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Sweaty Hands & Gaming - An Actual Solution - Destructoid




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About
I am a doctoral student in Cultural Anthropology, with a bachelor's in English & Creative Writing. I specialize in subcultures and cognition.

I love gaming, and I have followed the industry and its technology since I was a kid in the 80's. I have gamed primarily on PC since 2000, though I still follow console news and hardware as well. I was also a sales associate at Micro Center for a while, which was a great experience and got me into PC hardware.

I worked as a mapper and beta tester for the mod Action Half-Life. My maps, most of which have vanilla Half-Life Deathmatch versions, are available on my website.

I also had a blog featured on Gamasutra:
Making Proper Versions of Cross-Platform Games
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Steam ID:cryotek
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One of the most frustrating things I've dealt with as a gamer is sweaty hands. I'm guessing it's a problem for a lot of people, considering companies have gone so far as to make controllers with fans in them to help keep your hands cool and dry. Having chronically sweaty hands (or feet etc), even when there is no reason (it's not hot, you aren't nervous) is a condition people like me suffer from called hyperhydrosis. Hyperhydrosis also tends to be way worse than the sweaty hands regular people get occasionally - I can write on a dusty chalkboard with my fingers indefinitely. I can't hold onto things because my palms are too wet. I feel like I need to be in front of a fan all the time. And I get sick a lot because I am always letting myself getting chilled. It's that bad.



It's a horrible condition to deal with, and affects your life far beyond gaming. It really hurt my social development when I was younger. It made dating awkward (afraid to even hold hands), and made me nervous and uncomfortable a lot of the time.

There are a variety of treatments avalable, including surgery (expensive and dangerous), Botox (expensive), medication (unhealthy and ineffective), and special antiperspirants (ineffective and stain your clothing). I've tried everything but surgery, without much satisfaction. Botox did work, but it was extremely expensive and only lasted 3-4 months. Also hurt like hell having someone poke your palms and fingers with needles, it was like sitting there letting a bee sting you over an over.


Power A's Air Flo controller.

Long story short, my mother came across these special devices called Drionic units (see below) and ordered one for me to use on my hands. I've been using them ever since, for about 12 years. It can be a bit inconvenient - you have to sit there for about 20 minutes a session with your hands in pooled water while an electronic current runs across them (just a battery) to desensitize them. It can sting a bit (the current goes up and down over time), but you can adjust the strength. And if you suffer it as badly as me, you hate your palms so much you'll be sitting there thinking "fry, f*ckers, fry!". Once it's working, which can take a week or so initially, you only need to do it once or twice a week as maintainence. I just put on Netflix or a movie to keep me occupied while I'm doing the treatment.


I usually do it at my PC or coffee table watching Netflix. The pictured units also work for feet. I use them flipped the other way, it's more comfortable for me to not have my whole fingers submerged.

My hands are my primary problem, though my feet and armpits can be bad as well. But just keeping my hands under control has improved my life dramatically, and seems to reduce the other sweating. Not having sweaty hands really helps with the nervousness as well.

It doesn't seem like a big deal if you don't have it, but hyperhydrosis is a freaking miserable condition. It changed my life to have an effective treatment for it. If I slack and don't use it for a couple weeks, and the sweating comes back, I wonder how I ever functioned before I had treatment for it. Anyway, not enough people seem to know about this treatment. I know it's not entirely gaming related, but if it helps even one person with their problem, it's worth it.

Drionic Website



PS: There are also DIY Drionic Units. I've never tried them, though, so I really don't know if they are as good. The official units cycle the intensity of the charge up and down, not sure a DIY unit would do that.
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