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Varicose veins happen when the one-way valves that move blood towards the heart, malfunction.  Blood becomes trapped in the vein and seeps downward, causing enlarged blood vessels, pain and inflammation. Affected blood vessels may appear purple, blue or even black in color. Limbs may feel heavy, numb, and difficult to maneuver. Other complications can develop including open wounds, itchiness, phlebitis, or thrombosis.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine may diagnosis this condition as Spleen Qi Sinking. The Spleen plays a vital role in blood vessel health as it has the responsibility of 'keeping things in their place." In the case of varicose veins, the Spleen malfunctions in a way that interferes with the integrity of blood vessel walls, resulting in their failure to manage and contain blood flow properly.

At the very tip of the head resides a versatile acupuncture point called <i>Hundred Meetings</i>. One of its jobs is to force energy in an upward direction, thus directing the blood to keep on its natural course by ascending to the heart. This point commands a lot of Qi as it is a meeting place for many sources of energy to converge in the body. The goal is to encourage toxic, stagnating blood to move.

To reinforce a robust blood flow, a technique called Plum Blossom needling may be the perfect complement. The Plum Blossom needle is a disposable tool that has seven needles placed in an area about as large as a toothbrush head. Like a toothbrush, it has a long handle. The method involves light tapping at the site of finer varicose veins. The idea is to tap with just enough pressure to release pooled blood through the epidermis. The size and severity of the varicose veins will determine if this treatment is appropriate.

Some ways to boost your circulation at home and get relief from symptoms of varicose veins include exercise, not sitting or standing too long, wearing compression hose, a 10-minute warm foot soak, elevating your feet to the level of your heart for 10 minutes, and wearing comfortable, flat, cushioned shoes.

Contact an acupuncturist today to schedule an appointment or to learn more about acupuncture and Oriental medicine.

Source: Varicose Veins. (2019). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/varicose-veins/symptoms-causes/syc-20350643

About the Author: Vanessa Vogel Batt, L.Ac., MSTOM, studied at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and practiced acupuncture and Oriental medicine in New York for several years. Vanessa enjoys traveling the world, and has published articles on acupuncture and Oriental medicine and related health topics for websites and publications in both the U.S. and abroad.

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