We tend to take our blood circulation for granted. For us, it’s like lift music – always there, in the background. We know it delivers blood throughout the body and distributes oxygen and nutrients, but it takes place so automatically that we take it for granted. But what happens when your circulation falters and slows down?

We accept that our hearts beat on average at least 60 times per minute, and that our circulatory systems transport oxygen and nutrients, and much more. But when it’s not working properly, we’d soon feel the symptoms. And an ailing circulation system will demand attention…

What factors affect blood circulation?

Well, there are several. One, as always, is ageing. As the body ages, the arteries lose some of their elasticity and become narrower. The heart needs to work harder to push the blood through the arteries, causing a decreased blood flow in the body and increased blood pressure. Your circulation can malfunction if you’re vastly overweight (obesity can lead to swelling in your lower legs and feet). Smoking causes a build-up of plaque on the insides of the blood vessels and capillaries, impeding blood flow. Hate exercising? Your lifestyle could cause bad circulation, and so can eating too much junk food (which usually brings us back to obesity).

So, how would you know that your circulation is on a go-slow? If you suffer with one or more of the following symptoms, consult your healthcare practitioner.

Well, there are several. One, as always, is ageing. As the body ages, the arteries lose some of their elasticity and become narrower. The heart needs to work harder to push the blood through the arteries, causing a decreased blood flow in the body and increased blood pressure. Your circulation can malfunction if you’re vastly overweight (obesity can lead to swelling in your lower legs and feet). Smoking causes a build-up of plaque on the insides of the blood vessels and capillaries, impeding blood flow. Hate exercising? Your lifestyle could cause bad circulation, and so can eating too much junk food (which usually brings us back to obesity).
So, how would you know that your circulation is on a go-slow? If you suffer with one or more of the following symptoms, consult your healthcare practitioner.

  1. Skin ulcers – these might often resemble an inflamed rash but do not go away, even with treatment. They may be painful.
  2. Swollen or numb hands or feet may signal that poor circulation is interfering with the function of your kidneys, so your body cannot get rid of excess fluid.
  3. Constantly cold hands and feet are the traditional signs that blood is not reaching your fingers and toes.
  4. Discoloration of skin on the legs may indicate that insufficient oxygen is being carried to your extremities.
  5. Varicose veins, which can develop when poor circulation leads to a build-up of blood or fluid in the blood vessels.
  6. Thinning hair and nails. Blood carrying the nutrients they need to flourish may not be reaching their destination.
  7. Bloating and constipation are typical signs that the digestive system has slowed, possibly due to poor circulation.
  8. Constant tiredness. Muscles that don’t receive sufficient oxygen and nutrients can feel heavy and uncooperative. And that’s extremely tiring.
  9. Infections. A sluggish circulation may weaken the immune system, making it easier to pick up bacterial or viral infections.
  10. Decreased blood flow to the heart can cause pain or tightness in the chest, called angina.
  11. Woolly brain. We’re all familiar with this feeling! Decreased oxygen to the brain can cause poor mental function and make it harder to concentrate or think.
  12. Poor circulation in men may lead to erectile dysfunction.

What can you do to improve your circulation, naturally?

Your health practitioner will probably suggest some of the following tips to improve your circulation, but make these common-sense measures a part of your routine – every day.

  1. Exercise whenever you can – walk, bike, run, swim, dance – anything to get your blood pumping.
  2. Stand up every hour to stretch. If you’re desk-bound all day, this movement is vital to keep your blood flowing.
  3. Like exercise, massage stimulates blood flow in the area being massaged and helps get rid of natural occurring toxins within the body.
  4. Elevate your leg to increase circulation while relaxing – especially good for people who stand all day.
  5. Eat healthily. Ditch quick-fix junk foods. Eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats (in fish, olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds).
  6. Drink 6–8 glasses of water a day to increase oxygen levels in your blood and improve circulation, and reduce your intake of caffeine and alcohol.
  7. Quit smoking. Have we advised that before?
  8. When you’re stressed, your blood flows away from your skin to support your heart and muscle tissues. Try to reduce your stress levels with exercise, music, singing, therapy or hobbies.
  9. Give yourself a relaxed dry skin brush then step into a hot bath. Hot water helps to relax tense muscles, increases blood circulation and allows oxygen to flow more smoothly throughout the body. Dry skin brushing with a soft natural bristle brush or fibre-covered pad in a circular motion upwards from the feet and inwards from the fingers to the chest stimulates blood and lymph flow.
  10. Take circulation-boosting supplements. Flora Force Circulation Formula is a full-potency herbal tincture blend to support healthy, elastic blood vessels and circulation.
    Order yours from Faithful To Nature Ginkgo Biloba is another herb that is an effective circulation booster that protects against age-related blood–vessel deterioration and amps up mental alertness – get Flora Force Ginkgo biloba capsules from Faithful To Nature.

Good circulation is one of the principal factors for good health. Please treat yours kindly!

CAUTION

Consult your health practitioner before taking any herbal supplements.

  • Always consult your health practitioner before taking any herbal supplements, especially if you are taking other medication, and especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Acknowledgements & Photo credits

Article compiled for Flora Force by Judy Beyer.

References

  1. Hills, J. How to improve blood circulation naturally. Healthy and Natural World. http://www.healthyandnaturalworld.com/improve-blood-circulation-naturally/
  2. Telpner, M. 14 Warning Signs that You Have Poor Blood Circulation. Natural News Blogs. 2015. http://www.naturalnewsblogs.com/14-warning-signs-poor-blood-circulation/

Photo credits

  1. Photo courtesy of naturwohl / Pixabay.com