Retraining Your Hands to Stay Warm?

There’s an old New York Times article from 1988, that says the US Army had even then known for decades how to train cold hands that don’t warm up (easily or at all). The idea is that you re-teach the body to dilate the hands’ blood vessels whenever the body feels cold.

How do you do that?

Apparently the idea was that you get in a warm place and have your hands in warm water.

Then you go to a cold place, without putting on anything particularly warm — but you keep your hands submerged in warm water.

You do this every other day, but 3 to 6 times on that day.

The idea is that your body gets used to having your hands feel toasty and relaxed while your body is cold, so it starts to set your blood circulation in your hands on “toasty and relaxed” whenever your body feels cold.

The bad news is that the retraining can take a long time. But since they were training soldiers who had to be stationed in Alaska, I guess they had the time.

Obviously it would be a bit harder to do this with cold feet or a cold nose, and a lot harder to do it with a cold butt (unless you have a cold bathroom and a warm bathtub). But it seems logical.

(Though you would probably want to make sure you go to the bathroom before commencing your training periods, if your family ever used water on hands for your toilet training… which a lot of mothers used to do….)

The article did warn that it doesn’t work well for people with high blood pressure, arterial disease, bad veins caused by drug abuse, etc.

I hate having cold hands all day, so it’s probably worth a try.

UPDATE: I’ve been Instalanched!

Rhhardin, a  year-round biker, says in the comments over there that the secret is to keep your wrists warm. I can believe it, since my wrists are always getting cold. But they also get cold when my arms and wrists are fully covered, so maybe rhhardin has really warm wristbands.

I haven’t been diligent about the retraining, but it does seem to be helping. Of course, it also helps to eat my veggies and take my vitamins. (Iron helps the body control temperature, and pretty much everything from A to D will help your body work better.)

This is a pretty old blog, with no particular theme. I talk about science fiction and fantasy, mysteries, early Christian writers (“patristics”), anime, name origins, Catholicism, and so forth. If you look under the Buy My Books tag, you’ll see that I’ve also done translations of some old books. Feel free to buy them and review them! (I’ve sold somewhere around 50-200 copies of them, but I’ve got no reviews on Amazon yet. A puzzlement.)

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4 responses to “Retraining Your Hands to Stay Warm?

  1. Pingback: Instapundit » Blog Archive » WONDER IF IT WOULD WORK: Retraining Your Hands to Stay Warm?…

  2. The body can make these adjustments through a single experience, in the manner of classical conditioning. I know because I’ve had it happen to me.

    I used to drive a lumber truck, a 10-speed Mack with a twenty-five foot hydraulic flatbed. One periodic pickup was a 2-hr run down to Rhode Island. The first time I did it in winter it was about 28 degrees out and my right foot suffered agonies that felt like frostbite.

    Because the diesel engine had a torque fall off at a modest RPM you basically kept the “gas” pedal pinned to the floor and it would keep you at highway speed, so I could not move my foot at all. The cab heater wasn’t working and my whole body was cold, but my right foot felt like a block of ice.

    A week later I had to make the same trip. I was dressed the same, same boots, same socks, but this time it was colder, low 20s, and I was dreading what would happen. To my surprise my feet stayed toasty the whole trip.

    I figure what happened is that on the first trip my body felt my core get cold and estimated that it should sacrifice my extremities to save my life. When my life turned out not to be in danger, and the only part that suffered was my extremities, my body seemed to decide that sacrificing the extremities had been the wrong choice, so it made a different one the next time.

    It was a dramatic change. My body just somehow decided, after one experience, to change strategy, completely, 180 degrees different.

    • Alec, I think you’re foot was trying to tell you to find another line of work! LOL! I was once a trucker just as you describe, foot buried to the floor just to keep up with traffic.

      Cheers and Merry Christmas.

  3. BY TAKING A PINT OF BEET ROOT EMULSIFIED A DAY OR INORGANIC NITRATE-750MG/DAY YOU WILL HAVE INCREASED YOUR BODY’S NITRIC OXIDE STORES. THIS WILL LEAD TO SMALL ARTERIAL ARTERY DILATION WHICH WILL INCREASE THE BLOOD FLOW TO YOUR HANDS. THIS HAS BEEN USED TO TREAT REYNAUD’S DISEASE AND IMPROVE THE ARTERIAL ENDOTHELIAL HEALTH AND A WHOLE HOST OF OTHER BENEFITS. IT IS CHEAP AS POTASSIUM NITRATE IS FERTILIZER ALSO KNOWN AS SALTPETER.

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