If you have problems with poor circulation in you hands and feet (cold hands, cold feet, or both) especially when the weather gets chilly, here is a simple plan that can help.
Who is this for?
It’s for anyone who experiences a marked decrease in circulation to their hands, feet, or both hands and feet, especially when the air gets chilly. The problem may be severe, with the fingers and toes turning white or blue (cyanotic). The problem can be less severe, with just cold hands and feet, but no cyanosis.
This technique has been quite successful for people with long-standing Raynaud’s syndrome.
What causes this?
Some people have an exaggerated response to cold air. Ever hear of something called the “seal diving reflex”? Seals have it, and human beings have it too- some people more than others. When a seal dives under water, all of the blood circulation to its skin and muscle shuts down. A seal’s muscle can work entirely from glycolysis, which does not require oxygen. All of the oxygenated blood is sent only to the brain and heart, which allows seals (and other marine mammals), to stay under water for a long time between breaths.
Competitive swimmers know about this reflex, which is why they dive several times into the water before a race, to extinguish this reflex.
For some people though, this reflex is exaggerated, triggered by just exposure to cool air, especially when the neck and upper chest are exposed. The cold air causes the circulation to their hands and feet to shut down, causing the discomfort.
What is the remedy?
The remedy is simple, easy and cheap, though it may need to be done multiple times to realize the full benefit. In our practice we see almost everyone who uses this method see improvement, and many are “cured.”
Here is what you do:
The procedure needs to be done in a location that is cool enough to bring on the symptoms. Do it on the porch on a cool evening, or in the bathroom with the windows open. Fill a sink, or basin with warm water, but not scalding. About 104F to 110F is usually good. The water should not be uncomfortably hot. Keep your neck and upper cheat exposed, and when your hands are cold, put them in the warm water. Hold them in the warm water for 15 to 20 minuets. Add more warm water as needed to keep the temperature between 104F and 110F. (You may need someone to help with this). If your problem is mainly with your feet, then you’ll want to put your feet in the basin. People with more extreme problems may need to treat both hands and feet.
Repeat this once a day till you are completely better, or feel you are getting no more benefit.
How does this work?
This technique was originally published in the journal AmJ Family Practice in the mid 1980’s. What is clear from empirical observations is that it works, and it is safe. The hypothesis is that the warm water is a powerful stimulant to open the circulation in the submerged hands (or feet), powerful enough to overcome the vascular constriction caused by the exposure to cold air.
The “seal diving reflex” stimulated by the cold air tries to shut down the circulation to the extremities, but the stimulus from the warm water to open the vessels and increase circulation is stronger. The body learns that it is possible to be in cold air, and still maintain normal circulation to the extremities. It may take one or two treatments to learn this, and it may take 20.
Please don’t over think this. Just try it – you’ll see the benefits. Let us know how it works for you – leave a comment at organicmd at ymail dot com
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