Alternative Treatments for Varicose Veins

Conventional treatment for Varicose veins usually surgery or stocking. However, there are also other methods of treating Varicose Veins, as well as the root cause, such as nutrition, improvement of circulation and other natural therapies.

Varicose veins are the enlargement of the superficial veins in the legs. The exact causes are unknown, but it is due to the weakness of the vein walls.[1] As the veins enlarge and become longer and wider. The increase in width makes the valve cusps less efficient in pumping the blood back up into the circulation. The blood then sits in the veins making then even more enlarged.

 Varicose veins may also be painful and make the legs feel tired. There is usually more pain when the veins are stretching than when they are fully stretched.

 The main causes of varicose veins are prolonged standing, overweight, poor nutrition and lack of exercise. Varicose veins are usually caused by a combination of these factors, and it results in poor circulation.


 Conventional treatment for varicose veins

Orthodox treatment provides no cure for varicose veins[1]. Treatment is aimed at improving appearance, and reducing pain and other symptoms.

Varicose veins can be surgically removed, but this does not prevent more varicose veins from developing. Elastic stocking prevent the veins from stretching, but, yet again they do not solve the underlying cause (which is weak walls of the blood vessels).

Sclerotherapy (Injection therapy) is done to seal the vein so that the blood cannot flow through them. The solution that is injected into the vein irritates the vein and causes a thrombus (a blood clot) in the vein. Apparently this treatment is a harmless kind of superficial thrombophebitis. The scar tissue left behind blocks the vein. The thrombus may also dissolve so that no scar tissue is formed, and then the varicose vein reopens.

 Laser therapy may also be done, though it is still in experimental stages. This is where a highly focused continuous stream of high strength light is used to cut or destroy tissue.    

 Elevating the legs improves the pain and blood flow, however, it does not solve the underlying cause of the problem (weak walls of the veins).

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 Natural alternatives

Essential oils are helpful for the treatment of varicose veins. There are quite a few essential oils that help improve the functioning of the circulatory system. The main ones include cypress, lavender, geranium, lemon, juniper, peppermint and rosemary. These oils can be added to a base oil and added to a bath or gently rubbed onto the affected area. The area above the varicose veins can be massaged, but never the area below. Consult a health practitioner who is familiar with essential oils.

essential-oils

There are also homeopathic remedies and herbs that can be taken to treat the underlying causes of varicose veins.

Biochemical tissue salts can also be used to help strengthen the blood vessel walls. These include:

No1 (Calcium Fluoride) – elasticity;

No5 (Kalium Muriaticum) – Blood cleanser;

No 8 (Magnesium phosphate) – antispasmodic and pain reliever;

No 10 (Natrium Phosphoricum) – lowers acidity and inflammation;

No 12 (Silicea) – Initiates healing processes and toxin eliminator.

The properties of the tissue salts are vast. Tissue salts, like essential oils and most other natural therapies, have a number of different constitutions / properties. It may not be necessary to use many of the tissue salts (though it won’t do any harm if you do).   

Nutrition is also vital to the health of the circulatory system and veins.  It is advised that you eat foods high in:

  • Rutin (rutoside) which strengthens capillaries and improves circulation. It is also an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant. It is found in: buckwheat; apples; figs; berries; asparagus Rooibos tea; elderflower tea

  • Foods that are important to keep blood vessels healthy include: melons, pomegranates and rye – which keep blood vessels supple; lettuce, seeds and sprouts– strengthens heart and blood vessels

  • Most fruit and vegetables – especially peppers, tomatoes and those high in colour. They are high in antioxidants and therefore fight free radical damage.

  • Foods high in vitamin C – citrus fruits, peppers, green leafy vegetables, parsley, papaya, mangoes and radishes

  • Foods high in vitamin E – sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, pecans, olive oil, butter, spinach, oatmeal, brown rice

  • Food that improve circulation

(NB: They way you prepare food is effects the value of the food)

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Incorporate moderate exercise into your lifestyle to improve circulation and venous return. Recommended exercises are yoga, swimming, walking and stretching exercises. Exercises that involve repeated impact such as jogging and aerobics are not recommended.  

Breathing is also very important to ensure optimal oxygen flow. Many people do not breathe correctly and it decreases circulation

Reflexology and treatment of varicose veins

In essence reflexology helps the body to balance and heal itself, therefore benefiting all conditions. Reflexology helps to improve circulation, and therefore may assist in the removal of the stagnate blood in the varicose veins. It helps the underlying cause instead of just eliminating the symptoms.

 Conclusion

Even though there is treatment for varicose veins, the underlying causes must be addressed. The vein walls need to be made stronger to prevent further damage and potentially repair damage already done.  The focus should be on strengthening the walls of the veins and the health of the heart and circulatory system. The above treatments for varicose veins will vary from one person to another. A combination of the therapies will probably work best.


 [1] Merck Manual, pg 213

 Sources:

  • ANON. Healwithfood.org. 6 Foods and Drinks That Contains Rutin in significant amounts. [Online]. Available: http://www.healwithfood.org/foods-that-contain/rutin.php. (2015/10/09)

  • MD, Beers, MH. The Merck Manual of Medical information. 2004. Second Edition. Pocket Books: Sidney. Pages 213 – 214

  • Curtis, S. Thomas, P. Vilinac, D. (2013).Healing Foods: Eat your way to a healthier life. Dorling Kindersley Limited: New York.

  • Davis, P. (1997) Aromatherapy An A – Z. The C.W. Daniel Company Limited: United Kingdom. Pages 326 – 327

  • Roberts, M. (2004). Tissue Salts for Healthy living. Spearhead: Kenilworth.

  • Schoenfeld, E. (2009) Second Chance. Regain your health with tissue salts. Graysonian Press: South Africa

     

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