How to

23 August 2016

Qigong Excercises - Keeping Your Hands Warm in Cold Weather

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Everyone knows the value of a good pair of gloves when it's cold outside, and this is particularly true if you're actually working with your hands. Even with the aid of gloves though, when the cold starts getting through the effect is noticeable. Your hands will start to seize up, you'll get reduced feeling and control in the tips of your fingers, but they will also start to sting.

This all comes down to circulation, as you might expect. Your body is constricting the blood vessels nearest to the skin in the outer extremities to stop the cold from seeping in any further. It's a vitally important bodily reaction to lower temperatures, but it's also a very uncomfortable one, and what if you need the warmth to return to your hands?

It's well known that opening and closing your fists is a good way of bringing the circulation back, but you can go further than this. Tai Chi is comprised of a number of different disciplines, many of which focus on particular areas of the body, and a lot of Qigong exercises are designed to improve circulation in the wrists, palms and fingers, which has the added effect of making it very good for warming your hands back up after a spell in the cold.

Obviously the discipline is far more broad than that, but for those of us who aren't ready to commit to total inner peace, the warm hands thing is more than enough. How well does it work? Well, some independent studies have shown that such exercises can warm the hands by around 5°C in a reasonably short space of time, or even just distribute the body heat more evenly between the palms and the fingers.

As you can see in the video above, the actual process of the hand exercises tend to be relatively simple, but surprisingly effective. Using your breathing, relaxing your body and keeping the movements slow and measured can have a dramatic effect on how well they're actually working.Once you have that pared down, you can apply the same principles to any kind of movement which will draw blood more evenly around the hands, although of course there are plenty of other guided techniques you can use.

Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop.