I’ve got Raynaud’s, love alpine climbing. It’s a really great combination…
For those unfamiliar, Raynaud’s is almost like being “allergic to cold.” That’s a dumb-sounding explanation, but basically: hands get cold, then the body shunts blood to the extremities (notably fingers, toes) resulting in numb, cold hands even when your core is cranking heat. Think: the screaming barfies, but before the barfies part, and having the barfies all the time. It’s unpleasant at best, but gets in the way when you’re climbing rock in 45F and your hands go numb (or ice in -10F).
(1) Has anyone had any luck self-treating symptoms from Raynaud’s? What worked, what didn’t?
I’ve had luck with acupuncture as preventative maintenance measure. An hour long session biweekly during the winter made a huge difference for my hands. The acupuncturist I saw in Cambridge, MA was familiar with Raynaud’s and had treated patients for it before. Other than that, constant aggressive wind-milling of my arms is the only thing that can help mitigate the effects.
(2) Scott, in your recent Training Peaks interview about coaching Adrian Ballinger for his supplemental-O2-free Everest climb, you mention observing Raynaud’s-like symptoms in him (and in many other winter athletes in the past), and attributing some of that poor heat regulation to not being very well fat-adapted. Could you elaborate on this? Have you been able to mitigate Raynaud’s-like symptoms in other athletes through diet and training?
I’d love to hear any / all input from anyone with experience with Raynaud’s.