Do Massages Help with Varicose Veins?
When you look down at your legs and feet, do you notice bulging, bluish cords that run just beneath the surface of your skin? Do these inflamed veins ever feel itchy, achy, or even painful? If the answer to any of those questions is yes, you might suffer from varicosities, or varicose veins. Although common and generally harmless, these swollen areas may often feel uncomfortable or cause feelings of insecurity. Luckily, there are several actions you can take to feel some relief. From a closer look at the causes of varicose veins, to key treatment tips and tricks, we’ve included everything you need to know.
What are varicose veins?: A closer look
According to WebMD, varicose veins are enlarged, bluish-purple or red cords that often appear on the legs and feet. These twisted, oversized veins are often a result of blood pooling, or poor circulation. Oftentimes, these veins are surrounded by smaller patches of flooded capillaries known as spider veins, a superficial, surface level version of varicose veins. Varicosity is common, affecting about 23% of Americans. Some data also shows that this condition is twice as likely for females.
What causes varicose veins?
Your veins are designed to help circulate blood upstream throughout your body. In varicose veins, the blood stays trapped in the vein and does not flow upwards. Once this happens, the vein becomes congested with blood which causes it to bulge and turn bluish-purple or red in color.
Massage techniques for varicose veins
When dealing with a medical issue of any kind, it is always wise to seek advice from a doctor or specialist to rule out any serious concerns. Once approved by your medical provider, there are several professional and at-home treatments that provide relief. We’ve compiled some great treatment options and self-care techniques to help you find the right method for treating varicose veins:
Professional massage therapy sessions
Massage therapy offered by a skilled masseuse is highly-recommended. This method incorporates circulatory and lymphatic drainage techniques to reduce swelling and congestion within the vein. Once stimulated, the blood can freely flow out of the vein, causing relief from aches and pains.
Self-applied massage therapy
We understand that professional massages may not be the right option for everyone. Because of this, we’ve included tips and tricks to help improve your self-applied massage:
- How to massage legs with varicose veins: According to Massage Today, the best way to improve circulation is to alternate between long and short strokes that push upwards towards the heart. When making short strokes, it is highly beneficial to use effleurage, or circular motions with the palm of your hand. When massaging directly over varicose veins, use full-palm or fingertip pressure to aid in relieving congestion. For best results, elevate your legs to 45 degrees during your massage session.
- Massage techniques to avoid: While massaging is beneficial for lymphatic drainage and other circulatory purposes, it is important to focus on actions to avoid. Avoid cross-fiber friction massages that penetrate deep into the ligaments and tendons, as well as any wringing and percussion movements. These techniques might cause further inflammation and pain.
At-home massage devices
If the above options are still not your cup of tea, there are a handful of products designed to help with pain and circulation issues caused by varicose veins. Check out the products below to see what best suits your needs:
- Foot massagers: As we previously mentioned, massages are ideal for improving blood flow, reducing inflammation, and providing pain relief. Devices such as the Sole Solutions Shiatsu Foot Massager by Cloud Massage are excellent for soothing pain and promoting circulation. This high-quality massager that treats the foot, ankle, and calf features five comfort settings with multiple intensity levels. From rolling massages and compression, to adjustable heat functions, you’ll be well on your way to finding comfort.
- Full-leg compression massagers: In a similar vein, (pun intended), compression is another excellent way to find relief from varicose veins. According to Healthline, adding pressure enables easier blood flow which reduces swelling and discomfort. Luckily, there are a handful of innovative products engineered for at-home compression therapy. The Perfecore Leg Massager on Amazon uses pneumatic, or air-operated technology to increase blood circulation. Its comfortable and adjustable design features 7 different massage options along with 3 compression modes to choose from.
- Compression stockings and hose: Simple compression stockings and hose are a convenient solution for varicose vein pain. You can find these products at most local pharmacies and medical supply stores, making them a great option when you’re in a pinch. Stockings offer less pressure, while hose generally offer more compression and support. Although this is a great last-minute option, stockings and hose that offer a very high level of compression often require a prescription.
When dealing with any medical condition, it’s important to understand that every case is different. With that in mind, it is always important to consult a specialist to determine the best option for your individual needs.
To learn more, take a look at WebMD for additional information on varicose veins and how to find the best treatment for you.