Monday, June 5, 2017

Natural and Non-Invasive Treatment for Varicose Veins

Varicose Veins can present in different ways for different reasons. According to the Mayo Clinic, varicose veins can be caused by age, where the veins lose elasticity and enlarge, or by pregnancy, where your overall blood volume increases, but not the flow of blood from your legs to your pelvis. Other factors include obesity, sex (females are more prone), family history, and standing for long periods of time. Unfortunately, most standard Western treatments involve some sort of surgery or "stripping the veins." Luckily there are other, less invasive options available from Eastern Medicine.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Varicose Veins (which differ from Spider Veins) are due to an insufficiency of Spleen Qi, or Spleen energy, in the body. Each of our internal organs has particular jobs in our body; TCM theory sees the Spleen as much more important than it is typically considered in Western Medicine. With TCM, one of the Spleen's jobs is to hold things in their place. When the Spleen is too weak, you often see "Sinking Qi" symptoms, like organ prolapse, urinary or fecal incontinence/stress incontinence, a sinking sensation of the uterus, flooding uterine bleeding (usually during menstruation) and varicose veins. With all of these symptoms, the Spleen is too weak to hold things where they belong and they fall. With varicose veins, the Spleen is unable to hold the Blood in its vessels and they sag and expand. When there is also pain or dark blood associated with varicosities there is additional Stagnation, where the Qi and/or Blood isn't moving the way that it should. Here the Stagnation is also due to the insufficiency of Qi, where it doesn't have the "oomph" to keep flowing properly and it gets sluggish and stuck. 

This condition can be treated quite effectively with Acupuncture and Moxibustion.  The acupuncture, and sometimes Chinese herbal medicine, focuses on:
  • Building and supplementing the Spleen Qi so that it can hold the blood in the veins
  • Raising the Yang so that whatever has fallen (in this case the veins) can be lifted back up
  • Moving the Qi and Blood to relieve the pain often associated with varicose veins.
Moxibustion is a warming treatment (see link above) that helps move the Qi and Blood and helps reduce the swelling and discomfort associated with varicosities. It is safe and non-invasive. Many times varicosities shrink, lighten and become less painful after a moxa treatment. While the varicose veins won't disappear after just one treatment, each treatment builds upon the one before, so over time you will see continuous shrinkage and lightening of the veins until they are no longer problematic. Because everyone is different, there is no way to predict how many treatments are needed; the more chronic the condition, the longer it takes to treat. For a relatively recent occurrance, it may take 4-6 treatments, for varicosities that have been around for years, it may take 3-4 months or more.

In the end, in addition to feeling less pain, you should have better energy and feel better in your daily life.


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