Alternative and Complementary Treatments for Raynaud’s Phenomenon


What is Raynaud’s phenomenon?

Raynaud's phenomenon is a condition in which blood flow to the small blood vessels in the fingers or toes is reduced in response to cold or stress. Although less common, blood vessels in other areas of the body, such as the nose, ears, or knees, can also be affected. During a Raynaud’s attack, affected areas typically feel cold, numb, and turn pale, white, or blue. As the blood vessels relax, the area may become red, swollen, or painful.

Alternative and complementary treatments

In addition to conventional medical treatments for Raynaud’s phenomenon and at-home treatments for Raynaud’s phenomenon, alternative and complementary treatment options may also help reduce the frequency and/or severity of Raynaud’s attacks, but more studies need to be completed to learn precisely how they work. Consulting a trusted health care provider before beginning any alternative or complementary treatment is always recommended.

  • Ginkgo biloba
    Some studies show that supplementing with Ginkgo biloba may be an effective method of reducing the number of Raynaud’s attacks.
  • Fish oil
    Fish oil supplements may help improve blood flow, which may help prevent Raynaud’s attacks.
Traditional Chinese medicine

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) focuses on the connection between the mind and body and the use of herbal supplements to treat a variety of health conditions. The fundamental principle of TCM is Qi, which is defined as the life energy that consistently ebbs and flows throughout the body. The foundation of TCM teaches that illness and disease are caused by an imbalanced or blocked Qi. Practices such as acupuncture, herbal remedies, or moxibustion are used to recreate balance in the body.

  • Acupuncture
    Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine needles into specific points of the body with an aim to “unblock” areas of Qi stagnation. Studies show that acupuncture increases blood flow, which may help prevent attacks of Raynaud’s phenomenon.
  • Herbal remedies
    Herbal remedies are another important facet of TCM. Two herbal remedies used for Raynaud’s are “Si Ni Tang” and “Si Ni San.”

Biofeedback is a practice that helps individuals learn to control certain bodily functions. In cases of Raynaud’s, biofeedback often includes practicing guided imagery, relaxation, or deep breathing to help raise the temperature and peripheral blood flow in the fingers or toes.

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