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How to Improve Circulation in Your Feet

Use techniques like yoga, self-massage and grounding to reduce swelling and alleviate discomfort after sitting for long periods of time.



After my last long-distance flight, I noticed my feet were swollen, stiff and uncomfortable. According to the Mayo Clinic, sitting for long periods of time causes the blood to pool in the leg veins. Swelling can also happen after a long day of driving or sitting at a desk. Additionally, higher altitude, warmer temperatures and diet — especially salty foods — can impact water retention.


What are ways to reduce swelling in the feet?


When I know I’ll be sitting for hours, I use the techniques from this video to increase blood flow and drain fluids. I’ve noticed my feet feel less like lead balloons and more mobile when I take the time to incorporate these methods before, during and after my journey.



Foot-focused yoga poses: Simple movements like pointing and flexing your feet, moving your ankles in circles, lifting and lowering your heels and toes, and spreading your toes can reduce swelling. Toe spreading also helps relieve bunion pain. Once you have moved your joints, get comfortable and find stillness with legs-up-the-wall pose (viparita karani). This is one of my favorite yoga poses to improve blood flow and circulation.


Self-massage: Yoga Tune Up, tennis or lacrosse balls can help release tension in your feet and get your blood flowing. You can roll a ball back and forth or side to side underneath each foot, pausing when you find a sensitive area and applying pressure. If you don’t have access to a ball, you can use your hands.


Get outside and ground: Remove your shoes and stand barefoot on grass or sand. Scrunch and relax your toes. Walk around slowly, feeling your heel, mid-foot and toes gently strike the ground. This practice also helps reset your circadian rhythm and boost your body’s natural defenses. You can read more about grounding here.


Along with these techniques, I also recommend using compression socks while traveling and staying hydrated. Do you have other strategies you use? Share them in the comments below. If you found these recommendations helpful, make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel.


With gratitude,

Shannon

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