Healthy, normal functioning veins have valves in them to keep blood flowing towards the heart and not flowing backwards, back into the legs. When veins are varicose, these valves do not work as well, allowing . blood to flow backwards, pooling in leg veins causing them to enlarge.
How do health care professionals tackle varicose veins?
Allopathically, you can have surgery to remove the troublesome vein entirely or to repair the valves. There is also laser surgery that can repair the vein without cutting into the vein.
Naturopathically, we primarily focus on prevention. Prevent varicose veins by...
1) Exercising to improve circulation (walking and running are good options)
2) Avoiding crossing legs when sitting
3) Maintain a healthy weight (excess weight means more pressure on the legs)
4) Eat a low salt diet to keep blood pressure in check and to decrease water retention
5) Wiggle and shift legs while standing for long periods of time
6) Avoid wearing high heels and poor footwear that compromises feet/lower leg circulation
In terms of some simple treatment options to use when varicose veins already exist, you can elevate your legs for 10 minutes each night (try stacking a bunch of pillows under your leg when you are watching TV or when reading in bed) or wear support stockings (which are basically very tight socks that compress the lower limbs).