What and Why?
Your main blood vessels, conspicuous though they are on anatomical charts, are only the means for refreshing your blood and getting it back to the business end of your circulation as quickly as possible. That is the massive network of microscopically fine capillaries, many of them only just big enough to admit a blood cell, distributed inconspicuously through every tissue you possess. They are not permanent but grow and expire with the tissue. Some are renewed every few weeks, most within months; in two years none will remain of those you have now.
This means that the layout, size and nervous regulation mechanism of your blood capillaries are determined in part by the physical conditions in your body at the time they are growing. If your body is clean and well supplied you recreate perfectly the blueprint of every part, though the exact layout varies at random — just like the twigs and branches of a tree, which manage even so to perpetuate its characteristic form overall.
You can even adapt constructively to your circumstances, such as prolonged periods in the open air. But when you are out of order you cannot manage any of this perfectly and lay down instead a generation of inadequate capillaries which function unreliably.
This is how your complexion can so faithfully reflect your general health and customary circumstances. But the way your circulation works has other implications too. Muscles congested chronically with waste acids are served sluggishly with blood, and much more prone to rheumatism in consequence. Cramp, for instance, is caused by temporary failure of your muscle release mechanism under stress of some kind. This arises in a sluggish circulation which may also be insufficiently supplied with the minerals that enable your muscles to work properly.
Chilblains are a more prolonged and complicated local disturbance of your whole skin, not just of the blood vessels there. Its reaction to cold includes inappropriate release of histamine and weakly resembles allergy.
Cold urticaria is a more violent and widespread version of the same thing, which produces intense itching and redness in parts of the body exposed to cold, even briefly. Mercifully this is much less common than ordinary chilblains, but is much harder to get rid of.
What can I do?
Advice to maintain and maximise your health
1. To check that your circulation is healthy, press the tip of your big toe firmly for a few seconds and watch how long it takes to flush pink again after you let go. Anything over two seconds suggests deficiency.
2. Maintain the diet for health to give your blood vessels a chance to correct themselves.
3. Make regular full use of your circulation in sustained physical exercise. Ten minutes of moderately hard work three times a week is all you need to keep it reasonably healthy.
4. Smoking narrows your blood vessels chronically. If your legs are getting cold and painful, stop it urgently.
5. Unaccountable coldness can cause poor circulation or else result from it. Follow the advice given in Always Cold.
6. Intermittent circulation problems respond well to contrast bathing. Immerse your whole body (or the affected part) in hot water for three minutes, then in cool or cold for thirty seconds; repeat this for up to three cycles, finishing with cold. You will glow and feel larger than life for a couple of hours afterwards and easily get warm in bed. What is more the benefits accumulate if you repeat this regularly, every day if need be.
7. A tendency to cramp usually responds to daily mineral supplements. Kelp is cheap, but if two a day for a month at a time are ineffective try a more carefully formulated preparation such as a food-state Multimineral, which can be taken indefinitely. Brewer’s Yeast may also be worthwhile: if so, the effect is quickly obvious.
8. Chilblains often improve dramatically with Tamus Ointment, or homoeopathic Tamus Communis
9. Supplementation: Nicotinamide supplements (50mg once or twice daily) may be helpful and will not make you blush in the way Nicotinic Acid does. Add Vitamin E (200IU twice daily) if you do not seem to benefit from the less expensive items alone. After the chilblains have gone tone up the affected limb with contrast baths, but make the cold phase only tepid to start with. Correct your diet and exercise regularly if you don’t already.
10. Consult a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine if after all this you are still in trouble, and your doctor can find nothing wrong that he can help you with.