Skin blood flow is difficult to measure quantitatively. No satisfactory method for recording flow in terms of, say, ml/min per 100 ml of skin exists. Fortunately, limb blood flow, particularly in the forearm, can be recorded through venous occlusion plethysmography.

Our technique of venous occlusion plethysmography depends upon occluding the venous outflow of the forearm briefly and recording the increase in circumference that follows as the incoming blood causes the forearm to swell slightly. Of course this measures the flow in all the vasculatures of the forearm, but it is only the cutaneous vasculature that is influenced by these thermal reflexes. Consequently, the changes in forearm blood flow (FBF) that occur in response to thermal stimuli, can be interpreted as due to changes in skin blood flow.

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