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ASK DR. MAO:

Question: I notice that my hands and feet are usually much colder than the rest of my body. In which ways can I improve my circulation, perhaps even thin my blood?

Answer: Your situation may not be as directly related to the viscosity of your blood as the state of your vital Qi (Chi). You may also have blood deficiency, such as anemia. I would first check to ensure that you are not suffering from anemia. Once you have ruled that out, check to ensure you are not suffering from a more severe pathology called Raynauds syndrome.

From a traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, your hands and feet may feel cold due to stagnation of Qi in the middle of your body, preventing the vital substances, including blood, to flow to the extremities to warm them. I suggest you take up Tai Chi or Qi Gong exercises. These are great martial art forms that help with the body’s internal circulation and cultivation of Qi. From a dietary perspective, I suggest you incorporate more pungent moving foods such as tangerines, tangerine peel, Chinese chives, lettuce, hawthorn berries, black pepper and cardamon seeds. Try this remedy: peel tangerines, dry the peel, and then use the dried peel to make tea.

Question: What are some signs that I should seek professional counseling with depression?

Answer: Chronic depression is a very debilitating and dangerous condition often leading to long-term health problems as well. Seek assistance if you have thoughts of injuring yourself, feel a lack of self-worth, are unwilling to engage in social situations or have an inability or unwillingness to participate in daily life activities. Often, a mild depression goes undiagnosed and leads to long-term health problems. If you feel uncomfortable with allopathic physicians, there are natural remedies, dietary aids and exercise programs that can help you regain your confidence and break the depressive state.

Question: What do you recommend I do to lower my high blood pressure?

Answer: For high blood pressure, I recommend ingesting hawthorn berries, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, chrysanthemum and cassia seeds. Try these remedies:

1. Boil tea from chrysanthemum flowers, hawthorn barriers and cassia seeds. Drink regularly three times per day.

2. Take garlic oil capsules to clean out the arteries; capsules are better because they will not over-stimulate the taste buds or digestive tract.

If you have a question for Dr. Mao, email him at www.askdrmao.com. Put SM Mirror in the subject line.

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