I have known about varicose veins since our first family reunion that was warm enough for shorts. Along with several other common diseases I was told from a young age that varicose veins was an inevitable condition of my genetics. I am not one to accept my fate, and I tend to subscribe to the philosophy that we must know our enemy in order to defeat him. I spent a lot of time understanding the pathophysiology of the varicose vein. This problem in our circulatory system can happen just about anywhere in the body. The hemorrhoid is merely a varicose vein. A large percentage occur in the legs, however, and this is pretty logical. A varicose vein is simply one in which the wall of the vessel has pushed out and blood pools rather than pumping efficiently on to another part of the body. In the legs this can be the result of weak tissue walls, over exertion or excessive weight. The legs spend a good deal of time pumping blood back up to the heart against the force of gravity. There are pinched places in these veins that act just as a series of locks do in a canal. As the blood passes one of these “locks” the vessel pinches to prevent the flow from sliding backwards in its progress upward. Many different factors can cause these sites to fail, contributing to the problem of varicose veins in the legs.
Five years ago as my pregnant body became heavier in the last trimester I woke to find one angry, bulging vein running through the inside curve of my knee. I was ready for this challenge. Typically, I would advise someone to work from the outside in when working on a varicose vein.
Externally, it is often recommended that one wear compression stockings. This tight tube sock very literally squeezes the blood through the leg and prevents the vessels from sagging. Unfortunately, at the end of the day you will remove the sock and your weakened veins will once again sag painfully. It is a good stop-gap method, but should be used in conjunction with a deeper therapy.
Herbal liniments are extremely useful in toning both skin, muscle and blood vessel walls. Often these liniments are made up of astringent herbs. These herbs precipitate the proteins in our cell walls, resulting in a tightening and toning that can head off “looseness”. A simple liniment of witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) and horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) massaged into the legs upwards in the direction of the heart can work wonders.
Internally, nettle (Urtica dioica) is indispensable for anyone who is having difficulty with this condition. Not only is it a blood builder, but it is a tissue strengthener. It should be part of a daily habit when someone wants to correct bulging veins.
I had my varicose vein problem for five long years. It bulged constantly. If I stood for any length of time at a farmer’s market or other event the whole area would ache mercilessly. Every month during my cycle the downward pressure would drive me to sit with my feet up as often as possible because of the pain. I was doing so many things “right” from a health standpoint and I wasn’t having much success. That was until I happened to look down one day and discover my salvation.
I noticed that when I stood or walked, my right foot was turned out ever so slightly. The longer I pondered this the more convinced I was that there was a connection. My varicose vein ran along the inside of my right knee where the varicose vein was located.
I decided to try an experiment. I turned my foot straight ahead. Every time I came to a stop, I looked down and corrected my alignment. I walked consciously, forcing my foot to point forward with each step. For two weeks I experienced aching from my hip to my toes as the muscles worked to respond to the change. In just two days, though, I got my best indication that I was on the right track. That varicose vein sunk out of sight into my leg, my skin smoothed as if it had never been there and the ache disappeared.
Do you suffer with painful and unsightly varicose veins? How about hemorrhoids? Please take my advice. Have a friend or loved one look closely at your posture as you stand and walk. Are both of your feet facing directly ahead? Are both of your knee caps facing forward without locking your knees? Do you stand with one hip higher than the other? Is your head directly above your shoulders or is it extended forward or back. Our bodies are designed to carry our weight in a specific way, we are structurally engineered in a beautiful and perfect way. When we alter the way the weight is carried in the structure, the body “makes do” often strengthening some muscles and weakening others to compensate for our inattention. In the case of our circulation, this alteration can put an intense amount of pressure on the blood vessels that are tasked with circulating oxygen, food and toxins that are being shed. The discomfort of fixing a postural issue is well worth the many body systems that will be affected by the improvement!
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