What Are Varicose Veins and Why It Matters
In order to effectively use natural remedies for varicose veins, you first need to fully understand what varicose veins are and what causes them.
Varicose veins are dark blue or purple gnarly masses seen just beneath the skin. What you are actually seeing is the pooling of old blood that did not make it back to the heart.
A weakened heart beat and weakened or damaged veins can both cause varicose veins.
Weakened veins are most often caused by normally elastic vein walls becoming brittle, like an old rubber band.
When this occurs, the veins do not expand as they should and this causes leakage around the vein values that normally prevent the back flow of blood as it is carried back the heart.
When this happens, blood will pool and fluid will accumalate as it seeps out of the veins. This can happen anywhere in the body but it is usually most pronounced in the lower legs and feet due to gravity.
Weight gain and pregnancy can make the problem worse. Type 2 diabetes can also lead to weakened vein walls and vein pump valves.
Why Should You Heal Your Varicose Veins
Varicoses veins aren’t just unsightly. If you do not treat them, they can lead to ongoing health issues, including some that are very serious.
Many people who suffer with varicose veins experience a constant “heaviness” or soreness in their legs. This constant discomfort can interfere with the most basic daily tasks, including work and parenthood.
It can also make life a lot less enjoyable. Many people don’t realize this but hemorrhoids are just varicose veins in the anal region!
Varicose veins can also lead to thrombophlebitis, where the pooled blood becomes infected. This is a very serious condition because the infected clot can break off and travel to the brain or heart causing death!
Varicose veins at the surface of the skin is often a sign of a blood clot in a deeper vein too. This condition is called deep vein thrombosis and can also lead to death.
Foot Pump Exercises
Foot pump exercises are one of the very best natural remedies for varicose veins! These exercises are extremely simple to do and get your foot moving like it would if you were using a foot pump to blow up an air mattress or pumping the gas pedal in your vehicle.
As you make this simple movement, the circulation in your legs and feet will improve.
It will also help to strengthen the walls of your veins. Both of these effects will prevent the pooling of blood and fluid that cause varicose veins.
You can do foot pump exercises from a standing position, sitting position, or when lying in bed. From a standing position, slowly rise up on your “tip toes” as if you are trying to peak over a tall fence and then come back down again.
Repeat this motion at least ten times. You can do the same in a sitting position by raising your heels off the floor when your feet are flat on the floor. You can also hold your foot in the air and make the same motion.
Alternately, you can raise your foot off the ground and move your ankle in a circular motion, first clockwise and then counterclockwise. When you first wake up and before you go to sleep, it is a good idea to get in the habit of doing foot pump exercises while in bed if you have varicose vein problems.
Simply raise your foot off the mattress and either pump your foot forward and back or in a circular motion, the same as you did while standing or sitting.
Leg Exercises In Bed
These are easy exercises you can add to your foot pump exercises in bed to increase your circulation and strengthen the walls of your veins. Slowly raise each leg into the air, hold it there for 2-3 seconds, and then put it back down.
Repeat at least ten times for each leg. You can also add a circular motion at your hip while your leg is raised for an even greater benefit.
Another variation is to add knee bends while your leg is raised in the air. To do these, simply bend your knee all the way down to the point your heel touches your thigh and then back up again.
Walk Every Day Or Use a Treadmill
Human beings were not designed to sit or stand in one spot all day. We are designed to be upright and moving around when we are awake.
Remember, we evolved as a hunting and gathering species! However, in modern society most people do not move around enough and it affects our health, including the formation of varicose veins.
Taking a 15-30 minute walk every day can go a long way toward improving your overall health and reducing your varicose veins.
Lose Weight and Reward Yourself
If you are overweight, simply losing five to ten percent of your body weight can greatly reduce the pressure put on your pumping heart and on your vein valves. Instead of paying dearly for an herbal remedy or a prescription medication, this will cost you nothing.
In fact, it can even save you some money if you cut out snack foods and unhealthy processed foods as as both are very expensive. Instead, take the money you save and put it in a special jar to save toward a vacation or another reward for yourself!
You can get high quality compression stockings over the counter from a good drug store or from online medical supply site. When you wear these, they put gentle pressure on your legs which reduces the blood and fluid pooling in your leg.
You may need to try different brands before you find one that feels good to you as everyone is shaped differently. Some people report that compressing stockings feel like someone is giving them a nice massage as they walk!
Herbs That Can Help
There are two herbs widely used in Europe to treat varicose veins. These are horse chestnut and grape seed extract.
Horse chestnut contains a chemical called escin which has been found to strengthen vein walls. One 1996 research study, published in the prestigious medical journal “Lancet,” showed that the administration of horse chestnut was as effective as compression stockings at reducing leg swelling due to chronic venous insufficiency, which often accompanies varicose veins.
Grape seed extract contains antioxidants that improve the elasticity of veins and make them less porous for fluid leakage.
Foot pump exercises will cost you nothing and will take only a few minutes of your time. You can also do them from practically anywhere. You can easily do them while at work, standing in line at the grocery store, or from a small hotel room while you are travelling!
If you are at high risk to develop varicose veins, such as you have a sedentary job or you drive long distances, it is very important that you take a few moments to do foot pump, leg exercises and walk each day.
A short walk at lunchtime ending with a few standing foot pump exercises can literally save your life by preventing blood clots. This will also greatly improve the way you feel at the end of the day!