Essential oils can be a soothing, aromatic and effective way to ease the unpleasant vascular condition that is varicose veins. Essential oils have offered a holistic remedy for swollen veins and can often, reduce and eliminate the swelling, itching and inflammation associated with the condition. Used as a topical massage treatment, essential oils can provide a relaxing, skin-smoothing way to keep varicose vein misery at bay.
Perhaps you know varicose veins more intimately than you’d like. These painful, swollen veins are formed when weakness in vein walls or damage to the valves causes increased pressure within the vein, thus causing dilation. Risk factors for varicose veins include advanced age, obesity, pregnancy and having had deep vein thrombosis; other causes and contributors include standing for excessive lengths of time, injuries and medical conditions, blood clots, a sedentary lifestyle and hormone imbalances. Not only are varicose veins unsightly, they often trigger symptoms such as itching, burning, cramps, inflammation, bleeding and ankle swelling. They can sometimes even cause skin flareups similar to eczema and, in extreme cases, ulceration.
Essential oils offer an easy and effective topical treatment to reduce inflammation. Both warming and cooling oils work to dilate and to constrict blood vessels and vessel walls, thereby shrinking unsightly (and often painful) varicose veins. There are a number of essential massage oils containing properties that promote improved circulation and blood flow, which can shrink existing varicose veins as well as help to prevent new veins from forming. Along with other appropriate treatment options such as exercise, healthy weight management, maintaining a healthy diet and other remedies, essential oils offer a time-tested and relaxing home remedy for this unsightly and unpleasant vascular issue. Massage oil treatment also provides the added benefits of stress and anger relief for a more zen-like state.
The simplest and perhaps most common way to utilise essential oils’ vasoconstricting (vein-shrinking) process is via topical massage. Begin with a compress (warm or cool) by soaking a washcloth or circular cotton pad in either your favourite essential oil or in a blend of (up to) five drops of essential oils. Mix the oil with one litre of water and then apply the compress to the affected area (or areas) for at least 15 minutes; make sure to keep your legs elevated. Next, mix up to 30 drops of oil with about three tablespoons of carrier oil; adding the oil to shea butter or to cocoa butter is optional. Dip your fingers in the mixture and massage the affected area in the direction of your heart to pump up blood flow.
You can also utilize essential oils’ vein-shrinking properties by diluting up to eight drops of essential oil (of your choice) in a small amount of carrier oil and then by adding it to warm bathwater. In addition, many don’t realize that hemorrhoids (swollen anal veins) are a form of varicose veins nor do they realize essential oils can help treat this area, too. To relieve hemorrhoid swelling, itching and pain, add up to eight drops of carrier-diluted essential oils to a relaxing sitz bath and enjoy.
Essential oils as massage therapy also work to ease symptoms. When applying oils directly to your skin, make sure to dilute with a carrier oil such as sweet almond oil or coconut oil. A good rule-of-thumb recipe template for topical varicose vein massage oil is 5% (your choice of) essential oil — or combination of essential oils — mixed in with the carrier oil. Combine the ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and massage the blend onto your ankles in gentle circular motions toward your heart; use special caution when applying directly over the surface area of existing varicose veins. Make sure to elevate your legs after applying and repeat the process a minimum of twice daily.
A nebulizing diffuser is another aromatic and soothing way to reap the therapeutic benefits of essential massage oils, perhaps enhancing the massage process itself. Diffusers calm your body and mind as well as they boost blood flow. A nebulizing diffuser — also known simply as a nebulizer — releases millions of concentrated essential oil particles into the air when the oil mixes with a stream of concentrated air. A nebulizer, along with other appropriate measures, can boost the effectiveness of essential oil therapy. Some essential oils rich in anesthetic and/or anti-inflammatory properties are frankincense, chamomile, myrrh, ginger, peppermint, spearmint and vetiver.
Frankincense has been a popular vein essential oil for many years. In addition to reducing vein swelling, it has also been used to treat arthritis, hepatitis, depression, wrinkles, skin dryness, multiple sclerosis and other diseases. It functions by conditioning the vein area to improve strength and circulation, which helps to prevent the bulging and twisting associated with varicose veins. Frankincense also contributes to stress reduction and vein swelling by lowering blood pressure, by improving circulation and by balancing hormone levels. This oil is also thought to boost the immune system, to improve eyesight and to enhance mental focus and is especially potent in fighting varicose veins during pregnancy.
Ginger in addition to being an excellent seasoning spice and home remedy ingredient for a host of health issues — makes a powerful oil to lower blood pressure by clearing blockages from the blood’s pathway. Ginger oil is a particularly effective essential oil for spider veins located on the face. Chamomile is another star ingredient used for improving health and beauty in myriad forms, particularly essential oils. It promotes improved circulation, reduces inflammation and shrinks varicose veins’ swelling. Chamomile essential oil strengthens blood vessels as well as promotes healthy blood vessel constriction.
Lavender essential oil is another popular oil used in aromatherapy to relieve pain and to reduce inflammation. In fact, one 2012 study found that lavender oil promoted reduced ulcer duration and size. Other research has shown that lavender oil possesses analgesic and sedative properties that may help to manage pain associated with vein swelling. Rosemary essential oil is believed to similarly improve circulation and vasodilation as well as to relieve pain.
According to the massage therapy institute, essential oils thought to boost circulation are lemongrass, clary, sage, cypress, grapefruit, helichrysum, rose, tangerine and orange. Lemongrass helps to dilate blood vessels and to improve circulation throughout the body. It makes an excellent preventive treatment to varicose veins and can reduce swelling and inflammation of already-present veins. Dues to its potent analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, lemongrass oil improves circulation, strengthens blood vessels and inhibits blood pooling. Future varicose vein formation can be avoided by helping blood vessels remain healthy and clear. In addition to being an excellent vascular treatment, lemongrass oil can also be used as an insect repellent, as a homeopathic sedative, as an antiseptic and as a bacteria fighter.
Lemon essential oil contains potent astringent properties that reduce skin’s oil secretion and also works to strengthen and to constrict vein walls. Though lemon is known in homeopathic circles for being excellent at preventing varicose veins, it may not be as potent in treating existing spider veins. Rose Geranium, on the other hand, not only has a gorgeous floral smell but also works to promote healthier, clearer skin. It improves overall circulation and reduces vascular swelling due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It is thus most commonly used as a remedy for existing varicose veins.
Helichrysum oil works to improve circulation and to reduce inflammation, which makes it an excellent treatment option for vascular swelling. Helichrysum dissolves blood clotting in and/or outside the vein, which not only clears veins blockages but also prevents future occurrences. Cypress is another powerful vasoconstrictor and anti-inflammatory treatment oil. Not only does it shrink swollen blood vessels, improves circulation, reduces fluid retention and relieves inflammation and pain but it also works to calm the mind and soothe the senses. Cypress oil treats spider veins by strengthening blood vessel walls and helping to regulate hormonal balance and also functions as an antibacterial, an antimicrobial, a deodorant and more. Besides treating varicose veins, cypress oil is also used to treat conditions such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and chronic pain.
Though essential oils are considered safe for use for most, some may experience minor risks and irritations such as rashes, hives, burning and irritation, and more. It is always wise to test any new essential oil and/or the diluted mixture, on a small patch of skin. If you experience any such allergic reaction after applying an essential oil, discontinue use immediately and contact a medical professional if necessary. In addition to essential oils, you can also prevent, treat and reduce varicose veins by avoiding prolonged sitting or standing, maintaining a healthy weight, wearing loose, breathable clothing, elevating your legs whenever possible and maintaining an active lifestyle.
In addition to the use of essential oils there are an expanding number of minimally invasive treatment options available from qualified medical professionals to treat varicose veins.
Known for both analgesic (pain-killing) and anti-inflammatory properties, essential oils help to boost circulation and to strengthen blood vessel walls to treat unsightly, often painful vein swelling.