Aromatherapy A-Z: Raynaud's Disease (cold hands & feet)

Aromatherapy A-Z: RaynaudRaynaud's is a common condition that affects blood supply to the extremities of the body - it normally occurs in the fingers and toes but the ears and nose can be affected too. It is caused by the blood vessels going into temporary spasm, which stops the flow of blood and leaves the affected area white in colour and feeling numb. When the circulation returns the sufferer experiences anything from a mild throbbing sensation to excruciating pain. It is not fully understood what causes the blood vessels to narrow in this way but it is usually triggered by cold temperatures. Stress and anxiety can also be a trigger, as can excess caffeine, smoking and the use of beta blockers. Raynaud's is not generally a serious threat, but in very severe cases it could lead to tissue death and gangrene - this is extremely rare however and is usually connected to other health conditions.

Aromatherapy can be an effective treatment for Raynaud's, especially when used preventatively, and is even recommended by the Raynaud's Association. The choice of essential oils should always relate to your usual 'holistic health' consultation, as options will vary according to the specifics of each case. The aim is to tonify the circulatory system in general, to help reduce the likelihood of an attack. The choice of oils will usually encompass those that are analgesic, anti-spasmodic, circulatory stimulants, and anti-inflammatory. Remembering the stress related element of this condition, we also recommend using stress relieving, mood enhancing essential oils.

Essential oils to help with Raynaud's:

Black Pepper, Ginger, Plai, Marjoram, Rosemary, Patchouli, Nutmeg, Cypress, Orange, Ylang Ylang, Lemon and Geranium. The essential oils can be used for massage, baths, compresses, inhalation and vaporising.

Try the following blend for body massage: Use all over the body (except the face) paying particular attention to the fingers and toes.

5 ml Neem Oil
5ml Rosehip Oil
20ml Olive Oil
4 drops Orange essential oil
4 Rosemary essential oil
3 Ylang Ylang essential oil
3 Patchouli essential oil
1 Ginger essential oil

Tip: Remember to warm your base oils first!!

For a mild attack i.e. 1 or 2 fingers begin to turn white, symptoms can be alleviated by massaging the back of the hand and flicking your hand to help stimulate the blood flow.

Dietary advice includes focusing on improving your circulation via a mini detox, to help free your arteries and veins from any deposits. Ideally you should work with a nutritional therapists. Buckwheat is particularly recommended, along with rye, as both are high in Rutin which helps to improve the circulation. Vitamin C with bioflavonoids can help maintain capillary walls and promote circulation and Buckwheat leaf tea can be useful for those with circulatory issues too.

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

Disclaimer: The information provided on the Base Formula blog is for personal information and interest only. It is not intended to offer professional medical advice or treatment for any condition. We recommend that you consult your GP or nurse if you have any health concerns whatsoever. Our advice has been provided on the basis that there are no known contra-indications to treatment. If you have any health problems or are taking any medication you should seek advice from your healthcare provider prior to using aromatherapy. We would also advise that you make an appointment with a local aromatherapist who will be able to take a full case history and offer you tailored treatment advice. Please note that Base Formula accepts no liability for misuse of essential oils or other products or for any reliance on the information provided within.

Please visit our website for more details on using essential oils safely and effectively.

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