how it might help her.”
As it turned out, Ann Marie became a zealous fan. “I was totally shocked by the results,” she reports. “I’ve been using the machine twice a day, for 15 minutes per hand at a time. I’m sure this unit is working on my severe Raynaud’s. My hands had often been red with white fingers, but now they’re a normal color and are pain free.”
When she visited a doctor she hadn’t seen in three years, the doctor noticed the change immediately. “She asked me, ‘What have you been doing with your hands? They look so much better.’ She saw that my hands weren’t stiff anymore and had a healthy color.”
Like many Raynaud’s sufferers, using a pulse oximeter device to get a blood oxygen level has been a problem. “I could never get a reading because my fingers were so cold,” adds Ann Marie, whose Raynaud’s is secondary to systemic scleroderma. “Since I’ve been using the machine, I get a reading most of the time.”
The 78-year-old Lexington, MA resident says her Raynaud’s was so severe that she needed help fastening her car’s seatbelt because her fingers were so stiff and painful. “That’s no longer a problem. I can even set my home thermostat at 66 or 67 degrees and feel perfectly comfortable.”
According to the company, the key differentiator of Triumph LTD Hand Therapy versus other devices is the precise control with which the proper light therapy is delivered at exactly the correct dose of light during each treatment session. High-intensity LEDs measured in joules ensure deep penetration of the light into the hand tissue.
Jeff noted that scientific studiessupporting red light therapy treatment for arthritis have been consistently positive. However, he adds, companies applying the science to actual products in the market have fallen woefully short. “A one-size-fits-all light box to treat all body parts doesn’t work. Proper dosing is the most critical variable to control. Dosing is controlled by the frequency of lights, the light energy output, the treatment time, and the distance of the lights to the treatment area. Red light therapy devices must be designed for a specific body part in order to produce the best results,” he concludes.
Although the Triumph device was designed with arthritis hand relief in mind, Jeff has learned from users like Ann Marie that the potential market includes those with Raynaud’s, Dupuytren’s disease and other hand ailments. Ann Marie is the first Raynaud’s sufferer who has been in touch with him to report her progress. “We have learned from Ann Marie and the Raynaud’s Association that there’s a huge market potential for our therapy,” Jeff concludes. “That’s why we’re reaching out to Raynaud’s sufferers.”
For more information, check out the company website. We hope to hear from others who are using this and other helpful therapies.
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