You’re sitting at a Blue Rodeo Concert and all of a sudden, the worst smell in the world comes over you. It’s the smell of rotting flesh. You can’t imagine where on earth it’s coming from and try to enjoy listening to your favourite band.
The concert ends and your husband says to you; “ I think I need to make a doctors appointment for my varicose veins.” You’re thinking – Hallelujah! It’s about time!! Those things have been bulging and crawling up your leg for years.
That smell that I mentioned earlier…. That was the smell of the varicose veins in his left leg bursting and yes, he sat through the concert and waited until the next day to see the doctor. By the time he got there, I can’t even describe to you what that leg looked like. It was an infected, painful mess.
This is an extreme case, I know. Most times varicose veins are a cosmetic issue and a warning sign from the body that some changes need to be made. Your veins are sending out little cries for help saying; “ We’re losing our elasticity. You need to move more. The blood isn’t flowing anymore. Help us out!!”
Varicose veins are just that – veins that have lost their natural elasticity due to lifestyle, age, or inflammation. Varicose veins affect approximately half of people over 50 with about 10% more women than men complaining of them.
Activities that increase the risk of varicose veins are standing or sitting too long in one place, carrying extra weight, crossing your legs when you sit, and inactivity.
There are MANY things that can be done naturally to reduce varicose veins and get the blood flowing freely again.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise improves blood flow and reduces inflammation in the body
- Simple yoga poses will help to improve circulation and get the blood flowing more freely. Consider adding knees to chest, legs up wall, cow pose, and seated forward folds to your yoga routine
- Wear compression socks or stockings around home
- Maintain a healthy weight. Carrying excess weight puts more pressure on your veins and makes your body work harder to pump blood through your veins
- Follow an anti-inflammatory diet – always. Reduce packaged foods, which contain sugar, trans fats, sodium, etc. Look to whole foods like fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, wild fish, nuts and seeds. Whole foods are rich in antioxidants, fibre, water, vitamins and minerals that will help to increase blood flow and reduce inflammation
- Consider supplementing with Magnesium. Magnesium is involved in relaxing blood vessels and helps to improve blood flow while reducing restless legs, among it’s many other benefits.
- Essential oils are an excellent tool to help increase blood flow to the area and to reduce the appearance of varicose veins. Use them in a massage of the legs twice daily. Oils that will increase circulation include Cypress, Helichrysum, Black Pepper, and Lime. The easiest way to use them is to mix them in a roller ball with carrier oil and some witch hazel.
- Foods that increase circulation include those rich in Omega 3 fats and spicy foods such as black pepper and cayenne
- Foods and essential oils that encourage the body to detox will be beneficial in encouraging blood flow and reducing varicose veins. Think cilantro, basil, dandelion root, and fennel. Cypress, Cilantro, Lemon, and Fennel essential oils may also be used to support detoxification
- Finally, using apple cider vinegar daily improves circulation and reduces inflammation. A great way to start your day is with a hot “tea” made with ACV, turmeric, and a bit of raw honey.