Varicose veins can be as painful as they are unsightly. Those bulging, tortuous vessels can lead to aching legs, night cramping and swelling of the lower leg, ankle and foot. While the only way to “cure” varicose veins is through a treatment by a physician, you can relieve some of those symptoms through a variety of home remedies. One of the most effective methods of natural relief is yoga.

Why Varicose Veins Occur
To understand the benefits of yoga for varicose veins, it is important to know why these swollen vessels occur in the first place. Veins are responsible for carrying blood back to the heart from every area of the body. Tiny valves inside the vessels keep the blood moving in a single direction. When those valves become damaged or simply wear out over time, blood can pool inside the vessel and cause swelling and varicosity.

The lower leg veins tend to become varicose most often because those vessels have to work harder than any of the other veins in the body. In addition to working against gravity to move blood back up to the heart, lower leg veins also have to push against the weight of the body. Weight gain, restrictive clothing and long periods of standing can further increase the strain on those vessels.

Yoga Benefits
Yoga can benefit varicose veins by shifting the position of the lower legs so they are elevated above the heart. When this occurs, it becomes much easier for the veins in the lower legs to move blood back to the heart, relieving pressure in the veins and many of your uncomfortable symptoms. At the same time, yoga positions that flex the calf muscles help the veins to move blood back to the heart, relieving pressure and pain.

Best Yoga Poses
Three of the best yoga positions for relieving painful varicose veins include:

Shoulder Stand
This pose begins by lying flat, facing upward. Raise both legs in an upward motion. Support the back with the hands to hold the pose for a number of minutes. The inverted position of this pose will reverse gravity, making it easier for blood to move from the lower legs to the heart.

Inverted Lake Pose
Lie flat on your back with your legs raised against a wall so your body is at a 90° angle. Your arms should be stretched out straight above your head. Like the shoulder stand, this position elevates the lower legs above the heart, making it easier to move blood to the heart. At the same time, this position encourages healthy blood flow throughout the body, leading to stronger, healthier veins.

Seated Forward Bend
Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out straight in front of you. Bend forward at the waist until your head touches your knee. Stretch your arms out past your feet. This is an excellent pose for improving circulation throughout the body, while releasing pain from the back and legs.

Although yoga may effectively reduce the uncomfortable symptoms of varicose veins, it will not “cure” those swollen vessels completely. At Vein Specialists of the Carolinas, we offer minimally-invasive vein treatments that successfully eliminate the veins and their symptoms. To learn more, schedule an appointment today  or call Gastonia at 704-861-2072 and Charlotte at 704-544-5245.

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