Have you ever experienced aching and numbing muscles that last for a long time? Is it painful to walk? Do you experience pins and needles sensations on your skin? If so, you may have poor circulation. Poor circulation occurs when something interferes with your body’s complex, far-reaching circulatory system that delivers blood, oxygen, and nutrients
If you have poor circulation in your legs, you know how painful and uncomfortable it can be. As a matter of fact, millions of Americans suffer from this hereditary condition that can cause pain, swelling, cramps, and fatigue.
A serious condition like this can significantly impact your health and quality of life. The purpose of this article is for you to be aware of the signs of poor circulation, what steps you can take to improve it, and to examine whether massage can actually improve blood circulation.
What are the signs of poor circulation?
Healthy circulation is key for maintaining optimal health and is vital to the effective function of your body. It ensures that blood, oxygen, and much-needed nutrients continuously flow throughout the body, allowing every organ to function properly.
If blood flow slows to a particular part of a person’s body, they may experience symptoms of poor circulation. These symptoms mainly occur in the arms or legs but can affect other body parts.
The most common symptoms of poor circulation include:
- Painful muscle cramps
- Numbness, weakness, and swelling
- Pins and needles sensation on your skin
- Exhaustion and feeling of cold
- Throbbing of stinging pain in your limbs
- Skin color or hydration changes
- Erectile dysfunction in males
- Cognitive issues
Underlying conditions that may reduce circulation
It is possible to have poor circulation in your legs and feet due to many factors. Some of these include:
According to medlineplus.gov Raynaud’s disease is a rare blood vessel disorder, that usually affects the fingers and toes. It causes the blood vessels to narrow when you are cold or feeling stressed.
When this happens, the blood can’t get to the surface of the skin a result of which the affected areas will turn white and blue. When the blood flow returns, the skin turns red and throbs or tingles. In severe cases, loss of blood flow can cause sores or tissue death.
- fingers or toes turning white or blue
- cold extremities
- burning sensation
Depending on the severity of the case, these symptoms can last for a few minutes or several hours.
A cure for Raynaud’s is not available, but it may still be possible to reduce its symptoms and possibly even reduce the frequency of attacks with the help of medical treatments, lifestyle changes, or massages such as a leg massager that stimulate massages and increases blood flow, in addition to reducing tension and stress.
This condition results in the blueness of the extremities. It can be anything from toes turning blue to hands turning blue. According to WebMD, Acrocyanosis is caused by narrowing or small arterioles (tiny arteries) toward the end of the arms and legs. It may also include the nose and ears.
The most common symptoms are:
- bluish-colored fingers or toes
- cold, clammy, and sweaty hands and feet
- lower skin temperatures and blood flow
- swelling of hands and feet
- a “normal” pulse
Acrocyanosis is quite similar to Raynaud’s but it is much less than Raynaud’s Disease. In order to treat Acrocyanosis, it is necessary to identify and correct the underlying cause in order to restore oxygenated blood flow to the affected body parts. This includes off-label medications that can help relax the blood vessels such as:
Acrocyanosis is most often caused by cold weather so once your body warms up through warm water or a good massager with heat your blue hands or feet should return to their normal color.
Despite this, it is possible that the discoloration is caused by a condition underlying the skin. In this case, you should seek medical attention immediately to get the proper diagnosis and treatment.
Many healthcare professionals consider diabetes to be at epidemic levels in the U.S. According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 30 million Americans suffer from diabetes, which adversely affects their health.
If a person has diabetes, they are at risk of damaging their blood vessels. Some medical professionals refer to this condition as diabetic vascular disease.
Managing diabetes can prevent this kind of problem. Along with medication, lifestyle changes, and self-care is required to maintain a great quality of life for people with diabetes. Integrating massage therapy, especially for your legs can provide a relaxing escape away from painful symptoms through increased of blood flow.
When a person’s blood pressure is too high, it can cause arteriosclerosis. In this condition, arteries harden and blood is unable to easily move through them. As a result of this condition, atherosclerosis can develop, which can cause heart disease, strokes, and problems with circulation.
A person with arteriosclerosis may not display any symptoms at all, while others may develop symptoms such as:
- shortness of breath
- irregular heartbeat
- pressure in the chest
- breathing problems
Treatment of arteriosclerosis includes medication, balance exercise with rest, massage, eating a healthy diet, and stopping smoking.
How can you improve circulation?
Upon knowing the common symptoms of poor circulation and the underlying conditions that cause reduced circulation, what can you do to boost circulation?
There are several things that you can do to keep your blood pumping.
One of these is a good massage. Although massage is thought to be an extremely beneficial tool for relaxation, pain relief, and easing muscle tension. What most people don’t know and that health and wellness experts have discovered that massage therapy actually improves circulation in the body.
Clinical experts have conducted a study wherein healthy adults were asked to exercise their legs to soreness using a standard leg press machine. Half of the respondents received leg massages using traditional Swedish massage techniques after the exercise. They were then asked to rate their level of soreness on a scale from 1 to 10. As expected, both groups experienced soreness immediately after exercise while the exercise and massage group reported no continuing soreness 90 minutes after massage therapy while the exercise-only group reported lasting soreness 24 hours after exercise.
When it comes to circulation, what most people don’t realize is that circulation starts in our feet and legs. That’s why it’s so important to have a good leg massager. A leg massager can help improve circulation by stimulating the muscles in your legs. This helps to increase blood flow and reduce any pain or discomfort you may be feeling in your legs.
Based on this study, it is believed that massage therapy improves overall circulation in a very beneficial way especially if accompanied by the following:
- Increased cardiovascular exercise like running, biking, or walking. The same goes for stretching before and after exercising.
- Decrease stress. This can be done through enjoyable massage therapy like a leg massager, meditation, or yoga
- Use compression leg machines and elevate your legs. Elevating your legs will help move blood to the other body while air compression machines put pressure on your feet to help blood vessels push blood through the body up to your heart.
- If you smoke, quit. Smoking can inhibit blood flow, destroy blood vessel walls, and cause plaque to accumulate in the veins.
- Drink black or green tea. “The antioxidants in these drinks help to increase the width of the blood vessels so that your body can pump blood more easily,” says Dr. Moghaddam.
- Include more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. “Fish like tuna, salmon, and sardines can help improve blood flow and are excellent for heart health,” says Dr. Moghaddam. Try eating them two to three times per week.