What are Varicose Veins, exactly?
Varicose veins are the result of a failure of the valves in the veins in the leg which stop blood from pooling in the lower part of the body.
The heart pumps and the muscles in the legs contract to send the blood back up from the feet to the heart.
When the valves, called leaflet valves, are faulty or become weak they don’t close properly and the blood starts to respond to gravity and flows backwards.
This enlarges the veins and distends them making the veins bulge and become even more uncomfortable.
This stretching of the veins causes them to become thin and painful, particularly when standing for long periods of time. Varicose veins typically only affect the superficial veins "spider veins" – thus they are noticeable to other people and the embarrassment factor can be distressing.
They are not usually a major health issue but if necessary they can be attended to surgically.
Some of the damaged veins are quite deep and can be very painful.
These type of veins are more common in women than men. And often come during pregnancy.
For some people these veins are so painful and enlarged they need to be checked by a doctor. They can be a signal for more serious disorders or indicate very poor circulation which has its own set of complications.
Over a long period of time, if untreated, these veins can cause the legs to swell, the skin to thicken and even cause ulceration.
- Aching legs
- Very tired legs
- Swelling in the ankles
- Itchy/dry skin/scaling of the legs
- Minor damage causing unusual volume of bleeding
- Sudden movement cramping
- Abdominal straining
- Prolonged standing
- Injury or trauma to the leg
- Exercise is important to help prevent damaged veins or to alleviate some of the discomfort. Walk as often as you can but stop if your legs ache too much.
- When you come home from sitting at a desk all day at work or from a long day standing, put your feet up and elevate them above your head.
- Even in the bath take the opportunity to raise your legs to ease the pressure on the veins.
Essential Oils Recipes
The most recommended essential oils for varicose veins are Cypress and Geranium. Consider using both or one of them in any recipe.
Cypress has an astringent effect on the venous system. Geranium encourages circulation of blood.
- 10 drops of Geranium essential oil
- 10 drops of Cypress essential oil
- 5 drops Basil essential oil
- 30ml carrier oil
Mix these together and massage over your veins.
Remember to massage towards the heart, i.e., up the legs. And, massage very gently over these veins. In fact, avoiding the veins altogether might be best - just massage around them.
- 5 drops of Geranium essential oil OR
- 5 drops Cypress essential oil OR
- 5 drops of a combination of these essential oils
Add these to a warm bath and gently massage your legs.
Other oils you can add to the above recipe are:
Lavender, Juniper and Rosemary but don't use more than 5 drops total in the bath at once.
- 15 drops Geranium essential oil
- 5 drops Lemon essential oil
- 5 drops Cypress essential oil
- 30ml Grapeseed oil
- 15ml Sweet Almond oil
Mix these all together and leave to steep in four days. Then massage very gently over the legs twice a day.