Treating Raynaud's

We were contacted by Andy Lininger, an acupuncture practitioner who has experienced some success treating Raynaud’s patients. Susie Hayes, a colleague of his, recently published an article, along with three other contributing authors, sharing their techniques for treating Raynaud’s subjects with acupuncture titled “How Do You Treat Raynaud’s Syndrome in Your Practice?” in Medical Acupuncture, and we wanted to share it with fellow Frosties.

Before going any further, one caveat: There is to date no accepted clinical evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture as a treatment for alleviating Raynaud’s symptoms. Trial results have been both positive and negative, and interpretation is further complicated by small samples and inconsistent methodologies. However, we do believe finding the right practitioner with a track record in treating Raynaud’s patients can be a positive factor.

What we’re most happy to see is that acupuncture therapists with positive experiences in treating Raynaud’s subjects are starting to share their knowledge with other practitioners. This is a big step in helping to spread information on how acupuncture might help some people living with Raynaud’s.

The article includes some background on the condition. I might argue with some of the broad statements the author makes overall about Raynaud’s, however she does a nice job of covering the issues and outlining treatment procedures.

She makes the statement that ” Chinese Medicine attributes (Raynaud’s) to Stagnation of Qi and Blood in the channels due to invasion of Cold and Dampness.” Interesting that she includes dampness as a trigger. Most literature focuses on exposure to cold temperatures and stress, but many Frosties have issues in damp weather, too, even when it’s not that cold outside. The reference adds some credence to the fact that traditional medicine may have much to learn from the Chinese! 

We can’t really comment on the specific treatment guidelines offered in the article, as it’s pretty technical and written for practitioners. The prescribed frequency requires a serious commitment of 16 to 20 consecutive days of treatments, followed by monthly sessions for maintenance. Herbal formulas are also recommended for those with a high pulse rate or issues like muscular tension.

While other studies and success stories are quoted, understand that the body of knowledge on this subject is quite limited and still inconclusive. I personally have had a positive experience with one practitioner, and a negative experience with another. I’ve heard from those who say herbal formulas from acupuncture therapists helped them, for others it had no effect, so there are many variables potentially affecting the outcome. But it’s great to see this subject the focus of published works and professional discussion.

Here’s a link to a PDF of the full article, along with a link to an earlier post on my experience with acupuncture. We’d love to hear from more Frosties on the subject!

How Do You Treat Raynaud’s Syndrome in Your Practice?

My Raynaud’s Journey with Acupuncture

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