chasing away the chill

by Kate Shapland

One irksome by-product of age, especially for women, is a greater propensity to feel the cold.  Fingers and toes are most susceptible, arising, for most of us, from a reduced circulation and manifesting as a bluish tinge or whiteness and numbness to the tips of both.  Legs and necks feel the chill too, stiffening and feeling evermore tense, which only serves to make the circulation spiral further into shut down mode.

Inactivity, stress, smoking and tiredness all moderate the circulation, so you could say that feeling the cold is as much to with lifestyle as age because so many of us spend our day seated, not to mention taking the short cuts (like jumping in a lift) that save time but do little for our circulation and shape.

The advice then, if you feel tired, sluggish and – despite the extra layers – suddenly drawn like a magnet to the thermostat at this time of year, is to adapt your lifestyle to stimulate and maintain your system.

First, exercise.  Circulation works to the principles of supply and demand: when you move more, blood vessels respond with increased flow, pumping blood faster into arteries and veins, taking oxygen and nutrients to organs like your brain and skin, which is why exercise makes you look and feel better.  You don’t have to be a fitness fiend, you just need to regularly shake up your liver with cardiovascular activity (walking, cycling, swimming) to keep the status quo.  With its circulation up the body detoxifies more readily too, because the lymph, which only moves when you move, shifts waste more efficiently.

In the bathroom, products that stimulate, either by abrading skin (exfoliators) or promoting the lymph (body brushes and loofahs), or contain oils with warming, motivating qualities (ginger, juniper, lemon, rosemary) help.  Don’t underestimate the power of a good massage either.  Elemis’ glorious aroma stone therapy was made for this miserable month: their therapists use warm Basalt stones to release heat slowly into muscles, then massage you with warmed oils.  Book it late in the day, then go straight home and get into bed with a hot toddy.  The circulation-boosting benefits are joyfully far-reaching.

These home remedies will chase away bone-cutting chilliness:

    • Padma Circosan – an excellent Tibetan herbal supplement for easing symptoms of Raynaud’s syndrome (white, tingling fingertips) and minor venous disturbances (aching legs)
    • Eau d’Italie Bath Salts – tip these wonderfully invigorating salts into the bath or rub them directly into your body, then soak in the bath
    • Holistic Silk Rose Massaging Slippers – the soles of these pretty slippers are studded with tiny massaging nodules and magnets to aid the circulation
    • Hoe Hin White Flower Embrocation – a very powerful muscle tonic and body warmer: add a drop (no more) to body lotion or bath and breathe in deeply