The common cold – how to improve circulation
Cold hands and cold feet are common during the cooler months. While the weather is to blame in some cases, if you experience ongoing symptoms it could be an indication of poor circulation, stress, thyroid issues, diabetes or problems with your blood vessels.
The first step is to see a health care professional and find out exactly what’s causing your cold hands and feet. In the meantine, there are plenty of natural lifestyle changes you can implement to warm up the body and stimulate circulation.
1. Dry brushing
Dry brushing is my first port of call when combating poor circulation. It stimulates circulation in all underlying organs and tissues, especially in the small blood capillaries of your skin. It’s a great way to warm up and regulate your body temperature, especially when the weather is cold.
The best time to dry brush is first thing in the morning before you shower. Dry brushing with a natural bristle brush allows the bristles to work deeper into the skin and muscles, stimulating circulation. Performing it dry also means you get a better exfoliation.
Start with the soles of your feet and move slowly move up your body, brushing in circular motions. Brush until your skin becomes rosy, warm and glowing. Once you finish brushing, jump in the shower to wash off any excess dry skin.
2. Hot and cold showers
Follow your dry brushing morning ritual with a hot and cold shower to help stimulate blood flow and circulation. When in the shower alternate the water temperature from hot to cold. Our blood vessels constrict in cold water and dilate in hot water so the change in temperate will get the blood pumping and boost your circulatory system.
3. Herbal Teas
A steaming cup of herbal tea is great remedy for improving circulation and warming the hands and feet. Warming spices such as cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and black pepper will heat the body up, one cup of tea at a time.
4. Herbal tinctures
Many cultures use herbal tinctures to improve circulation, strengthen the blood vessels are stimulate flow of blood in the body. Here are my top three recommendations:
- Gingko biloba: is a circulatory stimulant that increases blood flow and supports peripheral vascular disease.
- Prickly ash: is another circulatory stimulant that promotes capillary, lymphatic and peripheral circulation. It is also useful for muscular pain.
- Horse chestnut: has been traditionally used to strengthen the capillaries, treat varicose veins and increase circulation.
Note: Always check with your general practitioner if these herbs are suitable for you.
Regular exercise is another way to naturally enhance circulation and warm up cold hands and feet. Exercise can stimulate blood flow throughout the body, increasing the body’s temperature. Taking regular breaks from your desk and walking around the office, moving your arms and legs is a great place to start.
Another exercise that stimulates circulation is the yoga posture, Viparita Karani, also known as ‘legs up on the wall pose’. This is a simple exercise that involves laying down on your back and placing your legs up against a wall. Raising the legs above the heart gets the blood flowing freely throughout the body towards our vital organs and supports the circulatory system.
6. Warming foods
In winter, swap out cold salads, raw foods and smoothies with warming spices, slow cooked stews, soups and hot meals. Enjoying hearty and nutritious meals is a fantastic way to increase circulation.
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