Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Raynaud's: What works for me.

April 26, 2011

Exercise. It’s good for all blood vessels. Yoga and breathing exercises help me cope with pain. Stress is a HUGE trigger for Raynaud's for me. Yoga has helped me cope. I started with Kundalini Yoga in 2005. I just started studying Anusara yoga one on one with a yogi at Yoga Living Studio here in Temecula. It's helping a great deal. Remember, exercise is always a good idea.
Eating well is also a good idea, but beware of anyone who tries to sell you herbs specifically for symptom or diseases. For example, cayenne pepper is excellent for circulation, but if you have any type of Reflux, it will damage your esophagus. I mention the alternative medicine because if you seek out a yogi or yoga instructor focus on the exercise. Chanting and movement doesn't cause exacerbation of symptoms.
In 1994, My Raynaud's was very aggressive. I was in college, had to change my major, break up with my boyfriend who I moved to Wisconsin with from California. Some of us have stressors we're not even aware of. I was in denial, which was the stressor I ignored and found some poor ways of dealing with it.
Raynaud's is a response by the sympathetic nervous system- fight or flight. It is an unconscious reaction to a threat. Now that we're no longer hunter/gatherers threatened by predators our stress has changed, but the fight or flight response is still present. How will we feed ourselves? Take care of our offspring? Deal with our environment? (i.e. cold) Take care of ourselves?
As someone who experienced Raynaud’s at a young age, I would suggest to anyone with Raynaud's to find ways to cope with stress such as yoga, meditation & exercise. Don't hunt for stressors if you don't know what they are. That just creates more stress. Focus on the coping so that you are prepared for whatever life hands you. Something as simple as a manicure or pedicure once a week is a stress reliever. A massage once a month is great. My biggest regret is not doing yoga in my 20's. I discovered it in my 30's. Find a studio near you. Keep working with your doctors. I have some posts about what happened to me on my blog. I don't want to scare anyone so if you read them, please keep in mind this was almost 20 yrs ago, before Viagra and no one believed me when I reported my onset of symptom. Back then my doctors wrote it off as "hysterical female syndrome".
Here is the website to the Yoga Studio I go to called Living Yoga Andrea; the owner is also an excellent source of information as well. You may be able to find a place similar to it in your area if Temecual is too far.
One more thing:
My mom used to massage my hands gently, when she could and when I lived with her. Just throwing that out there. If I was sitting around watching TV, I'd take a wet towel, put it in the microwave until warm, coat my hands with lotion (I now use Kama Sutra Almond oil- works better than anything I've tried and smells great) cover my lotioned or oiled hands with towel and relax while watching TV or hanging out. Then after the towel cooled, my mom would gently massage my fingers, great for my circulation and my mind. A partner, roomate or a good friend also make great massage buddies. It's one way friends and family can help when they feel helpless.

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