The value of conventional treatment is limited, and so is CAM.

Let’s review.

Raynaud’s (say “ray-NOHZ”) phenomenon is a condition in which blood flow to the surface tissue of the hands and feet is temporarily decreased, usually as an overresponse to cold temperatures.

First, the details.

  • Researchers from Canada searched the literature and found 20 studies.
    • Acupuncture (2)
    • Anti-oxidants (2)
    • Biofeedback (5)
    • Essential fatty acids (3)
    • Ginkgo biloba (1)
    • L-arginine (2)
    • Laser (3)
    • Glucosaminoglycans (1)
    • Therapeutic gloves (1)

And, the results.

  • Most studies were negative, of poor quality, and done prior to 1990.
  • Biofeedback: negative for a change in frequency, duration, and severity of Raynoud’s attacks.
    • The results actually favored sham biofeedback.
  • The therapeutic glove: effective.
  • Laser: an average of 1 less Raynaud’s attack over 2 weeks vs sham and a change in severity of attacks.
  • Nutritional supplements: no change.

The bottom line?
There’s a need for well-designed studies of CAM in Raynaud’s phenomenon.

5/13/09 23:01 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.