How to treat poor blood circulation

Written by nicole langton
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Good blood circulation is critical for keeping oxygen, nutrients and vital fluids like lymph flowing through the body. If circulation is impaired, injuries heal slowly and hands and feet are easily chilled. For those with diabetes, neuropathy, arteriosclerosis and other conditions that impede circulation, maintaining good blood flow is critical to avoiding chronic problems with the hands and feet. For overall better health, learn how to treat poor blood circulation with the right type of exercise, a better diet and simple massages.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Cayenne pepper
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Multivitamins
  • Hawthorn berry dietary supplements

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Exercise to strengthen your circulatory system and stimulate blood flow in your extremities. If your health allows, do at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise daily. This could be running, brisk walking, dancing, swimming or working out on a treadmill, stationary bike, elliptical machine or other machine that gets your heart pumping. If you sit or stand for long periods, be active for a few minutes every hour to get blood to your feet and hands. You might pump your arms, peddle your legs, run in place or do some jumping jacks.

  2. 2

    Massage your arms, hands, legs and feet briskly to increase blood flow. Every other day, use your hands to rub down each limb until it feels comfortably warm. If you have sensitive skin, apply massage oil or baby power first. For a greater effect, take a warm bath or soak your hands and feet in warm water, dry off completely and then massage.

  3. 3

    Cut back on foods that can slow your circulation. Excess salt and sugar damage the blood vessels, leading to decreased blood flow. Excess saturated fat and trans fat can clog veins and arteries and impede circulation. To treat poor blood circulation, avoid canned foods, which are typically high in salt, and deep-fried foods, which often contain trans fats.

  4. 4

    Try foods and herbs that boost your blood flow. Cayenne pepper, ginger, garlic and turmeric stimulate the heart, keep arteries clear by preventing the build-up of plaque and prevent blood clots. Add garlic or cayenne to soups and sauces, use turmeric in rice or pasta dishes and try ginger in tea or baked goods. Fish and nuts, which contain omega-3 fatty acids, and red vegetables and fruits, which contain lycopene, also prevent the build-up of arterial plaque.

  5. 5

    Consider nutritional supplements that improve circulatory health. Vitamins E, C and B-complex, as well as the minerals calcium and magnesium, are all important for heart and circulatory health. If you suspect your diet is low in these nutrients, consider a daily multivitamin. Among the herbal supplements to consider are hawthorn berries and Ginkgo biloba, both of which dilate the blood vessels.

Tips and warnings

  • Drink plenty of water and avoid dehydrating beverages like soda and alcohol. Being even a little dehydrated makes your blood thicker and less able to circulate efficiently.
  • If you have high blood pressure, a heart condition or take blood thinning drugs like Warafin, consult your doctor before you treat poor blood circulation with nutritional supplements, herbal medicines or even ordinary spices.
  • Soreness, pain, numbness or tingling from poor circulation in just one part of the body could indicate a serious problem, such as thrombosis. Consult a doctor immediately if you have such symptoms.
  • Smoking makes treating poor blood circulation exceptionally difficult. Carbon monoxide from smoke damages blood vessels and nicotine triggers the release of stored fats, which can stick to blood vessel walls and impede blood flow.

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