Chinese herbs and acupuncture for varicose veins have been used for centuries and now more western women are seeking help with varicose veins during pregnancy. Western medicine has no treatment to offer apart from basic self-care measures which include management of weight, drinking water, wearing support stockings, avoid crossing your legs when sitting and walking. And even though most women try these measures, there is little change in the varicose veins.
Western medicine has little to apart from surgery
Some medical physicians just say that pregnancy goes hand in hand with varicose veins and that corrective surgery is recommended after birth.
From a modern scientific anatomical perspective, the uterus, because it is growing, puts extra pressure on the large vein on the right hand side of the body, known as the inferior vena cava, which then puts more pressure on the veins in the legs. In addition, there is an extra volume of blood to support the growing baby which puts pressure on the veins. The increased progesterone levels seen during pregnancy also further relaxes the blood vessels.
“Varicose veins during pregnancy, even though common, should not be regarded as normal”.- Scott Pearson of the Newtown Acupuncture Centre
What causes varicose veins during pregnancy according to Chinese medicine theory?
Traditional Chinese medicine diagnostic thought has a quite a different view point as to the cause of varicose veins during pregnancy. There is more than one cause of varicose veins during pregnancy but a common cause is due to the spleen. Chinese medicine physicians put a lot of emphasis on the health of the spleen because it needs to regulate many functions of the body.
The spleen makes blood and controls blood and has the specific function of keeping the blood in its vessels. The spleen also has the function of holding “up” energy. In the body, when the spleen is weak, and cannot hold things up, there could be prolapse, hemorrhoids or bulging veins in the legs.
John Kennedy, a member of the New Zealand Register of Acupuncturists Inc practicing in Masterton, receives many referrals from local midwives, and hence treats many pregnancy related problems. He said “I started off with just seeing women for morning sickness, and this developed into treating them for breech babies and then induction. Now I see the full spectrum of pregnancy related problems including tiredness, varicose veins and pregnancy related back pain”.
The treatment of women’s diseases as a specialty dates back hundreds of years and is now an extensive part of the curriculum when completing the Bachelors of Acupuncture in New Zealand.