Treating a Raynaud’s Attack
Warm the Affected Area
This can be accomplished in a number of ways:
- If the attack is in your fingers, rub your hands briskly together to increase blood flow. You can also wiggle your fingers (or toes) to help get the blood circulating.
- Run warm water over your hands or place your feet in a warm tub. A warm shower or bath can also do the trick — just be sure the room is also warm so that you do not face an additional attack when leaving the shower or bath.
- Use hand and feet warmers. There are a number of brands to choose from and they work in a variety of ways. Some can be placed inside pockets, gloves, shoes, or hats; while others have adhesives that can be adhered to socks or other materials. You can find both disposable and reusable warmers that provide extra warmth for a varied amount of time.
- Utilize heated slippers, socks, insoles, gloves, mittens, earmuffs, or headbands. Again, there are a variety of products available that incorporate natural heat activation or battery powered heat delivery. Apply a heating pad or warm compress to the affected areas.
Use Essential Oils
I have found essential oil therapy to be useful with a multitude of my lupus symptoms, including Raynaud’s phenomenon. Consult advice from medical or holistic doctors as necessary.
- Specific essential oils for use in the treatment of Raynaud’s include: clove, fennel, geranium, helichrysum, lavender, nutmeg, rosemary and cypress (primary for effectiveness).
- Be sure to use therapeutic grade oils for best results.
- All oils mentioned can be used topically by diluting as necessary and applying to the affected area, carotid arteries, and on Vita Flex points on the feet.
- All oils mentioned can be used aromatically by diffusing into the air; you can inhale oil directly or applied to hands, tissue, or a cotton wick. (If applied to hands, be sure to dilute if necessary).
Participate in Stress-relieving Activities
If your Raynaud’s attacks are triggered by stress, manage stress with activities such as meditation or massage therapy.
Limiting/Preventing a Raynaud’s Attack
- Do not smoke. Smoking constricts blood vessels, which can lead to vasospasms and cause a Raynaud’s attack; therefore, avoid smoking and limit your exposure to second-hand smoke.
- Avoid medications linked to Raynaud’s. This includes certain over-the-counter cold medicines as well as medications that affect blood vessels.
- Keep your feet covered, even when indoors (especially when walking on tile, concrete, or other cold surfaces). However, be sure the socks/slippers are not too constricting and that they have skid guards if you are prone to slipping.
- Use mittens or gloves when opening the freezer or refrigerator. Also wear them when handling packaged frozen foods and products or cold containers (such as beverage cans and water bottles).
- Wear socks and gloves when going outside. Regardless of temperature, windy conditions can chill your hands and feet.
Next page: more ways to prevent a Raynaud’s attack.