Varicose Vein Treatment: Does Yoga Help?


First, it’s important to make clear that yoga by itself is not an effective varicose vein treatment as some have suggested. Yoga by itself cannot repair damaged veins nor damaged vein valves. However, having said this, yoga can and does complement rather well more traditional forms of varicose vein treatment like laser guided sclerotherapy and endovenous laser treatment (ELT, also sometimes called EVLT). So, with this in mind, let’s explore some of the ways yoga can help a person suffering with varicose veins.

Eliminating Soreness In the Legs

People with varicose veins walk around with chronic pain all the time. No, it’s not a stabbing pain that makes you keel over. Rather, it’s a duller pain that people tend to learn to live with and then basically forget how good they used to feel before they had this chronic pain. In fact, this gradual tolerance of pain is why some people delay varicose vein treatment. They get so used to the chronic pain all the time that they no longer recognize the signals their body is sending them to take care of the problem! Practicing yoga daily, or even a few times a week, is a good way to eliminate some of the soreness that a person with varicose veins experiences.

Management of Swelling

Leg elevation yoga poses help drain the excess blood (fluid) and lymph that accumulates in your legs when you have varicose veins. This sends the stagnant blood back to the heart for oxygenation. These leg elevation yoga poses also give your vein valves a must deserved rest. Plus, any toxins that have accumulated in your legs, due to the accumulating fluid, will be washed away by the flow aided by gravity. These types of poses can sometimes be part of the “conservative” therapy of elevating your legs that some insurance companies require before they will cover traditional varicose vein treatment (check with your vein doctor). Here are the three yoga poses that help most with leg swelling:

1. Navasana (Boat Pose)

In this yoga pose, your legs will be about forty-five degrees off the ground so the accumulated blood and lymph will drain. This pose also builds strength in your leg muscles, which in turn, aids your veins in getting blood back to your heart. Because of this, practicing this pose regularly can have a positive long term effect.

2. ViparitaKarani (Legs Up The Wall)

This yoga pose is considered a restorative pose for a reason. It is probably the most helpful overall for draining fluid from your legs because your legs are inverted but you also get to totally relax because they are pressed against the wall. For the right effect, make sure your palms are facing up and your hands, arms, and whole body are fully relaxed. If you close your eyes and practice deep breathing, you should be able to maintain this yoga pose quite easily for several minutes, thereby allowing all the fluid to drain out of your legs.

3. Sarvangasana (Supported Shoulder Stand)

In this yoga pose, your legs are COMPLETELY inverted so it allows the fluid to drain easily from your legs. However, this position is harder to do than the viparitakarani pose so you may need to work up to it if you’ve never practice yoga before.

To visualize these three yoga poses, search the names under Google Images.

Yoga Can Help Right After Traditional Varicose Vein Treatment

When you receive varicose vein treatment, unlike many other outpatient procedures where your doctor puts you on bed rest for a while, your vein doctor will very likely tell you to start walking and exercising right away. This helps your body recover and reabsorb the veins that have been ablated. It also helps alleviate soreness that may occur after the procedure. While strenuous cross country skiing may be off limits for a while, yoga is a gentle enough exercise that it can be performed the next day after varicose vein treatment if you take it easy with the stretching portion. Gentle stretches are fine but nothing too strenuous right after your procedure.

Get a Free Exam At Metro Vein Clinics

Sometimes people attempt to “manage” their varicose veins with yoga and other exercise when they don’t realize how serious the problem truly is. The only way to know for sure is to get a duplex ultrasound test so you and your doctor can see a 3D image of your veins and vein valves, plus take a look at how your blood is flowing. The vein doctors at Metro Vein Clinics are top of the line and will be able to tell you if you need varicose vein treatment, and if so, what type would be best for your problem veins.


Laura Cramsie