Coping with Raynaud's: Practical self-help and hypnotherapy

Raynaud's phenomenon is a common condition that affects approximately one in 20 people. The condition causes small blood vessels to become narrower, which affects the blood supply to certain parts of the body, usually the fingers and toes.


Depending on the severity of the symptoms, Raynaud's disease can greatly affect daily life, particularly in the winter months. The symptoms can cause pain and numbness, making simple tasks like buttoning up a coat or opening a door a challenge. As February is Raynaud's Awareness Month, it's an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of this painful condition and encourage anyone experiencing symptoms to seek medical advice and support to manage their condition.

What is Raynaud’s disease?

During an ‘attack’, blood vessels narrow and temporarily stop blood from flowing to the extremities of the body, causing the skin to turn white then blue/black, and eventually numbness sets in. The affected body part can become very cold to the touch. As circulation returns to normal, the affected areas turn red and this can be very painful.

Raynaud’s disease affects around 10 million people in the UK, making it about as common as hay fever. There are two types of Raynaud’s- primary and secondary. The primary form is often mild, but secondary Raynaud’s can be more serious and is often linked to a potentially life-threatening condition called scleroderma.

Symptoms of Raynaud’s disease

If you experience any of the following symptoms, it’s possible you may have Raynaud’s disease:

  • extremely cold hands and feet
  • chilblain-like pain and inflammation in the hands and/or feet
  • colour changes in the skin-white, blue, red

What causes Raynaud’s?

While the exact cause of Raynaud’s is unknown, it’s thought that people with Raynaud’s disease have problems with the nerves that control their blood vessels, making them much more sensitive to sudden changes in temperature.

Emotional stress can also be a trigger, as stress causes the blood vessels to narrow, restricting blood flow to the extremities. There is some evidence that Raynaud’s can be hereditary, however, for many people, the cause is not known. Secondary Raynaud’s is more rare, and it’s often linked to autoimmune conditions like scleroderma or lupus.

Managing Raynaud’s symptoms

There are some self-help measures you can take to manage Raynaud’s symptoms. It’s recommended that you try to avoid sudden drops in temperature and keep warm with layers, warm gloves, and socks when you’re outside. It’s also important to reduce stress in your life as much as possible, and this is one of the areas where hypnotherapy can help.

How hypnotherapy can help with Raynaud’s

Hypnotherapy can be one of the most effective ways to manage Raynaud’s symptoms. This is because hypnotherapy can teach you effective stress management tools, alongside the hypnosis which can take you into a deep state of relaxation and help reduce stress.

Hypnotherapy can also support the workings of the subconscious that might be causing you emotional stress, which can help the mind and body to regulate themselves. Visual imagery in hypnosis has also been found to increase blood flow in subjects' extremities during fPET scans. This shows that hypnosis can help to increase blood flow to the extremities, which can help manage the symptoms of Raynaud’s disease.

In conclusion

Raynaud’s disease affects millions of people in the UK, and it’s important to raise awareness of this condition. If you experience any symptoms of Raynaud’s, it’s essential that you see your GP.

While there is no cure for Raynaud’s, there are self-help measures you can take to manage the symptoms, and hypnotherapy can be an effective tool. Remember to keep warm and reduce stress in your life as much as possible. With the right care and management, you can still be comfortable and enjoy life.  If you'd like more information, please do get in touch.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Hypnotherapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London SW19 & E8
Written by Abbey Robb, B.Soc Sci(Psych) D.ClinHyp HPD(NCH) MNCH(Acc.) MAPHP MCNHC
London SW19 & E8

Abbey is an experienced, friendly, award-winning therapist who has practices in Colliers Wood, Hackney, and online. She specialises in complex, chronic medical conditions, trauma and anxiety and has a special interest in neurodiversity.

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