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Hot Stuff - How heated mitts helped Matt recover movement in his hand

Heating textiles specialist EXO2 is finding new applications for its technology outside of the company’s traditional heating motor cycle gloves market. Recently the company has been exploring healthcare applications and has used a heating mitt to assist a young Glasgow man who is recovering from a spinal injury. Challenge Matt Atherton (22) was planning an evening out with friends one night in January. His plans were shattered, however, when he fell from a height,

24th April 2009

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Glasgow

Medical/Hygiene, Sports/​Outdoor

 

Heating textiles specialist EXO2 is finding new applications for its technology outside of the company’s traditional heating motor cycle gloves market. Recently the company has been exploring healthcare applications and has used a heating mitt to assist a young Glasgow man who is recovering from a spinal injury.

Challenge

Matt Atherton (22) was planning an evening out with friends one night in January. His plans were shattered, however, when he fell from a height, breaking his neck at C6 level with damage to the spinal cord. He was airlifted to the Queen Elizabeth Spinal Injuries Unit in the Southern General Hospital, Glasgow, and started on treatment right away. His right side began to show signs of movement quite early, but the left was much slower. This pattern continued after surgery, with the right side growing stronger, and the left responding only slowly to therapy. Matt explained, “The physio thinks that the left arm was stretched in the fall, which has damaged these nerves.”

Wellness

It was at this point that James Laing of Exo2 heard of Matt and sent a pair of Exo2 Heated Mitts.

Exo2 technology is based around a unique polymer-based element that heats up when low voltage is passed through it. By regulating the voltage, the material can be heated to a pre-defined level to create a uniform area of heat with no hot spots. The material is powered by either rechargeable batteries, a mains power adaptor or from the accessory socket of a car or motorcycle. It has a wide range of potential uses including sports clothing, warm clothing for elderly or disabled and can even be incorporated into furniture or buildings as a cost-effective source of heating. In Matt’s case, the material had been built into mitts that can be used for outdoor sports such as skiing or motorcycling. They have also been worn by people with Raynaud’s Condition to help keep their fingers warm.

The mitts have an additional health benefit as they emit infrared (IFR) heat. Unlike ordinary heat, which is mostly absorbed at skin level and raises the skin temperature, IFR rays easily penetrate the skin up to a depth of 4cm. This has a range of effects on the body:-

·         It expands blood vessels and capillaries, improving blood flow and promoting faster tissue regeneration;

·         The oscillation that occurs naturally reduces the ion bonds of the atoms that are holding together the molecules of water, resulting in a release of toxins (one of the main benefits of the IFR saunas);

·         Some studies have even shown that there is improved angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels) following repeated application of IFR.

Result

After the first session with the mitts, Matt noted a very positive response. “I had the mitts on for a good hour”, he said. “And when I took them off I found I could open my hand, which I couldn’t do before”. He has been wearing the mitts for three weeks now, and is not seeing any dramatic improvement, but he recognises that this is likely to be because recovery is in a very slow phase. Exo2 has now developed a blanket for Matt and he is keen to use the mitts and blanket for longer periods each day. He's not finished with healing yet!

For further information, please email [email protected]             

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