Poor blood circulation slows us down like nothing else. If we aren’t getting enough oxygen to our cells, in an effective and efficient way, then we feel sluggish and look worn out and tired. We have trouble mobilizing toxins and the “pipes” can get backed up.
Prolonged poor circulation can lead a more serious problem – one that could indicate cardiovascular disease. To boost your energy levels, tone your body, detoxify naturally on a regular basis, and get your energy flowing again, try these not-so-common circulation-boosting methods!
1) Dry Skin Brushing
Dry skin brushing invigorates the skin, increasing fresh blood supply to the areas brushed which boosts circulation. This simple technique (dry skin brushes are available at any health food store or online) will help your body rid itself of congested lymph fluid, creating a healthier immune system.
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To dry brush most effectively, brush in upward, circular motions toward your heart. Move the brush in a clockwise manner and go over each area of skin twice. Focus on the neck, behind the knees, under the arms, and general groin area for greatest results. Also focus on your hips and thighs if cellulite reduction is a goal. (This is my favourite dry skin brush for removing cellulite)
2) Tongue Scraper
The tongue scraper (like this one) comes from the tradition of Ayurveda (Indian Medical System). It is an inexpensive yet transformative utensil. Dentists are recommending the tongue scraper more and more because it helps fight cavities by removing bacteria from the mouth. When we have bad bacteria lurking in the mouth, we get bad bacteria in our entire bodies and that is a most toxic biochemistry to keep.
Tongue scrapers also prevent against bad breath, especially for people who eat a lot of dairy and build up mucus in the mouth, nose, and throat.
Some people ask if the same effect can be gained by brushing the tongue with a stiff toothbrush. Brushing the tongue moves bacteria around while it can be helpful, a tongue scraper is more effective as it clears out the deep deposits and generally keeps the area cleaner, stimulated and alive.
In addition to improving breath and whole body healthy by lightening the bacteria load on the body, the tongue scraper also helps with cravings. It works by cleaning the tongue of leftover food residue that could lead to cravings for those foods eaten previously. A tongue scraper reverses the process of desensitizing your taste buds, which has happened to everyone to a greater or lesser extent. It allows you to taste more subtle flavors in food so that you can eat vegetables, fruits and whole grains with greater joy – and less sweet and salty cravings. When old residue remains on the tongue, you will be better able to taste your food and won’t need to eat as much since you will have gained greater satisfaction from your meal.
3) Hot/Cold Contrast Showers
Contrast showers are showers that alternate between hot and cold water. When cold water is running, the lymph vessels contract, and when hot water is running, they dilate. This creates a pump effect that contributes to increased lymph drainage and blood flow in the veins, allowing your body’s own natural detoxification ability to be amplified. If you’ve the wherewithal for a few doses of icy water during a shower, test this out a few times a week and see if you feel more energetic during the day.
4) Detox Baths Once a Week!
Bentonite clay is an internal cleanser and a detoxifying agent. It removes toxic agents and wastes from the body. This clay has been used by over 200 cultures throughout the world. It is formed by the effect of weathering on volcanic ash in presence of water. I have used bentonite clay in my practice for years internally to cleanse the digestive system of toxins and waste and externally in bath to improve blood circulation. Try a few tablespoons in the bath next time, and for extra credit add ½ cup raw apple cider vinegar to assist with drawing toxins out of the skin. You may smell like a salad by the time you get out of there, but your glowing skin will be well worth the tangy scent!
5) Get Spicy!
Garlic is widely known to reduce cholesterol levels, cleanse the blood, tone the heart, improve the circulatory system, and prevent heart disease. It is great at stimulating blood flow! Eaten raw with lemon juice when sick will boost your circulation enough to knock out an illness.
Then there’s cayenne pepper. It contains the chemical compound capsaicin, which may help to reduce cholesterol and clear arteries and blood vessels. It also improves our metabolic rate considerably so we can cleanse faster! Add it sautéed dishes as well as into teas, soups, and juices. To target a more specific area of the body where you experience poor circulation, mix ground cayenne pepper with enough water so that it forms a paste. Spread the paste thinly on cheesecloth and wrap the cloth around the troubled area. In case of a burning sensation, add some olive oil to the paste to relieve the intensity.
By Christa Orecchio, Clinical and Holistic Nutritionist and Founder of thewholejourney.com.
Christa has 8+ years in private practice, helping thousands of individuals reclaim their health. She is the author of The Whole Journey Food as Medicine Cookbook, and co-host of American Health Talk Show, The Randy and Christa Show: News that Makes You Healthier.
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