Stretches to Increase Circulation

Can stretching improve circulation?

At Bendable Body we look at all aspects of health from the standpoint of fascia health. Our primary objective is to locate the dense, unhealthy fascia in the body, identify the muscle group where that unhealthy fascia is residing, identify the primary meridian that traverses that muscle group and then do stretches using resistance to improve the health of the fascia in that area. 

Keeping all of this in mind, when if comes to the cause of poor circulation there are 3 meridian, muscle groups where we find the the densest fascia. The first is in the chest and bicep muscles where the pericardium meridian traverses and also where the heart meridian traverses. The third is in the neck and shoulders where the large intestine meridian traverses.

The pericardium organ is responsible for shunting blood to the extremities. So in particular cold hands, feet, fingers, toes and any issues with the circulation to the genitals will be improved when the pericardium muscle group is stretched and the unhealthy fascia removed. 

The heart is responsible for pumping blood away from the heart (arterial blood flow) where as the large intestine is responsible for pumping blood to the heart (venous blood flow). So stretching the muscle groups associated with these 2 meridians and organs and improving the health of the surrounding fascia will also be important to increase blood flow throughout the body. 

In addition to improving circulation in the body through the above 3 meridian muscle groups listed, you can also improve circulation in the arms by doing the stretches associated with the primary meridians that run through the arms. The same thing applies to the legs, torso, face, and also to any specific organ in the body. For example, if you want to improve circulation to the liver organ, do liver stretches for the inner thighs where the liver meridian traverses. 

How to improve circulation quickly?

If you are looking for an exercise to help improve circulation or what to do in general to improve circulation, the Bendable Body Method is amazing because our stretches target physiological functions. So in addition to getting a stronger, more flexible, pain-free body... you can improve your overall health. Stretching isn't just a warm up component to exercising. That is an outdated view. Resistance stretching is a replacement for both cardio and weight training. In addition to this it makes you truly flexible, gives you a body that works better than perhaps the one you were born with and it improves your health holistically. It's all because of the way resistance stretching targets fascia and the role fascia plays in your body. 

Let's learn stretches to increase the blood flow to different areas of the body. For each of the stretches listed below, try to do 3 sets of 6-10 repetitions daily as a starting point. When the goal is to improve physiology like circulation, many repetitions can be necessary. 

Try this stretch to increase blood flow to the hands, feet, wrists, ankles, fingers, toes, & genitals: 

Stretch for the Chest / Biceps - Pericardium Muscle Group

  • Start Position: Seated on the ground with hands by hips, fingers pointed toward toes, gentle bend in elbows and shoulders rotated inward.
  • Resistance: Press hands into the ground and rotate them outward without moving them.
  • Lengthening: Lift hips and open chest.
  • Return and Repeat: Let the resistance go and return to the start position

Try to do 3 sets of 6-10 repetitions daily as a starting point.

Try this stretch to increase arterial blood flow: 

Stretch for the Chest / Biceps - Heart Muscle Group

  • Start Position: Place hands on wall at shoulder height.
  • Resistance: Press hands into the wall and downward. 
  • Lengthening: Move hips away from the wall and lower chest.
  • Return and Repeat: Release the resistance and return to the start position.

Try to do 3 sets of 6-10 repetitions daily as a starting point.

Try this stretch to increase venous blood flow: 

Stretch for the Top of Shoulders and Neck - Large Intestine Muscle Group

  • Start Position: Put the target arm at a right angle and cup the helping hand around the elbow. 
  • Resistance: Press the target arm toward the back of the body.
  • Lengthening: Use the helping hand to pull the target arm to center against resistance. 
  • Return and Repeat: Release all the resistance and return the to the start position. 

Try to do 3 sets of 6-10 repetitions daily as a starting point.

Try these stretches to increase blood flow to the arms:

Stretch for the Upper Back / Triceps - Skin Muscle Group

  • Start Position: Get into a bridge position with a neutral back and gentle bend in the elbows. 
  • Resistance: Press the hands down, back and out to the sides to create resistance.
  • Lengthening: Sit the hips back on the heals. 
  • Return and Repeat: Release the resistance and return to the start position. 

Try to do 3 sets of 6-10 repetitions daily as a starting point.

Stretch for the Upper Back / Triceps - Thymus Muscle Group

  • Start Position: lift the target arm upward while keeping a gentle bend in the elbow and put the helping hand on top of the target wrist or forearm. 
  • Resistance: Keep pressing the target arm upward. 
  • Lengthening: Use the helping hand to lower the target arm downward against resistance. 
  • Return and Repeat: Release the resistance and return to the start position. 

Try to do 3 sets of 6-10 repetitions daily as a starting point.

Try these stretches to increase blood flow to the legs:

Stretch for the Central Hamstring - Brain Muscle Group

  • Start Position: Get into a lunge position with the target leg froward. 
  • Resistance: Press the heel of the target leg into the ground. 
  • Lengthening: Sit the hips back while continuing to resist.
  • Return and Repeat: Release the resistance and return to the start position. 

Try to do 3 sets of 6-10 repetitions daily as a starting point.

Stretch for the Quadriceps - Stomach Muscle Group

  • Start Position: Extend both legs in the air and place the ankle of the helper leg on the shin of the target leg.
  • Resistance: Press the target leg upward as if unbending the knee. 
  • Lengthening: Use the helper foot the fold the target leg at the knee while resisting the movement. 
  • Return and Repeat: Release the resistance and return to the start position. 

Try to do 3 sets of 6-10 repetitions daily as a starting point.

14 thoughts on “Stretches to Increase Circulation”

  1. This is wonderful content just wish it was a video to ensure I am doing it correctly. Thanks much if possible can you provide an upcoming training(s) schedule with pricing?

    Be well!

    1. Hi Nancy, We have many videos – if you go through some of our blog posts, most have videos. A great place to look at what we have available is here: https://bendablebody.com/pricing-schedule/

  2. Love this one, I have suffered for years with cold hands and feet, thyroid issues, and has helped immensely! Thank you I am trying to add the three sets to my daily practice now. I had to stop for three weeks, family emergency and my parents have no internet, I barely have a phone signal and I saw the difference of how I felt, I did some of the exercises I remembered but the sequence helps even more. Missed doing my routines.

    1. That is so great that you’ve gotten good results! When you don’t have internet – doing what you did – the stretches that you like or remember – is great! You will still get a result.

  3. Hi! Do you have stretches for achille problem? I am doing the hamstring stretches but i sill have the pain on my left achille. I had 3 glucose injections which are helping but the pain is still there. I am getting to play tennis in a month or so. I could use some help before I start playing.
    Thank you!
    Marise
    Barrie, ON, Canada

    1. The most important stretch is for the brain meridian. The central hamstring. Perhaps focus on that one for now. You also have to be really sure you are resisting sufficiently and doing enough reps.

    1. Hi Grace! It can. It’s because we are stretching fascia and the meridian system or ‘channels’ that acupuncture needles are put into, reside in fascia. So when the fascia is healthier acupuncture is better received. All of our stretches align with a particular meridian. So you can get similar affects from stretching that you get from acupuncture.

  4. Thanks Sita for recent response!! Question: how can facia feel no pain when it has more nerves in it then whole nervous system as I real on ur blog a while back.
    Grace Hoatson

  5. Can you do stretches for elbow pain when X-rays show some bone spurs? My husband says he feels some clicking there.
    Thank you for response.
    Grace

    1. Hi Grace, you absolutely can but the key is the resistance and short range. He should start the stretch in a less extreme range and end it in a short range – to avoid the point where the click shows up.

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