Research: Acupuncture Effectively Treats Raynaud’s

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Research: Acupuncture Effectively Treats Raynaud’s

Each winter, I see an increase in my acupuncture practice in people coming in for Raynaud’s syndrome.  Raynaud’s affects mostly women, and causes some areas of your body – typically your fingers and toes – to feel numb and cool (often) in response to cold temperatures or stress.

“During an attack of Raynaud’s, affected areas of your skin usually turn white at first. Then, the affected areas often turn blue, feel cold and numb, and your sensory perception is dulled. As circulation improves, the affected areas may turn red, throb, tingle or swell. The order of the changes of color isn’t the same for all people, and not everyone experiences all three colors.”


The Western explanation is that this discoloration of the skin occurs because an abnormal spasm of the blood vessels causes a diminished blood supply to the local tissues.  While the cause of this is unknown, both abnormal nerve control of the blood-vessel diameter and nerve sensitivity to cold exposure are thought to be contributing factors.

Success of Acupuncture vs. Western medicine for Raynaud’s

My patients tell me that Western medicine doesn’t have good treatment options for them.  The good news is, Chinese Medicine does.  Indeed, all but one of my patients with Raynaud’s has noticed dramatic and speedy improvement in their symptoms after acupuncture treatment.

In my clinical experience, in most cases it is actually the Liver that is involved, and while we are not in the season related to the Liver, I am still writing this article in the winter because it is during the coldest weather when most symptoms show up.  And because the Kidneys (which are related to winter) nourish the Liver, often we need to treat both at the same time for effective results.  Also, the Kidneys store the Yang energy in our body, which is the heat.  If we lack Kidney Yang, we are more likely to express symptoms like Raynaud’s.

Studies showing acupuncture successfully treats Raynauds, one of the leading publishers of evidence-based research on the web, and part of the National Institutes of Health, published a study in which 63% of study participants had positive results with acupuncture treatment for Raynaud’s.  While this study is promising, like most studies conducted using western research principles (each person must receive exact same treatment), those of us who practice acupuncture know from personal experience that when people are given individualized treatments, the results are much higher.

In another study they published in which electro-stimulation was added during acupuncture; after treatment the recovery time for the temperature in fingers to return to normal after being exposed to cold was cut in half, and the temperature of fingers during active symptoms increased approx. 14 degrees!  Quite impressive…even I was impressed and surprised by these numbers!

Often, acupuncture alone can work to alleviate symptoms in the short term, and continued treatment combining acupuncture and herbs can boost the yang and clear stagnant Liver Qi which is impeding circulation.

Raynaud’s is a perfect example of a chronic condition which is treated wonderfully through Chinese Medicine, with the only side effect being increased quality of life, more energy, and better overall health!

If you’re struggling with this condition and you think acupuncture can help, Schedule Appointment


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