Raynaudís is a disorder of the circulatory system involving the bodyís reaction to cold, whether it is the snow on your car windshield or the ice cubes from your freezer. If you suffer from this condition, which causes color and temperature change in the fingertips and toes, winter can be a time of agony. Unfortunately, even household tasks can leave you in pain. Alternative techniques can help with this circulatory disease.
Manage stress, and smoking:
First, thing is to learn to manage stress, because emotional upset and stress have been associated with triggering episodes of Raynaud's syndrome. Regular exercise is known to decrease stress and lower anxiety, yoga may be something to consider. Smoking (and passive smoking) should be avoided as the chemicals in tobacco smoke can cause blood vessels to constrict and harden the arteries, which further impairs oxygen supply to the extremities. Avoid being around anyone that smokes.
Relaxation techniques, and visualization are also useful alternative methods:
In mid-winter, the powers of suggestion combines with relaxation can translate into real warmth. At least thatís what recent research from the university of Alaska at Anchorage shows. When a person is in a state of deep calm or meditation, the temperature of his or her toes and finger tends to rise, as much as seven degrees in five minutes. This is because the nervous system pumps less adrenaline during true relaxation, allowing blood vessels to dilate and warm blood to ďpoolĒ in the extremities, but this biofeedback trick of the mind takes time to learn.
Try meditating twice a day for 20 minutes. Then, take your hand temperature on that day by taping a thermometer to the outside of your middle finger. First, tense your muscles from head to toe: then, relax those muscles in the same order and take you hand temperature again. After a month or so thereís a good chance youíll see and feel biofeedback results.
Biofeedback training is a technique during which a patient is given continuous information on the temperature of his or her digits, and then taught to voluntarily control this temperature. Biofeedback, can help alleviate the symptoms by teaching you how to control the blood flow to your hands and feet. On average 5-10 biofeedback sessions with a trained practitioner are necessary to learn the powerful behavioral-medicine technique. Your doctor may be able to suggest a therapist who can help you learn biofeedback techniques. Books and tapes also are available on the subject.
Borrowing a tip from Ayurvedic healers of India, you can give your circulation (and possibly your immune system) a boost with self-massage, using sesame oil. This self-massage is said to promote energy flow by stimulating certain points on the body that are similar to acupuncture points. Using sesame oil adds an antioxidant boost.
1. Fill a squeeze bottle with sesame oil and plunge it into a sink of hot water to warm it.
2. Massage the oil into your skin, from the head down. Use the balls, not the heels of the hands as your applicators (that is the place where the fingers meet your palms) Make smooth, long strokes down the arms and legs, circular rubs over your head, joints, abdomen and chest. Use long strokes over as much of the back as you can reach.
3. Spend extra time on toes and feet! Vigorously rub the soles while rolling the toes between your slippery fingers. Let the oil sink into skin for at lease 10 minutes before showering off. Many practitioners apply some graham flour (found in health food store) to aid in the rinsing. If time allows, top off the treatment with a 15-minute soak in a bath.
Seasoned bath and teas to drink:
You can also chase away the winter chills with a well-seasoned bath. Stir a teaspoon or two of ginger powder into your bath water and soak. One warning: ginger will generate heat in the water, which could make the bath too hot to handle if mixed with very warm water.
For a winter warmer, try drinking ginger tea before going outside in those cold winter months, or take a 500-mg ginger capsule in the morning. Ginger is a good habit to get into. In addition to taking supplements, try using ginger as a seasoning in vegetables and soups-or stir a couple slices into your tea. Try chamomile tea with ginger in it, chamomile relaxes and ginger warm. Hawhorn berries, strengthens and mildly dilates blood vessels.
Some alternative practitioners believe that certain dietary supplements may be helpful:
Vitamin E- helps improves circulation (found in fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts), magnesium, (found in seeds, nuts, fish, beans, and dark green vegetables), and fish oils. Vitamin C supports connective tissues. B-complex reduces stress. Calcium and magnesium, relieves spasm. Omega 3 oils reduce swelling and help certain blood cell to function well. Zinc, will boost your immune system.
This information is for informational purpose only and is not intended to replace the care or advice of a physician.