A large percentage of the population suffers silently from numbing of the extremities, specifically the hands and feet. There are many different causes of numbness and in several cases, it can be an indication of a serious problem. However, there are many natural remedies to help increase circulation and assist with coping strategies to alleviate symptoms and even decrease their frequency.
Numbness may or may not be accompanied by pain, tingling, weakness and prickling. Some of the causes of numbness include:
10 Natural Health Remedies
- Nerve damage
- Transverse myelitis
- Injuries affecting the neck or the spinal cord
- Infections like HIV/ AIDS
- Spinal stenosis
- Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy
- Dietary deficiencies
- Peripheral vascular disease
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Diabetic peripheral neuropathy
- Vasculitis or inflammation in the blood vessels
- Celiac disease
- Use of certain medication, especially chemotherapy drugs
- Ulnar nerve compression
- Cervical spondylitis
- Type 2 diabetes
1. EPSOM SALTS
improves blood circulation, protecting the elasticity of arteries, preventing blood clots and reducing the risk of sudden heart attack deaths. It is rich in magnesium sulphate which relax the nerves and muscles and reduces stiffness by encouraging blood flow to problematic areas. A good recipe is 1 cup of Epsom salt, 10 drops of lavender essential oil and 3 large tablespoons of baking soda. Sit for a minimum of 10-15 minutes each treatment.
2. GINGKO BILOBA
Gingko Biloba helps increase the circulation of blood systemically, thereby reducing the problem of numbness. Solid research has been performed on extracts of ginkgo biloba, which contain antioxidant compounds that protect cells from free radical damage within the nervous and circulatory systems. The general dosage is 40 milligrams, 3 times a day. However, consult your doctor before taking ginkgo biloba as it may interfere with certain medications.
Amla powder is powdered indian gooseberry. Revered in Ayurvedic medicine, it’s been used for thousands of years as one of the most potent and nourishing herbs in India. When taken with honey, it purifies the blood and helps increase circulation. Be sure to use food-grade amla and not cosmetic grade. Mix 2 teaspoons of amla powder with 2 teaspoons of honey. Have it 3-4 times in a day for effective results.
Turmeric contains a compound known as curcumin, which helps improve blood flow throughout your body. Powdered turmeric has been used for centuries to treat a host of illnesses. Its anti-inflammatory property helps reduce pain and discomfort in the affected area. You can massage the affected area with a paste prepared with turmeric power and water for a few minutes. If you take supplements, ensure they are high quality. You can also add 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder to a cup of coconut milk. Heat it over a low flame. Add a little honey and drink it once daily to improve circulation.
Cinnamon contains numerous chemicals and nutrients, including manganese and potassium along with many important B vitamins. Its nutritional properties help improve blood flow to your arms and legs, and thus help treat numbness in hands and feet. Experts recommend taking 2 to 4 grams of cinnamon powder daily for good blood circulation.
6. MUSTARD OIL
Mustard oil is a fatty vegetable oil extracted from the mustard seeds. Being a rich source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin E and antioxidants, it is considered as one of the healthiest oils. It has been used in Ayurveda since ancient times due to its healing and medicinal properties and is considered beneficial for hair, skin and body. It has heat producing and rubefacient properties which not only stimulate the blood circulation but also improve the health of the nerves due to its rich content of magnesium. Warm some mustard oil and have someone massage your arms, hands and fingers with it for ten to twenty minutes two or three times daily.
7. VITAMIN B FOODS
To prevent numbness and tingling sensations in your hands and feet, it is essential to eat foods high in B vitamins, especially B6 and B12. These vitamins are essential for healthy nerve functioning and their deficiency can cause numbness in certain body parts like hands, arms, fingers and legs. Include foods high in vitamin B6 and B12 in your diet. Some good choices are eggs, avocados, bananas, beans, fish, oatmeal, cheese, yogurt, nuts, seeds and dried fruits.
8. MAGNESIUM RICH FOODS
Low magnesium level in the body is one of the causes of numbness in hands and feet. Magnesium is one of the most essential minerals required for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It controls nerve impulses, body temperature regulation, detoxification, energy production, and the formation of healthy bones and teeth. Eat magnesium-rich foods like dark green vegetables, nuts, seeds, oatmeal, peanut butter, cold-water fish, avocados, bananas and dark chocolate. You can also take magnesium supplements, 350 mg daily.
Exercise is one of the best ways to get rid of the numbness and restore sensation and movement in the hands and feet. Resistance training is excellent for driving blood to areas that need it most. Stretching can help take pressure off the nerves. Every part of your body can benefit from the increased circulation, movement, and mobility that stretching and overall exercise can help provide.
Whether it be hot, cold or both, different people respond to different types of hydrotherapy and each has their advantage. Cold helps constrict blood vessels allowing them to contract and moving blood away from the area. Heat allows blood vessels to dilate, increasing hyperaemia. Intermittent application of cold then followed by hot allows for subacute flushing and has been found to be extremely helpful to patients with numbing especially in 10-15 minute treatments of 3 minutes of ice and 1 minute of heat repeated at least three times.
Other Helpful Suggestions
- If the numbness in your feet is due to staying in one position for a long time, move around slowly to improve blood circulation.
- Avoid remaining in the same position for long periods, especially when watching TV or working at the computer.
- Avoid caffeine and alcoholic drinks as they can reduce blood circulation.
- Eat more fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables, while avoiding processed and refined foods.
- Drink an ample amount of water throughout the day to prevent dehydration, which can cause poor blood circulation.
- Avoid cigarettes and other tobacco products that can overload the nervous system.
- To prevent numbness in your feet, avoid wearing shoes that do not fit well. High heels or shoes that pinch the toes can cause numbness.
- Lose weight to reduce numbness in your feet and toes.
Dr. Marianna Pochelli is a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine specializing in the treatment of disease through superfoods and herbal strategies. She actively promotes detoxification, colon cleansing, and a vegetarian lifestyle using living foods as a platform to health.