Arginine, or L-arginine, is an amino acid that is produced naturally by the body. Discovered in 1886, according to the Mayo Clinic's website, scientists only began to understand the necessity of this semi-essential amino acid after studying it for 50 years. Even though the human body produces arginine, hence the term semi-essential, for conditions such as poor circulation, supplementation may be necessary. In the body, arginine helps to remove waste products through the kidneys, but topically it stimulates blood flow to areas with poor circulation. Topical creams warm the skin by stimulating vasodilatation and improving circulation. Poor circulation can cause hands and feet to become cold and numb, and cause pain and stiffness. Warming creams with arginine are available over the counter and their use may help with some medical conditions such as critical limb ischemia.
Scoop out a liberal amount of cream. Start with enough to cover fingertips and add more if necessary to cover large surface areas.
Rub the cream over the affected region. Cover the surface thoroughly. For example, if using to relieve cold or numbness in the hands, apply the cream over the front and back of the hand and the fingers.
Massage the affected area for three to five minutes. This will help your skin absorb the cream and further stimulate warming and blood flow. Massaging will also help warm the skin until the cream begins to work.
Read the directions on the product you purchase for proper application. According to one manufacturer, Themomax, the warming sensation will begin within 30 minutes of applying the cream.
There are no reported side effects, however, do not apply this cream to any open areas including sores, cuts, rashes or irritated skin. Wash off the cream if the heating action causes you pain or discomfort. Keep cream away from your eyes or nose. Numb feet or hands can be a symptom of a serious illness and should be evaluated by a medical professional. If you have extreme cold or numbness in your hands or feet for long periods of time, consult with your doctor.