Editor’s note: Herbal remedies and wellness techniques are not clinically proven to successfully alleviate Raynaud’s symptoms. Please speak with your doctor before trying any herbal treatment strategies, as they can interact with medications.
We came across an article in the New York Times titled Why Fidgeting Is Good Medicine, and found it may have some useful information to help Raynaud’s sufferers who sit for hours at their desks each day.
The article explores the health consequences of sitting, and quotes studies that indicate that uninterrupted sitting can result in significantly reduced blood flow to the legs (get the connection for us Frosties?). Then it’s a chain reaction, where the reduced blood flow means less friction in the walls of the blood vessels, and that can cause them to release proteins that then work to narrow and harden the arteries. Once the blood starts flowing again, the arteries remain stiff, and – at the extreme – can contribute to increased risk for atherosclerosis.
The easy solution is to periodically stand and move around, but we can’t all do that in the middle of a long meeting or on a cross-country flight. So doctors at the University of Missouri explored the benefits of fidgeting. Volunteers were asked to sit for three hours and hold one leg steady, while they fidgeted with the other leg one out of every five minutes. The resulting blood flow was monitored in each leg.
As expected, the blood flow in the steady leg declined, but what was a surprise was that the health of the blood flow in that leg was lower than at the start of the test – the three-hour period of inactivity had a marked impact on participants’ arteries ability to respond to changes in blood pressure. However, the artery in the legs that were fidgeting remained as responsive or better among the testers – much more than expected.
In conclusion, Dr. Jaume Padilla, who led the study, is quoted as saying, “The muscular contractions associated with fidgeting are really quite small, but it appears that they are sufficient to combat some of the unhealthy consequences of sitting.” While the negative impact of a short session will likely soon disappear, he states that the impact of repeated stillness over time could become permanent.
So while sitting doesn’t cause Raynaud’s attacks, anything that can increase the circulation to the extremities of a Raynaud’s sufferer is worthy of attention. A little fidgeting at the office, during long trips, or while sitting in doctors’ waiting rooms could be good medicine!
Here’s the full article in the New York Times: Why Fidgeting Is Good Medicine
It’s that time of the year when we come across new products that may bring warmth and comfort to Raynaud’s sufferers and share them with fellow Frosties.
Heated Animal Ear Muffs – We first discovered these adorable ear muffs in a TJ Maxx store in Florida (yes, Florida!) and thought they were so cute, we searched for them on the web and found them on the manufacturer’s site Aroma Home. What’s unique about these ear covers is that they hold two re-usable gel heat packs that warm up when you flip the metal chips inside. We’re not huge fans of these gel packs for everyday use, as they are a bit challenging to maintain (need to be carefully microwaved or heated on the stove to get back into their “ready state” once cooled), but they do offer a fun way to stay warm! Massage the packs to help maximize the heat which lasts about 45 minutes. Designs include Owls, Polar Bears, Pink Cats and Red Foxes. The company is based in the UK, but we found them on Amazon priced at $25 and up.
Six Zone Heated Mattress Pad – Retailer Hammacher Schlemmer is often a good source for unique heated products, and this one fits the category. Heated mattress pads are a gift from heaven for many Raynaud’s sufferers, particularly their dual controls that allow us to sleep comfortably without forcing our partners to sweat through the night. However, this heated mattress pad does much more: It includes six independently adjustable zones – head, torso and leg regions for each side of the bed – so we can warm our toes without heating the whole side of the bed, which may be a great option for in-between seasons that aren’t that chilly, but still put frost on our footsies. Features include a wireless remote to adjust the temperature settings, a preheat function to ensure the bed is toasty before hopping in, and an automatic function to turn the heat off after ten hours (but who would want to?). Comes in King and Queen sizes for around $200. The company has a lifetime guarantee on their products, so it’s worth the price if it really works!
Heated Scarf – We recently tested a new product that is a fleecy long scarf with a rechargeable battery. It heats up at the back of the neck, includes a hand warmer pocket, and feels so dreamy that you won’t want to take it off! We checked the site for our Sponsor at The Warming Store to see if they carry heated scarves and found several brands to choose from, most in the range of about $99 to $125 for those similar to the one we tested. Some even had multiple heating zones with wider fabric to cover the top of your back or the option to heat the lower ends of the scarf. If you prefer one that takes disposable batteries or is microwaveable, prices are much lower, in the range of $10 to $40, but they won’t have the long-lasting benefit of those with rechargeable heating systems that can last up to 4 hours. Warming the back of the neck has a way of helping to warm the whole body, so a heated scarf can really warm our hearts this winter season!
If you try any of the above products, we’d love your feedback, and please share your new product finds with us. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org, post them in our Discussion Forum or on our Facebook Fan page.
We recently posted a request for Raynaud’s sufferers to Share Some Warmth This Valentine’s Day and to help us celebrate our 25th Anniversary by sharing some warm support for our cause.
We’d like to return the love, so for each Frostie who donates and/or helps generate donations from others, we’re placing a Valentine Heart on this page in their honor.
Please help us fill this page with love and support so that we can work to bring more warmth and comfort to the millions of Raynaud’s sufferers!
Jolene (Canada) told us about the YETI Colster, a stainless steel can and bottle cooler. She says “It’s the best item for keeping drinks cold and fingers warm. This awesome product has been my best pal this summer, and although a little pricey, well worth the money.” The manufacturer says its double wall insulation “means you say adios to damp or frostbitten hands.” Sounds like a blessing for us Frosties! Jolene purchased hers at Cabela’s, but you can buy them directly from YETI. Thanks for sharing Jolene!
Tara (Facebook) discovered a skin “shielding cream” called Skin MD. Shielding lotions are moisturizers for dry skin that keep irritants out and natural moisture in. Tara was at her local pharmacy looking for a new face cream and thought she’d try it. She used it on her face and hands and says, “My hands haven’t turned white since I started using it.” The manufacturer’s site says nothing about cold protection, but it’s possible the formula has some of the same ingredients as Warm Skin, which is specifically designed to protect the skin from extreme cold exposure. Tara wanted to share her experience in hopes the cream will help other Frosties.
Nancy (France) shared with us her secret for staying warm in a 15th C stone house in France where the central heating “doesn’t cut it” and the fireplaces don’t work. She wears many clothing layers (ski socks, long undies, and more), but her biggest improvement for increasing her full body temperature, even hands and feet, came from adding a knitted Scandinavian bobble hat with ear flaps. In her words. “All those old paintings where the people are wearing hats indoors, and when 18th C gentlemen remove their wigs in the privacy of their own homes, they put on a hat, and of course bed caps — they work. And when occasionally my head feels too warm, I just lift the ear flaps. A real improvement on my attempts to keep warm in medieval surroundings.” What a creative solution Nancy!
Emily (UK) wrote us about several products that she’s found invaluable managing her Raynaud’s under challenging conditions indoors and outside. Emily is “keen to help others faced with this tough situation and all too aware of the difficulties faced by others with severe Raynaud’s.” Reading through her list, you get a picture in your mind that resembles Nanook of the North when suited up! Her suggestions include: