In the last post on the decline in body temperature, we talked about the significance of having a warm basal body temperature. What is considered the ideal range and what is the official technique for assurance that your temperature reading is accurate?
Broda Barnes is still the Godfather of what is still considered the optimal range for the axillary (armpit) temperature, as he routinely used the basal temperature to diagnose hypothyroidism. The armpit temp. runs up to a half degree F below the oral temp, and up to a full degree F of the ear temperature. The rectal temp. is probably very accurate as well, but can lead to perverse thoughts :)
Barnes considered the ideal range to be between 97.8 and 98.2 degrees F first thing upon waking in the morning. He thought that this was truly the best time of day to gauge the level at which the body runs itself when there is no outer stimuli affecting the temperature. I agree. This is really the best measurement of whether your thyroid is in hibernation mode or is pumping out the juice and allowing the body to operate at its highest capacity.
But some have had trouble with the simple technique of getting the temperature readings just right. Although in no way difficult, here is a standard technique that we can use to monitor it accurately and consistently…
Barnes used a mercury thermometer and had patients keep it tucked deep into the armpit for 10 minutes. That’s probably a little overkill.
But you do need to make sure that your armpit is at its warmest when taking this temperature. To do that, make sure you don’t stick an ice cold thermometer in there.
What I do is:
1) Lay with my arms tightly tucked to my side for a few minutes in the morning to make sure my pits get nice and warm.
2) Warm the thermometer up in my hand for about 30 seconds.
3) Stick the thermometer in my armpit for an additional 30 seconds before I turn it on.
4) Turn the digital thermometer on.
5) Take several readings in both armpits.
6) Call the highest temperature my basal temperature for that morning.
I use a Vicks thermometer. I have used several other thermometers, but other brands seem to run colder. I have a hunch that the Vicks thermometer is the most accurate. They do actually sell an armpit thermometer, but I have not used it. For 2 bucks I’m sure I’ll get one someday, but for now the regular oral thermometer works just fine.
Using this standard procedure you should be able to at least track your temperature to see if it is coming up if low – a sign of improvement. Monitoring for a few days every month will give you a good idea at where your basal metabolism stands while at complete rest and not in the middle of digesting something. I wouldn’t recommend obsessively taking it every day. It will vary here and there and daily variations are more or less meaningless and misleading.
No matter what though, using diet and lifestyle measures to bring temps. up or desiccated thyroid, I wouldn’t sit around shrugging off a low body temperature as “no big deal” or “irrelevant.” The information I’ve come across suggests that it is VERY relevant, and needs to be taken care of. If you have no pressing health issues, I can see blowing it off, but with any kind of health problem, there is a very high probability that it will improve or clear up altogether as your body temperature enters into the ideal range.
Body temp. isn’t everything, but I have never read from any practitioner following Barnes’s methods that anything short of miraculous results can be expected as body temps enter the ideal zone from any number of minor and major health problems.
It is so significant that Mark Starr, a Broda Barnes method follower, is now reporting that in 13 years of practice only 1 patient has developed an autoimmune disease. Considering that autoimmune disease affects nearly 1 in 10 Americans and is rapidly rising (while average body temp. is rapidly falling), I find this to be very promising.
As a special note to women:
Basal temperature usually runs about 0.3-1.0 degrees F higher between ovulation and menstruation, and drops 0.3-1.0 degrees F during mentruation. Take that into consideration when reading your basal temp.
Stay tuned for a post in the near future on the misconceptions about “exercise raising the metabolism,” which is a pervasive flaw in nearly all diet, health, and fitness literature.