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Acupressure, Good Diet and Exercise Can Help Varicose Veins
Many people develop ropy, bulging and sometimes painful veins in their legs, called varicose veins. Most people think they just have to live with them, but Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Acupuncture practitioners suggest various ways to help reduce the severity.
The word “varicose” means abnormally swollen or knotted, and that’s how the affected veins can appear. A smaller version of the bulging blue veins is called spider veins, where webs of tiny blood vessels are visible near the surface of the skin.
Varicose veins are the result of faulty valves within the veins that help transport the blood from the limbs back to the heart. Blood pools in these areas, the veins swell and become visible. They can range from merely unsightly to painful, but if they cause severe pain, or if there are lumps around the veins or any bleeding, it’s time to see your health professional.
Varicose veins are more common in women than men, and can be hereditary or related to pregnancy, obesity, menopause, prolonged standing, or straining associated with chronic constipation.
In the Chinese medical tradition, the spleen network of the digestive system plays a causative role. Strengthening the spleen network, supporting healthy digestive function, toning the muscles and activating movement of blood and energy are key treatments. Acupuncture, acupressure and massage can stimulate blood circulation and target certain veins. Herbal remedies, both topical and oral, help reduce swelling and discoloration.
Maoshing Ni, L.Ac., D.O.M., Ph.D., writing in Acupuncture.com, says Acupuncture with electrical stimulation along the vein helps restore valve function. But the doctor also suggests that anyone can try acupressure to help themselves.
“To help yourself,” the doctor says, “find the acupoint, Foot Three Mile (St 36), located four finger-widths below the kneecap on the right leg. Apply moderate pressure with your thumb until you feel soreness. Hold for 5 minutes. Repeat on the left leg.
“Find the acupoint, Three Yin Crossing (Sp 6), located four finger-widths above the inner anklebone, in the depression near the bone, on the right leg. Apply steady pressure with your thumb until you feel soreness. Hold for 3 minutes. Repeat on the left leg.”
Herbal healing could include massaging witch hazel cream twice a day into the affected area, horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) in capsules up to 600mg a day, hawthorn berry tea three times a day, and grapeseed extract for its rich store of bioflavonoids called procyanidolic oligomers (PCOs).
The doctor also recommends lower-leg exercises, like swimming and biking (stationary bikes work) for 30 minutes a day, and a morning stretching program.
A qualified Acupuncture specialist will help you fine-tune the therapy.
SOURCES: Acupuncture.com, August 2010, Varicose Veins-Natural Secrets for Restoring Beauty, http://www.acupuncture.com/newsletters/m_aug10/varicoseveins.htm.