Icy Hands? Try These 10 Natural Ways to Warm Them Up

Wednesday Mar 5, 2014 | BY |
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Cold Hands

Things like warming foods and drinking enough water
can help you enjoy toasty hands no matter the temperature.

In early February 2014, the Chicagoist reported that this winter has been the coldest winter in Chicago in 30 years, with an average temperature of 19 degrees since December 1, 2013.

In January 2014, CNN reported that this year’s “polar vortex” is the coldest in 20 years in many areas. Weather.com reported that in January, a few major cities, including Atlanta and Indianapolis, recorded their lowest temperatures since the mid-1990s. Monday, January 6, 2014, ranked as the 40th-coldest day on record since 1900 for the continental U.S., with an average of 17.9 degrees for the lower 48 states.

With all this cold, your hands are likely to be the first part of the body to suffer. Try these natural solutions to warm them up—fast!

  1. Improve your circulation: Cold hands may signal slow or inefficient circulation. Try 600 mg daily of hawthorn (or 160 mg three times a day). It has a reputation for improving circulation and blood flow to the extremities, and is thought to act directly on the heart to increase force of heartbeats and relax the arteries around the heart, while widening those close to the surface of the skin. The University of Maryland Medical Centers states that both animal and human studies have suggested that hawthorn increases coronary blood flow, improves circulation, and lowers blood pressure. Check with your doctor if you are already taking blood pressure medication, however, as hawthorn may enhance the activity of the drug. Ginkgo biloba is another option (120-160 mg of standardized extract three times a day).
  2. Drink more water: If your body is well hydrated, your metabolism naturally works more efficiently, which warms you up. We often forget to drink in the winter, so try making sure you’re getting enough water every hour.
  3. Wear a hat: Your head is one of the primary areas where you lose heat. If you go out with a coat and gloves on, but a bare head, you’re likely to experience cold hands. Wear a hat to stay warmer overall.
  4. Relax: Tension creates cold hands. Your body tenses up, limiting blood flow to your fingers. Try a yoga pose or two, go on a short walk to relax your muscles, or engage in regular meditation.
  5. Breathe: Did you know that people with cold hands tend to be shallow breathers? The more deeply you breathe, the more oxygen you bring into your system, which then goes from the lungs to the bloodstream to transfer heat throughout the body. Learn to breathe deeper. It will also help you relax.
  6. Eat warming foods: These not only warm you up, but can help boost your immune system and prevent winter chills. Try adding fresh ginger and garlic—even cayenne if you can—to your recipes. Other warming foods include mustard greens, nuts, oats, parsnips, peppers, quinoa, scallions, wasabi, chives, honey, kumquat, dates and other dried fruits, onions, papaya, wild rice, and spices like anise, basil, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, parsley, and rosemary.
  7. Avoid caffeine: It restricts blood vessels, so if you’re cold, try an herbal tea rather than coffee. Avoid caffeinated beverages when you’re out in the winter weather.
  8. Keep your neck and wrists covered: Wearing short gloves? That could be the problem. Primary blood vessels come close to the surface of the skin in the neck and wrists, which makes them more susceptible to cold. Keep these areas protected, and your hands will naturally feel warmer.
  9. Avoid tight clothing: Tight jeans or other tight pieces of clothing can restrict blood flow to the extremities. If you’re feeling cold, wear looser clothing.
  10. Swing your arms: If all these methods haven’t worked and you’re stuck outside with cold fingers, try swinging your arms around and around about 30-50 times. The centripetal force you create pushes the blood flow to your fingers. If your fingers are numb before you start, do 20 swings, wait a bit, then do 20 more.

Do you have other methods of warming up? Please share them!

Colleen M. Story

Colleen M. Story

Colleen M. Story, a northwest-based writer, editor, and ghostwriter, has been creating non-fiction materials for individuals, corporations, and commercial magazines for over 15 years. She specializes in the health and wellness field, where she writes and ghostwrites books, e-books, blogs, magazine articles, web copy, newsletters, research-based projects and more.

Colleen is a self-described health nut, and understands from experience that “junk” foods and lack of sleep lead to fuzzy thinking, which isn’t helpful when facing project deadlines! She enjoys interviewing top scientific researchers, alternative medicine gurus, and cancer survivors from all over the nation who have overcome great challenges to find new purpose and vitality in life. In telling their stories and sharing their insights, she feels a sense of belonging in a wider community of individuals who seek to experience life in the most vibrant way possible.

Colleen’s fantasy novel, “Rise of the Sidenah,” is forthcoming from Jupiter Gardens Press. Her literary novel, “Loreena’s Gift,” is scheduled for an August 2015 release with Dzanc Books. She lives in Idaho. www.colleenmstory.com

2 COMMENTS ON THIS POST

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  1. George Mason says:

    Every year, autumn through spring, I’ve had difficulties keeping my hands and feet warm. Another downside to this is that I spend most of my days in front of a computer, though that made it easy to figure that blood circulation is the problem. Sometimes my fingers get white and numb (apparently I have Raynaud’s), but I’ve found that reducing caffeine and nicotine helps prevent the Raynaud’s; and getting at least half an hour of exercise four or five times a week provides long term results for me.
    Thanks for sharing this article!

  2. Helen says:

    Sprinkling cayenne pepper into your gloves and/or socks when it’s really cold will definitely warm you up and improve circulation although you won’t feel it immediately. Also, adding cayenne pepper to a bath is a great way to increase circulation and really feel the whole-body warmth that one can crave when one is feeling “cold to the bone”!

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