102 Peters St Ste 1
North Andover, MA 01845
By Dr. Janine Pulley
Many people suffer from varicose veins and their milder form known as spider veins, which often form on the legs. These veins are visible due to their enlargement and pooling of blood, which can also become quite painful. Sometimes people also have painful swelling of their legs, dry skin or eczema, and heaviness of their legs.
Inside of your veins, there are one way valves that keep the blood flowing in one direction. When you walk, your leg muscles squeeze the veins, which pushes the blood up from your feet back to your heart. Once the blood reaches your heart, it is pumped to your lungs for oxygenation, then back to the heart to be pumped out to the rest of your body once more.
Varicose veins and spider veins are due to damage in the leg blood vessels – these one way valves break, so the blood falls downward with gravity and pools up. This damage can occur for a variety of reasons. One major reason is a sedentary lifestyle – you need to walk to squeeze the blood up, which is yet another reason why you should take regular walking breaks at work and go for a daily walk. Another common reason is weight. When you are overweight, the extra weight puts more pressure on your entire body, which makes it harder for your legs to squeeze the blood back to your heart and for your heart to pump as well.
One of the most common treatments for varicose veins is surgery where the veins are removed from the legs. However, this removal can cause issues because every surgery has associated risks. Also, once you remove the veins, you can develop problems like swelling because you no longer have the channels to get the blood back to your heart. It’s like shutting down the whole highway just because there is a traffic jam but not opening up another highway – the back roads get clogged up instead.
Acupuncture, acupressure, massage, exercise, and herbal remedies can help alleviate varicose veins and spider veins as an alternate to surgery. All of these therapies help to improve circulation, which gets the pooled blood moving again to reduce their size and associated symptoms.1,2
Along with traditional acupuncture needling, a technique called “bleeding” can also help with spider veins and varicose veins. From a Chinese medicine point of view, the pooling blood is seen as blood stagnation – an actual accumulation of old, stagnant blood that is blocking the flow of the rest of your blood. A lancet is used to gently prick the vein and the dark, stagnant blood is let out to allow the blood to flow normally again. When the dark, stagnant blood is removed, pressure is applied to close the hole. Immediately the veins will be less visible with reduced bulging, and the pain will improve.
Depending on the severity and chronicity of your varicose and spider veins, it may take several treatments before you experience significant relief. Not every vein can be bled, but your acupuncturist will need to see the veins in order to determine what course of treatment would be best for you.
Call 978-237-5106 to have your varicose and spider veins evaluated today by Dr. Pulley!
May 11, 2017
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102 Peters Street Ste 1
North Andover, MA 01845-5049
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