Aromatherapy for Varicose Veins
Aromatherapy uses the scent from essential oils to treat various medical conditions. In short, it works to induce a desired mood with the release of particular scents. Lavender, for example, promotes a feeling of calm in those who smell it. Today, aromatherapy is used in any number of environments, from offices to hospitals. It boosts worker productivity and also eases patient stress. While many admit that essential oils smell nice, advocates of this treatment respect its physical healing properties as well. Moreover, professional aromatherapists use essential oils to treat varicose veins. Those oils can substantially repair varicose veins and provide relief.
The Mystery of Varicose Veins
Many people wrongly associate varicose veins with natural aging. In fact, varicose veins may occur at any age. When moving blood loses speed on its way back to the heart, it sits in veins. Pelvic and leg muscles are responsible for pushing that blood upward. Individuals who sit or stand for extended periods, however, struggle with this function. Persons who are overweight, constipated or pregnant also experience sluggish blood flow. With time, that extra blood weakens veins and causes them to stretch. The enlarged veins are known as varicose, and they appear as blue streaks that extend up and down. Although varicose veins can occur on any part of the body, they commonly are found on the legs. This condition is known to affect one out of every four women, making it a common disorder. Although varicose veins pose no serious health threat, their characteristically swollen, discolored and distorted appearance is often disheartening to sufferers.
Using Aromatherapy for Treatment
Traditionally, doctors use surgery to remove varicose veins. A far less invasive course of treatment is aromatherapy. This involves gentle application of essential oils directly to afflicted veins. With repeated efforts, aromatherapy minimizes the appearance of these veins, relieves pain, and eases discomfort. The following are the most prominent essential oils used in this treatment:
- Juniper berry
Cypress and frankincense in particular are known to contain astringent properties that tighten veins and reduce their size. The former is an essential oil that promotes circulation and helps relieve excess fluid in the body. Frankincense is a natural anti-inflammatory that promotes skin healing. Either of these oils, as well as the others listed, can be applied locally or massaged. If massage is the chosen technique, professional aromatherapists recommend legs be rubbed with upward strokes to mimic the flow of blood. Oils should thus be applied starting at the foot. A light touch is vital, as the veins are already fragile and may rupture with deep pressure. Should varicose veins cause skin breakage or ulcers, lavender essential oil can be used in the form of a compress. When the compress is applied to the afflicted area, it promotes healing and provides pain relief.
Combining Water Therapy with Aromatherapy
Another widely-recognized way to treat varicose veins is through the combined use of water therapy and essential oils. Aromatherapists advise alternating hot and cold foot baths to improve circulation and diminish varicose veins. This therapy also eases discomfort, as cold water helps relieve inflammation and swelling, and hot water promotes vein tightening. To start, persons should sit comfortably in a chair with two basins of water at their feet, one hot and the other cold. Feet should be placed in the hot water first for three minutes, and then directly placed in the cold water for one minute. This routine should continue for three to five times total, ending with cold water. Once finished, feet and legs can be patted dry and massaged with one of the essential oils listed above.