Can Acupuncture Help Raynaud’s Disease?

Breeze Academy June 26, 2023
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Acupuncture is known for its ability to improve blood flow and circulation, as well as for reducing pain, discomfort and inflammation. So, how does it fare with Raynaud’s Disease? In this article, Breeze Academy dives into Acupuncture for Raynaud’s Disease and determines whether or not it’s a suitable alternative treatment. 

So, can Acupuncture help Raynaud’s Disease? Research suggests that Acupuncture helps to improve blood flow and reduce pain and discomfort, as well as helping to reduce future Raynaud’s attacks. It is beneficial for those that experience severe side effects of conventional medication, and for those that don’t respond to medication.

Read on to learn more about Acupuncture for Raynaud’s Disease with Breeze Academy.

Acupuncture for Raynaud’s - Does it Work?

Literature suggests that Acupuncture is effective in improving the symptoms of Raynaud’s Disease, as well as decreasing attacks. Most research implies, however, that Acupuncture does not offer a cure, although one study reported that Acupuncture may increase remission incidence.

Studies show that Acupuncture significantly decreases the frequency, duration and severity of attacks, with frequency reducing by 63% in one study. Additionally, it may decrease the impact that the cold has on Raynaud’s (the cold typically increases the risk of an attack).

Conventional treatment for Raynaud’s includes alpha blockers, calcium channel blockers, or antidepressants to improve circulation. However, these drugs often come with a range of side effects from headaches to weight gain, anxiety and tissue swelling. In extreme cases, Doctors may recommend surgery or injections to resolve the condition. Research into Acupuncture for Raynaud’s is still in its infancy, but researchers agree that it may offer a great, drug-free alternative treatment.

How Does Acupuncture for Raynaud’s Syndrome Help?

According to  a number of studies, Acupuncture may benefit Raynaud’s in the following ways:


Acupuncture is thought to increase circulation of the blood in the smallest blood vessels. This assists with the delivery of oxygen and nutrients, and can help to regulate blood flow and blood pressure.

Regulating Endothelium-derived Vasoconstrictors and Vasodilators

The endothelium produces vasoconstrictors and vasodilators that work to regulate vascular tone, as well as substances that smooth muscle cell growth.

Reducing inflammation

Acupuncture is well known for reducing inflammation across a wide range of conditions including Raynaud’s syndrome. It is thought that Acupuncture stimulates chemicals that reduce swelling and stop unwanted immune system responses.

Reduce Sensitivity to Pain

As well as inflammation, Acupuncture is known for its ability to reduce pain. Acupuncture stimulates sensory nerves under the skin and in the muscles which results in the body releasing pain-relieving endorphins.

Acupuncture Points for Raynaud’s

The following Acupuncture points are thought to help with Raynaud’s:

  • LI 11 - located at the crease of the elbow when the arm is bent. This point helps with pain and motor impairment.
  • ST 36 - located on the anterior aspect of the lower leg, 1 fingers width from the anterior crest of the tibia. This point helps to increase motor cortical excitation.
  • LU 9 - located on the radial end of the transverse crease of the wrist, where the artery pulsates. This point assists with vascular problems.

In addition to this, the following points may be used:

  • HT 3
  • TB 5
  • PC 6
  • Jiaji points from C-6 to T-3
  • Baxie extra points

Contraindications of Acupuncture for Raynaud’s Disease

As previously discussed, western treatments for Raynaud’s Disease may result in a number of unfavourable side effects. For the most part, Acupuncture has minimal side effects and is considered to be a safe treatment for most people.

Acupuncture Side Effects

Common, mild side effects may include:

  • Mild pain, bruising and bleeding at the needle point
  • Feeling faint or drowsy immediately after treatment

These side effects tend to be minor, mild and short-term when Acupuncture is conducted by a qualified practitioner. In most cases, these effects are nothing to worry about and will resolve themselves quickly.

Absolute Contraindications

There are a few groups of society that should not undergo Acupuncture treatment for medical reasons. They should consult their primary Doctor before proceeding with treatment. These include:

  • Pregnant women
  • Those with uncontrollable movements
  • Those with spinal instability
  • Those with scars, keloid, recent wounds or skin with sensory deficit
  • Those with blood disorders
  • Those with a pacemaker

Learn more about the safety of acupuncture, its risk, side effects and contraindications in our dedicated blog, Is Acupuncture Safe?

Final Thoughts

The research into Acupuncture for Raynaud’s Syndrome is still in its infancy and experts state that more research is needed. However, current understanding suggests that Acupuncture is effective in treating Raynaud’s, or at least the symptoms of the disease. 

It is particularly beneficial for people that experience side effects from conventional medications that treat the condition. It may also be a good alternative for those that don’t respond well to conventional treatments, before surgery is recommended. 

If you’re a healthcare professional interested in offering Acupuncture as an alternative therapy, take a look at our Acupuncture courses online today. We offer foundation-level Acupuncture courses at all major cities across the UK and provide you with everything you need to safely and effectively practise acupuncture. We also offer more advanced CPD Acupuncture courses for those that have successfully passed a foundation course. 

Take a look at our range of courses online today, or get in touch for more information.


What is Raynaud’s Disease?

Raynaud’s Disease is a condition that affects blood circulation. When an affected person is cold, anxious or stressed, their fingers and/or toes may change colour as blood flow is restricted. For some people, their ears, nose or lips may also be affected.

The symptoms of Raynaud’s typically last from a few minutes to a few hours. It is a relatively common phenomenon and doesn’t usually cause severe problems. 

What Causes Raynaud’s Disease?

Experts don’t fully understand what causes the condition but it is typically triggered by cold temperatures, anxiety or stress. The condition causes blood flow to be restricted to affected areas as the blood vessels go into a temporary spasm.

What are the Symptoms of Raynaud’s Disease?

Common symptoms of Raynaud’s Disease include:

  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Pins and needles
  • Difficulty in moving the area.

In most cases, these symptoms are localised to the fingers and/or toes, but it can also  affect the lips, nose and ears.

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