In a healthy circulatory system, a single blood cell can circulate the entire body in just 20 seconds! A handful of heartbeats are enough to refresh all the blood around your body. This is great, as all that freshly oxygenated blood brings nutrients to the body while simultaneously moving toxins to the kidneys to be removed. The Large amounts of bioactive compounds in pure essential oils help the body circulate optimally, keeping your body performing at its best every day.
The Circulatory System
When the circulatory system is in working order; the body thrives. This is because the circulatory system connects and supplies every other system with air, water, hormones and nutrients; while simultaneously taking cellular waste to the kidney and liver to be excreted. The most noticed member of the system is the heart, which is responsible for the physical act of pumping the blood. Also included in the circulatory system are the lungs, brain, kidney, and the various capillaries, arteries, and veins which connect your entire body. The circulatory system is also responsible for carrying the lymph through the body.
Symptoms of Poor Circulation
When blood circulation slows down, many problems can arise. If you’ve ever had a limb “fall sleep”, you know the effects of poor circulation. Though symptoms don’t usually come on as rapidly as these extreme symptoms of sleeping limbs, poor circulation is associated with a long list of potentially dangerous symptoms. As the circulatory system affects every other system in the body; symptoms of poor circulation can be widespread, including:
- Coldness in hands or feet
- Excess fatigue
- Tingling in extremities
- Extra water retention, especially in the feet and legs
- Excessive muscle pain during exercise
- Slow digestion or constipation
- Slow healing time on lower extremities
- Loss of appetite
- Decreased mental ability
- Chest pain
- Erectile dysfunction
Some people choose to use chemical medications to heal the symptoms of poor circulation. These choices are often met with discouraging, sometimes severe side effects. Luckily there are many healthy lifestyle choices to help influence the blood circulating in the body.
Lifestyle Habits for Healthy Circulation
To create a lasting change in the blood circulation of the body, there are some dietary and lifestyle requirements to focus on. Instead of solely treating symptoms, lifestyle changes empower the body to heal itself.
Sufficient exercise is one of the most health-boosting activities possible. As circulation is controlled by your heart, any activity which raises the heart rate helps to improve circulation. Spending 30 minutes a day to walk, swim, or ride a bike helps provide the body with fresh, oxygen rich blood; removing toxins and reducing aches, pain and numbness in the extremities.
Elevate the Legs
Lying down with your legs raised on a chair or against the wall not only increases circulation, it is also a great way to relax the body. A great technique to use when de-stressing from a long day: elevate your legs and experience the calming benefits of lavender essential oil by diffusing a few drops in an aromatherapy diffuser.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Dietary supplementation with Omega-3 fatty acids can be a great boost to the body; decreasing symptoms of depression, ADHD, even Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. In the circulatory system, omega-3 fatty acids help remove plaque buildup in the arteries, which in turn increases blood flow. Foods rich in Omega-3 oils include cold-water fish, walnuts, and flaxseeds.
Watery and Fiber-Rich Foods
The standard American diet causes a lot of disharmony in the body; there is no way to ignore it. In the circulatory system, highly processed and refined foods can act as sludge in the arteries; inflaming the systems of the body and making it difficult for the heart to deliver blood.
Increasing the amount of fibrous and watery foods in your diet can help the body combat poor circulation. Most watery foods like cucumbers, watermelons, and celery, contain a large number of minerals and electrolytes as well. These help the body eliminate waste and can act as natural diuretics. Urine not only excretes waste; up to four percent of urine is fat. Naturally increasing urination helps to slightly lower fat cells as well.
Garlic has been recommended for its ability to lower bad cholesterol in the body, thus helping to normalize the blood pressure. Recent studies are finding that garlic increases blood flow as well. Researchers in this study suggested that simple garlic supplementation increased resting blood flow between tissues in the body when compared to the tissues of a control group.
Essential Oils for Circulation
Implementing long term changes is key to finding relief from poor circulation. A simple habit to start today is the use of these pure essential oils to increase circulation. Whether used in an aromatherapy diffuser or diluted in carrier oil and applied to the skin; essential oils can provide immediate relief to circulatory issues.
1. Cypress Essential Oil
Cypress essential oil has many impressive uses. In the circulatory system, the essential oil of cypress may help rid the body of toxins thanks to strong antioxidant compounds concentrated during extraction. These compounds act much like omega-3 oils; they reduce unhealthy triglycerides in the tissues of the body, which helps reduce the blood’s transit time. As it is also a diuretic, cypress essential oil can help to flush toxins from the body, reducing the aches and pains associated with poor circulation.
2. Coriander Essential Oil
Used by ancient civilizations to preserve foods; coriander essential oil may actually preserve your healthy body. Used topically, coriander essential oil can be a strong analgesic thanks to a few compounds found within the plant. When inhaled via an aromatherapy diffusor, a recent study found that coriander can lower blood pressure. This is partially due to the oil’s ability to digest fats, keeping the blood thin while also removing plaque from the arteries. The benefits of using coriander essential for circulation also include improved digestion and the oil’s diuretic abilities; which help in the elimination of toxins from the body.
3. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Thanks to the powerful compound Eucalyptol, eucalyptus essential oil is a great vasodilator. As it enters the body, eucalyptus essential oil increases the blood flow by relaxing the blood vessels. These relaxed blood vessels allow the blood to circulate through the body easier. One benefit of this is an increase of oxygen in the brain. In people whose poor circulation makes them tired and fatigued; eucalyptus essential oil is the answer.
4. Black Pepper Essential Oil
This common table spice is actually a potent health booster. The essential oil from black pepper is composed of a large amount of limonene; one of the most common terpenes in nature. This high limonene content may actually help black pepper essential oil dissolve cholesterol in the body. Black pepper essential oil can also stimulate the digestive system, decreasing food transit time and increasing digestive enzymes in the body. This can help reduce the constipation and slow digestion often associated with poor circulation.
5. Ginger Essential Oil
The root and rhizome of the ginger plant have been studied and used for thousands of years. Many of the same unique benefits of ginger are also found in the concentrated version, ginger essential oil. Because Ginger essential oil is often considered a warming oil, it is included in many blends which promote circulation. Indeed when we look at the constituents of ginger essential oil, we find a long list of ingredients which promote that “warming” sensation. Anti-oxidant compounds help the body eliminate wastes; while ginger essential oil can also help reduce inflammation, allowing for easier blood flow to swollen feet. Ginger is commonly added to topical treatments for swollen extremities and sore muscles to promote blood flow and reduce pain.
6. Cumin Essential Oil
Another spice common to India, cumin essential oil may actually help your circulatory system. When it enters the body, compounds in cumin act to reduce the fat in the plasma of the blood. This is an important step in improving circulation to poorly functioning areas of the body. Pure cumin essential oil can also be added to pain relief blends, as compounds in the oil act as mild analgesics.
7. Wintergreen Essential Oil
In a very intriguing study, researchers found that wintergreen essential oil may promote circulation by reducing platelet aggregation in the bloodstream; which is the function of low dose oral aspirin. When researchers compared the two, they found that a topical application of wintergreen was just as effective at reducing platelet aggregation as aspirin. Pure wintergreen essential oil can provide a safe and effective way to protect the heart and promote proper circulation.
Essential Oil Recipe for Blood Circulation
Here is just one of the many ways you can use pure essential oils to promote circulation in the body. The resulting oil is cooling yet invigorating.
- 10 drops cypress essential oil
- 10 drops coriander essential oil
- 10 drops wintergreen essential oil
- 2 ounces coconut oil
- Add ingredients to a 2oz container and mix well. Add to tingling or swollen extremities and rest for 15-30 minutes as needed.
One Last Consideration
There are many oils which promote circulation and help heal the painful symptoms of poor circulation. It is important to note that pure essential oils are strong. For safety’s sake, they should always be diluted before applying to the skin, as allergic reactions can occur. Pay attention to any reactions your body may have to oils when applied on the skin, and should start by applying them to a small area before moving onto a large area of the body. Children and pregnant women should use any essential oil under the guidance of a healthcare practitioner; some compounds are not safe for young children.
The most important thing to consider when purchasing your essential oils is the quality of the product. Always look for pure, undiluted, essential oils with no fillers. Pure oils are not only the most beneficial – they are the safest.
What essential oil recipe do you use to promote circulation? We would love to hear about it in the comments below!