Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cold Blooded: How to Get Your Circulation Movin'

I'm in New York - - and it's cold!!! I am sitting here in my bleached-stained sweat pants, t-shirt, sweatshirt, thick socks and Uggs and I am shivering. The ice cold Coors Light in my hand probably isn't helping, but in all seriousness, my circulation is very poor. I remember in an herbalism class I took last year, my teacher, Joanne Cohen at Santa Monica College (who is awesome!) said that ginger root and cayenne pepper are just a couple of foods that are great for circulation and, in addition, there are ways to prepare your body for fall/winter. I am not a candidate for cold weather. Put me in 120 degree weather in Death Valley and I feel right at home. I take super hot showers, lots of steaming hot baths, as I am sure many of you do - - but that is not good for the body!

I wish I had my notebook from that herbalism class, but it's back in Los Angeles, so my memory and Google will have to do for now. Ok, so preparing your body for the chilly weather takes work. But health takes work in general and people, it should take work to get something as complex as our body into shape. So get used to actually working hard to feel good. Anyway, starting at the end of Summer, gradually turn down the Hot knob in your shower every day so that by Fall you are taking cold showers. Cold water on the body actually gets the blood pumping away from the skin and towards the organs. Hot water does the opposite. If taking cold showers everyday sounds like an impossible task like it does for me, then perhaps the hot and cold shower method sounds more appealing.

Hot and Cold Treatments

Hot and cold showers or Hydrotherapy is a good way of improving your circulation. It is something you can do every day, concentrating on the effected area. When you get hot under a shower the blood rushes to the skin and feeds it. Then when you immediately put on the cold, the blood rushes to the internal organs. You shiver, but what is happening is that your blood is flushing out your skin and leaving it oxygenated. Then, again, a hot shower and the blood rushes from your internal organs, so flushing them, to your skin.

So think about it, if you take only hot showers, the blood rushes to your skin rather than to the organs to get them properly functioning. So check out the list of "malfunctions" your body can have with poor circulation (also taken from the same website):


Circulatory disorders are quite common in middle-aged and elderly folk. Hypertension is one of them. It is caused by cholesterol plaque deposits along the walls of the arteries, making them harden and constrict. Because the arteries are constricted, the blood exerts great force against the walls of the blood vessels, causing the blood pressure to rise.

Hardening of the Arteries

Hardening of the arteries is another consequence because the arteries narrow due to these same fatty deposits. Buergers disease, common to those who smoke, is a chronic inflammation of the veins and arteries in the lower extremities. Raynauds disease is marked by constriction and spasm of the blood vessels in the extremities. The fingers toes and tip of the nose. This disease if left untreated can lead to gangrene.

Varicose Veins

Additionally, poor circulation can result from varicose veins that develop because of a loss of elasticity if the walls of the veins. Circulatory problems are very prevalent in this age of bad food, little if any exercise and higher stress levels. This problem is quite common in a single leg or more often in both legs.

Check out this informative video(s) on Cayenne Pepper:

Oops, wrong one! :D

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