Chilly Fingers and Chilblains - what to do to help yourself


Our new house has cold floors and the weather has rarely made it above freezing for the last few weeks. When a couple of my toes started to hurt and look a little pink, I couldn't think what I'd done to them - until I remembered the friends of my youth, chilblains! As a teenager I lived in a large flint stone victorian building, heated only by stoves. I wasn't a fan of sensible clothing in those days and so every year at some point, my feet would start to smart and burn and then itch when my feet eventually got warm in bed at the end of the day.

Chilblains occur when your feet have been very cold for a period and then suddenly get warm again - or just never really thaw out! They tend to affect those with poor circulation or low blood pressure. If you know you have a tendency to get them, here are a few tips to help your feet stay pinkly snug and comfortable through the cold months ahead.

Foot Baths
Either first thing in the morning, or in the evening, soak your feet in some warm water with a few drops of olive or almond oil added and then rub them dry vigorously with a towel. This gets the blood flowing to your feet.

Warming Oil Blend
Whilst your feet are still warm from the bath/footbath, massage this oil blend into your feet - make it up in your hand to avoid it going stale.
1 capful vegetable oil (olive, avocado, almond, peach kernel, rapeseed)
4 drops ginger essential oil
2 drops black pepper essential oil
Wash your hands very well afterwards to avoid getting any of the essential oils in your eyes.

Thick Socks
After the oil blend, pull on a pair of thick walking socks, or get some thermal socks that will fit inside your shoes. This will prevent your feet from losing heat and keep the circulation going.

Move Around
Don't sit still or stand still for too long as blood flow to your feet will stagnate. Wiggle your toes and do some high stepping or jog on the spot until you feel a little flush of warmth. Going up and down stairs a few times is good too. Anything to keep your blood flowing.

Support Your Veins
The nutrient Rutin tones and supports vein walls, so it's good to increase your intake of this if you're prone to poor circulation or chilblains. You can take it as a supplement, or eat more buckwheat (makes great pancakes), citrus zest, unpeeled apples (it's in the peel), brocolli and onions. To combat the inflammation, make sure you are getting adequate vitamin C and increase your intake of omega 3 rich foods such as oily fish, walnuts, dark green leaves and use raw cold pressed rapeseed oil in preference to olive oil on your salads.

If anyone else has any tips - please leave them in the comments.

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