How design for Wellbeing can affect the Vasomotor symptoms of Menopausal Women through the use of Biofeedback Technology

  • James Allen

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Research addressing therapeutic interventions for menopausal vasomotor symptoms has received comparatively less attention than other medical domains, resulting in limited successful outcomes and potential side effects. This study explored the impact of well-being-oriented design, employing biofeedback technology on menopausal vasomotor symptoms. Menopause constitutes a critical phase in a woman's life, often accompanied by vasomotor symptoms that adversely affect well-being. This investigation aimed to assess the viability of utilising biofeedback technology to modulate body temperature, employing a novel framework, thereby enhancing well-being among menopausal women.

Through co-creation workshops, an alternative design approach was developed and subsequently tested to ascertain its potential for improving well-being in menopausal women. The outcomes of these tests were comprehensively evaluated to discern the implications and significance of the results. This research culminated in an examination of whether biofeedback technology could effectively mitigate vasomotor symptoms and consequently enhance the well-being of menopausal women.

Key investigations revolved around refining the utilisation and triggers of biofeedback to alleviate vasomotor symptoms. A connection was established between increased heart rate and impending hot flushes. A novel wearable design, located on the dorsal side of the wrist, was developed to monitor heart rate and initiate cooling, thereby reducing both heart rate and body temperature. Furthermore, the adaptability of this design for nocturnal symptom alleviation was explored, revealing its efficacy in mitigating vasomotor symptoms during both day and night through localised cooling.

This study's contribution to knowledge encompasses the development of a novel methodology that integrates Software Development and Information Design processes to 3 devise an innovative wearable product. The ID-Agile method, born from a rigorous 4-stage design and evaluation process, yielded a refined conceptual framework that demonstrated the feasibility of localised cooling pre-emptively minimising vasomotor symptoms. The outcome manifested as reductions in both perceived and actual body temperatures, supported by empirical evidence in both physiological and cognitive data.

Ultimately, this research underscores the pivotal role of biofeedback in diminishing vasomotor symptoms and fostering enhanced well-being during the menopausal transition. The implications of this study extend towards ameliorating the quality of life for women throughout the menopausal and post-menopausal phases. The design approach outlined herein holds the potential to redefine wearable technology development and significantly impact women's health during this crucial life stage.
Date of Award23 Jan 2024
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorErtu Unver (Main Supervisor) & Caterina Benincasa-Sharman (Co-Supervisor)

Cite this