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Yoga Tips For Varicose Veins

Varicosities or ‘varicose veins’ is a condition of the veins where the veins are full of surplus blood circulation that makes them swollen and enlarged. They can also be painful and itchy. Most of the time, varicose veins appear in the legs. They are a sign that the veins are not able to release blood properly hence they retain it which makes them appear blue or purple when seen through the skin. This article mentions some yoga practices that effectively ease all discomfort caused by varicose veins and reduces their severity. These practices can also prevent varicose veins over time.

Introduction

‘Varicose’ is defined as the swollen, weak, twisted and thinned-walled characteristic of a vein most commonly in the legs. The varicosity of a vein or a group of veins is often considered a consequence of poor circulation.

Veins are a part of the cardiovascular or the circulatory system, whose function is to circulate nutrients, oxygen and water via blood to all the cells of the body. The supply of blood, oxygen and nutrients is done through the arteries. The collection of residual gases and waste is done through the veins. Therefore, when the veins are not able to function properly, it is not entirely the heart’s fault and the structure of the veins also plays an important role in it. The veins are sometimes dilated and their walls are thinned and weakened which makes them retain blood and not send it to the heart completely.

Because the veins carry blood that is devoid of oxygen and nutrients, it appears dark blue/ purple /green or blackish in color as seen through the skin.

Varicose Veins

Symptoms

The following physical signs tell that a person’s veins are developing varicosity:

  • Dark blue or purple veins in the legs
  • Veins that appear to be tangled with each other
  • Itching where the veins are varicose
  • Darkening of the skin in that body part
  • Pain and heaviness in the legs
  • Swelling and redness
  • A feeling of throbbing in the legs

Causes: Lifestyle, Physical

Weakened veins are the primary cause of varicose veins. Various other factors contribute to their development as an individual. Those could originate from one’s lifestyle or routine, or be triggered by their anatomical and physiological constitution. On this basis we see causes of a disease as lifestyle factors or physical factors.

Physical Factors

  • Weak vascular system
  • Weak muscles all over the body
  • Hormonal relaxation of smooth muscle in the body
  • Blood viscosity above normal
  • Imbalance in blood constituents

Lifestyle Factors

  • Smoking
  • Sitting or standing for long durations
  • Not enough physical activity
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity

Risk Factors

Some factors decide the severity and susceptibility of a condition affecting a particular individual. Varicose veins are more likely to affect:

  • The elderly : aging brings with it degenerates all cells and tissues of the body, which include the veins and their walls; making the elderly develop varicosity of veins easily.
  • Habitual smokers : smoking has extremely adverse effects on the whole cardiovascular system.
  • Women: hormonal changes at the onset and cessation of menstruation, and pregnancy hormones tend to affect the veins in women, making them more susceptible for developing varicose veins.
  • Pregnant women : Hormones that relax muscles in the whole body during pregnancy with the added weight of the baby and uterine muscle, fluid and tissue, put women at an increased risk of developing varicose veins in women.
  • People with a family history of varicose veins.
  • People who sit or stand for long durations, especially if it is a part of their job.
  • Overweight and obese people, for the simple reason of the legs bearing more pressure and weight than they should have to.

Diagnosis

Usually a physical examination of the legs is enough for diagnosing the condition, including swelling and pain. In some cases where there is a possibility of blood clotting, ultrasonic scanning may be used to check for any blood clots.

Complications

Varicose veins may develop blood clots that are significantly large and also ulcers. If the veins dilate too much, they may burst and bleed profusely.

Treatment

Treatment usually comprises lifestyle changes and compression stockings to prevent blood flow and accumulation in the veins. Some yoga poses are specifically therapeutic for varicose veins.

Yoga Practices For Easing Varicose Veins

The following exercises reduce blood accumulation in the legs instantly and in the long term strengthen the veins and restore their health. These should be done on an empty stomach.

1. Pada Sanchalanasana

  • Lie down on a mat/ carpet/ folded blanket/ your bed.
  • Keep the arms at both sides of the body.
  • Keeping the legs straight, raise them simultaneously until they are perpendicular to the ground.
  • Maintain the natural curve of the back.
  • Bend the legs at the knees and start a cycling motion with the legs.
  • Maintain a slow and gentle motion.
  • Keep the body relaxed throughout.
  • Practice normal breathing during the practice.
  • Do this for a total count of 100.

2. Halasana

  • Lie on your back on the mat/ carpet.
  • Raise both the legs together, supporting them with the hands if needed.
  • With an exhalation place both the feet together on the mat/ carpet/ bed behind the head.
  • Support the back with the hands.
  • The legs shall be straight.
  • This is the final position. Resume normal breathing in the final position.
  • Stay in this position for around 10 seconds.
  • Relax and repeat thrice.

3. Sarvangasana

  • Lie on your back on the mat/ carpet.
  • Raise both legs simultaneously, until the feet, the knees, the buttocks and the chest all come in line with each other.
  • Do so while exhaling.
  • Support the body with the hands.
  • The elbows shall rest on the mat/ carpet.
  • This is the final position. Resume normal breathing in the final position.
  • Stay in this position for at least 5-7 seconds.
  • Practice thrice.

Lifestyle/Dietary Tips

Adapting a lifestyle that cuts out the physical factors contributing to worsening of any condition multiplies the benefits of a yoga routine by several times. The following tips are extremely beneficial for everyone with any or all symptoms of a disorder relating to the blood vessels in the lower extremities:

  • Wear loose and breathable clothes.
  • Do not stand or sit in the same position for long.
  • If you have to, then take small breaks in between to stretch the limbs.
  • Keep the feet at a raised level while sleeping.
  • Consume enough water (8-10 glasses a day).
  • Consume a nutrient rich diet.
  • Limit or quit smoking.
  • Maintain a healthy body mass.

Conclusion

Varicose veins respond positively to therapeutic lifestyle modifications and yoga intervention. A reduction in the severity can be felt within a week of beginning the programme described above. Varicose veins can be strengthened by these yoga practices so that their varicosity decreases, or at least doesn’t increase with age. These practices are safe for everyone. However, individuals with multiple conditions and pregnant women should consult a yoga therapist before beginning any yoga regime since multiple conditions require a customized regime for management of all those conditions without aggravating any. Healthy individuals can practice these as a part of their regular exercises.
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Best Ayurvedic Doctor in Mohali - Dr. Vikram Chauhan

Dr. Vikram Chauhan

MD (AYURVEDA)

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