How Ayurvedic Practices Help Improve Blood Circulation: A Quick Guide
It has been mentioned in several writings that movement is the way of life. Whenever anything becomes stagnant, it leads to the finish line. Nature follows this same principle and hence is flourishing each and every day. Rivers keep flowing, trees follow the seasonal changes and grow and shed accordingly, the sun and moon keep rotating and rise and set each day. Our bodies are also constructed in a similar manner. It is imperative for the blood and oxygen in our vessels to circulate regularly and pave the way for a healthy life.
Did you know if you put your blood circulation system end-to-end, it would stretch 66,000 miles? That is 2 ½ times the circumference of the earth. Further, if you stacked all the red blood cells in your body end-to-end, it would stretch 31,000 miles. These were a few facts related to our circulatory system. Read on to find out how exactly it works.
Blood Circulation Process Explained
The concept of circulation was first compiled and explained by William Harvey in 1628. In Ayurveda, this concept has been studied by several sages, but the first complete description of the same was mentioned in Bhela Samhita thousands of years ago. Sage Bhela explains how the heart first pumps the blood (Rakta) out and distributes it throughout the body, and then is returned through the blood vessels (Sirah) with the help of Vyana vayu, the faculty of Vata that aids in normal circulation. This is the reason why practicing Pranayama or respiratory exercises, that aid in maintaining a balanced Vata, helps in maintaining normal circulation and optimal heart health.
Role of the Doshas in Blood Circulation
The primary Dosha concerned with improper blood circulation is vitiated Vata Dosha which is related to unhealthy food choices, stress, and anxiety. The other two Doshas also play an important role in the processes as well. Since blood that flows through our circulatory system is related to Pitta, maintaining optimum levels of Pitta are essential for the normal functioning of a healthy circulatory system. A Pitta aggravating diet, use of excessive alcohol, or emotions such as jealousy, anger lead to its aggravation, that may affect the normal functions of blood and its circulation. Similarly, Kapha dosha is inherently heavy and unctuous in nature and so its vitiation leads to a sluggish circulation and buildup of toxins that can clog arteries.
Common Symptoms of Poor Blood Circulation
- Muscle cramps, tingling and numbness especially in hands and legs
- Cold hands and feet
- Impaired cognitive functions like memory loss and difficulty concentrating
- Digestive issues including cramps
- Pale or bluish discolouration of skin
- Edema or swelling in certain parts of body
If you experience symptoms associated with poor circulation, you should notify your healthcare provider immediately.
Ayurveda has a multifaceted approach to address imbalance in normal circulation and support overall wellness. Keep reading to find out some helpful tips on how to support normal blood circulation and how to improve blood flow.
What Can I Do to Support My Normal Circulation: Ayurveda and Blood Circulation
When you have poor blood circulation, Ayurveda points to an aggravation of the Vata Dosha. The leading cause is poor lifestyle, stress, and diet over a prolonged period. Ayurvedic texts have documented that adjusting your diet and lifestyle can help you maintain your normal blood circulation. Ayurvedic medicines to increase blood circulation, use powerful herbs that promote natural detoxification of the blood and encourage optimum circulation. The only way nourishing nutrients will reach your cells is through blood circulation; any obstruction will have dire consequences.
Ayurvedic Diet for a Healthy Blood Circulation
As a preventive wellness system, Ayurvedic science heavily focuses on the consumption practices of people and aims to address them before venturing into other procedures. Here is a brief list of the foods that help enable healthy blood circulation and help maintain cardiovascular health:
- Onion and Garlic- Onions are rich in antioxidants and garlic increases the production of Hydrogen Sulfide that helps promote healthy blood circulation.
- Ginger and Turmeric- These two spices are given paramount importance in Ayurvedic medicine. Ginger and turmeric are anti-inflammatories, antibacterial and stimulants of vasodilators. Ginger has also been known to help maintain the fluidity of the blood.
- Cayenne Pepper- Cayenne Pepper stimulates the release of various vasodilators like Nitric Oxide that helps normal blood flow in the arteries.
- Walnuts- Due to the Omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts, they are highly beneficial in helping maintain cardiovascular health and aiding blood flow.
- Berries- Rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, berries are helpful in sustaining normal blood pressure. Blueberries, cranberries and strawberries are easily available and can be consumed regularly.
- Fruits and Vegetables- Tomatoes contain lycopene that helps promote healthy circulation. Beetroot and Pomegranate are also used as they are rich in nitrates along with antioxidant properties.
Daily Oil Massages (Abhyanga)
Regular oil massages will help support natural blood flow to the massaged area by maintaining the natural flow in the blood vessels. Additionally, it will help generate warmth and energy. What is great about this practice is that you can self-massage every day for similar effects. Spend about fifteen minutes massaging the affected spot and related pressure point using warm herbal oil. For instance, if the problem is in your hands, you should also massage your shoulders and neck.
If possible, try to get a full body massage at least once a week to help calm your senses and help stimulate good blood circulation.
Other Physical Activities
Movement is essential to help ensure healthy circulation. Hence, it is of paramount importance that you engage in some simple physical activities that help keep your blood flowing and help regulate natural oxygen to your cells.
- Regular Stretches- Daily morning stretches go a long way in ensuring a healthy life. After waking up, If you devote fifteen minutes of your time to physical activities, you will feel fresher and energetic. It would be more advisable to do it twice a day, after bed and before bed. Please ensure that you stretch both parts of your body to balance it.
- Yoga and Pranayama– The life force (Prana) needs to be regulated within the body. Yoga and breathing exercises are helpful in making the blood and oxygen flow smoothly within the arteries. Practice simple yoga postures like the Trikonasana (Triangle pose), Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations), Sarvangasana (Shoulder stand), etc.
- Simple Cardio- Running, jogging, skipping are all simple forms of cardio activities that will also help with your circulation and agility.
Apart from these, Ayurveda also emphasizes the importance of a healthy mind. Take a few minutes out and practice meditation. Choose a quiet spot at any time of the day you prefer. Sit on the floor cross-legged and close your eyes. Start by simple inhale and exhale exercise to help calm you down. Focus on your breathing and reiterate positive affirmations. This will be highly beneficial in helping your emotional health and help you feel refreshed after an exhausting day. Ayurvedic supplements like Kerala Ayurveda Draksharishtam maintain healthy blood and support normal circulation of blood.
Take your first step towards healthy blood circulation and overall wellness of your body with the help of Ayurveda now!