Cold Hands, Warm Heart?
Chinese Herbal Medicine to the Rescue!

Are 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 the cold!

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.

A 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.

If 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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Cold Hands and Feet
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Natural Menopause
Ounce of Prevention
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