Massage Helps Treat Varicose Veins: Myth Or Fact?

Varicose Veins: For Some It’s Cosmetic, For Others It’s Immense Pain!

Welcome back to yet another post where we debunk the biggest myths in the world of massage! Today we’ll be talking about varicose veins, and more specifically about whether massage can treat the condition.

Before we talk about massage and varicose veins, we should talk about why varicose veins happen. What causes them anyways?


What Causes Varicose Veins?

Since varicose veins is a medical condition, the details can get pretty technical.

Without going into the details, we can simply say that varicose veins are caused by weak or damaged valves. Because of the weak or damaged valves, blood can flow backward or pool in the veins. The consequence of this is what we see with veins being twisted out or forming that “spider” like appearance (Source: Mayo Clinic).

Varicose Veins Look Like Tree Branches

The other interesting thing about varicose veins is that pain may not always be a symptom. In that sense, it may just be a cosmetic thing. Some people don’t bother with this because the condition is not causing them any physical discomfort, others feel the need to get it treated purely based on the appearance.


Can Massage Treat Varicose Veins? No!

The very short and simple answer: no, massage cannot treat varicose veins.

The reason massage cannot treat varicose veins is it does nothing to address the underlying condition that is the weak or damaged valves we talked about earlier.

One thing I’d like to emphasize on here is the word treat. When we say treat, we imply cure or resolve the condition. To say massage can eliminate the condition of varicose veins is indeed incorrect and a myth. However……

That doesn’t mean massage cannot help provide some relief to those with varicose veins, provided massage is done by a trained therapist who knows exactly what they’re doing!

So please make note of the difference between treat and provide relief or comfort. This is very important and needs to be carefully understood.

Here's What Varicose Veins Looks Like
Here’s What Varicose Veins Looks Like (Female feet suffering from varicose veins By Marco Verch CC BY 2.0)


Can Massage Provide Some Relief To Those With Varicose Veins? Potentially, Yes!

But this needs to be looked at very carefully.

While massage does have the potential to provide some relief to varicose veins, it can also negatively impact the situation by further damaging the veins and potentially causing them to burst (Source: Vein & Vascular Institute).

Now I know you might be scratching your head saying “Well, what the heck should I do!? It feels like I’m doomed with or without massage!”. Well, yes and no. If you’ve been following my blog posts, you’ll have seen I’m a huge fan of self-massage and learning how to work on your own body.

Not only is it empowering, but you don’t have to frequent a therapist nearly as often, so there’s also $$$ to be saved!

Well that advice does not apply here at all. You do not want to self-massage your hamstrings/calves if you have varicose veins present.

While it’s true that massage does offer some relief to varicose veins sufferers, it’s also true that there are other means to treat this problem. I won’t go in to those now, but very quickly some things that can also help varicose veins is frequent exercise, compression stockings, and losing weight.

There are also options for more severe conditions of varicose veins. These include laser treatment, surgery and a number of other procedures. You can read up on all of these here!

There Are Many Different Ways To Help Relieve Varicose Veins!
There Are Many Different Ways To Help Relieve Varicose Veins! (Socks for man and women with varicose veins. Clinical compression knits By Marco Verch CC BY 2.0)

Coming back to massage….if you are planning on using massage as a means to help with the varicose veins, there’s 2 things I strongly recommend:

#1 Consult With Your Physician!—I err on the side of caution, and I strongly suggest you do the same. In this case, it is highly important that you consult with your physician before actually going for massage therapy!
#2 Find a Therapist That Has Experience!—Because there’s tons that don’t! Unfortunately some people are just out to make a buck, so there’s also that. Find a qualified therapist who has experience working varicose veins!

While doing some research for this post, I stumbled upon an incredibly informative article written by Kate Jordan on Massage Today. In this she talks about delivering massage to those who suffer from varicose veins.

She talks about how techniques such as lymphatic drainage and circulatory strokes can be very significant in addressing varicose veins because of the increased circulation these 2 techniques result in (Source: Massage Today).

Circular Massage Strokes Could Help Provide Some Relief!
Circular Massage Strokes Could Help Provide Some Relief!

If you’re interested in knowing about massage and varicose veins from a massage therapist’s standpoint, I definitely recommend you check out that article! It’s well worth a read!


So To Summarize It All…

Let’s look at what you should do, and what you shouldn’t!

You Should Do!
Definitely Don’t Do!
    • Speak to your physician before commencing any massage routine.
    • Research and find a therapist trained in working varicose veins.
    • Exercise frequently, incorporate a healthy diet into your lifestyle, and if needed, try to reduce weight.
    • Pay attention to your body and gauge how varicose veins are impacting you. Is it cosmetic, or pain, or other?
    • Don’t attempt self massage techniques on the varicose veins!
    • Don’t ignore the issue even if it’s cosmetic. Speak to your physician at the very least.
    • Don’t use an electric massager or massage chair on impacted areas.

And that’s pretty much all there is to it….nah I kid. Everyone is different of course and therefore the severity of the condition will also differ from one to another. However, if you’re speaking to the right people (your Doctor and your therapist), you will be in good hands to get the best possible treatment.

I hope you got some value from this post. If you did, please consider sharing on the social platforms as it does go a long way in helping our site. Otherwise, drop a comment down below and let’s get some discussion going!

Otherwise, we’ll see you in a brand new post next week! Take care, be safe and be well!

About Eve

Just an average bloke intrigued by massage and its incredible benefits. Oh, did I mention I also own a massage chair? More on that in the blog posts!

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