Winter is here and your hands, feet, nose, and maybe even your ears or tongue seem to get painfully cold even though the rest of your body seems fine. This is called Raynaud’s disease. Some people are hypersensitive to a drop in temperature causing a sudden spasm in the arterioles or smallest blood vessels. This reduces blood flow to certain parts of the body resulting in pain, pallor, and may be cyanosis (blue skin). The cause is often unknown but it can accompany other diseases. It affects men and women but women much more often. If you smoke cigarettes your even more susceptible.
From an Ayurvedic perspective, this condition is due to vata dosha imbalance usually affecting the rakta, mamsa, medas, and majja dhatus and their respective srotamsi.
Tips to manage Raynaud’s disease:
1. Knowing that you are susceptible, keep yourself warm.
2. Vata in the Rakta dhatu: Hot spices like ginger and cinnamon are circulatory stimulants. Increase these in the diet and as a tea especially before going outside in the cold.
3. Vata in the Mamsa dhatu: Proper nourishment is needed to support the muscle of the body is needed. This can include meat if muscular development is insufficient.
3. Vata in the Medas dhatu: Make sure that your weight is not too low. Too little body fat makes this condition worse. Take more vata reducing oils to remedy this situation. Add it to your food.
4. Vata in the Majja dhatu: Anxiety increases vasospasm. Reducing anxiety, in general, may play a huge role as this resets your nervous system. Nervous system sensitivity often triggers vasospasm. Nervine sedatives as an herbal supplement helps. This includes herbs such as valerian root, jatamansi, and others. Stress reduction practices like meditation and Yoga Nidra help most in the long term.
5. All of the dietary and lifestyle recommendations to pacify vata dosha apply here as well. Read any good book on Ayurveda for more tips. My book is called “Healing Your Life, Lessons on the Path of Ayurveda.