Cold Hands, Warm Heart?
Chinese Herbal Medicine to the Rescue!
icy fingers preventing you from reaching out to
those you love? Do you worry that, as the season
changes and weather becomes cooler,
your wool gloves will become a permanent fashion
accessory? Well you are not alone. Many people
suffer from cold hands (and feet), and fortunately
Chinese medicine has numerous solutions that can
bring comfort and warmth back into your life. You
will not have to endure another winter left out in
According to conventional medicine, cold hands and
feet can be the result of one or more underlying
conditions. One of these conditions is an overactive
autonomic nervous system. During times of stress,
the body conserves its resources by channeling blood
flow away from the extremities and toward the vital
organs (such as the heart). So you don’t feel like
you experience high levels of stress? Your body
might think differently. Even such activities as
being stuck in traffic, running late for work,
rushing through lunch, or heading out for a night on
the town can elicit a stress response. These days,
with our society “on the run,” we are overtaxing our
system more often than is necessary.
Another possible cause of cold hands and feet is
physical intolerance to cold, often combined with
poor circulation. As temperatures outside drop, some
people develop a significant aversion to cold.
Instead of feeling chilly and zipping up their
jacket, these people are often “freezing” and wear
multiple layers, often having a difficult time
staying warm. Symptoms can range from decreased
blood flow in extremities to actual flu-like
symptoms. A person may experience fatigue, a runny
nose, congestion, cough, and/or body aches. These
symptoms can seemingly last all winter, only
resolving once warmer weather and sunshine return.
third potential cause of cold hands and feet is
Raynaud’s Syndrome. While less common, Raynaud’s
phenomenon is a condition that affects blood vessels
in the extremities – generally, the fingers and
toes. It is characterized by episodic attacks in
which the blood vessels in the digits constrict,
usually in response to cold temperatures and/or
emotional stress. People with Raynaud’s Syndrome
tend to notice color changes in their extremities,
and the skin on the fingers and toes may become
shiny and tight, with a loss of tissue under the
skin. Raynaud’s tends to occur significantly more
often in women.
Chinese Medicine has the ability to effectively
treat any of the above-mentioned causes of cold
hands and feet by increasing the distribution of
blood flow throughout the whole body. For example,
last winter Mary began acupuncture treatment for
cold extremities, as well as a weak immune system.
After four treatments, Mary reported an increase in
the warmth of her fingers and toes, especially at
night. She was sniffling less and had more energy
during the day. After 10 treatments, Mary felt
strong and warm enough to use acupuncture only to
maintain her results, coming in for treatment once
every 2 weeks. In addition, we gave Mary a Chinese
herbal formula to promote circulation and keep her
immune system strong throughout the cold months. She
was able to discontinue treatment with us shortly
thereafter, and had a wonderful rest of her winter.
After years spent inside for months at a time, she
was finally able to enjoy skiing and-snowperson
building in comfort again.
you would like to find out what acupuncture and
Chinese herbal medicine can do to benefit your cold
hands and feet, please stop by FirstHealth — before
the “real winter” sets in!
Lisa Farwell, LicAc.
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