According to Chinese medicine, varicose veins are thought to be caused by the weakened energies of the earth element. It is these energies that are thought to be responsible for maintaining the firmness of the blood vessels. Because these energies also run the digestive tract and serve to power the processing of body fluids, varicose vein sufferers may also experience weaknesses of the digestive system, swelling of the abdomen and legs, or catarrh—a buildup of mucus in the airway or in a cavity of the body.
When earth energies work as they should, they have an uplifting effect on the body and mind. When they are in a weakened state, the body responds with heaviness in the legs, a feeling that the abdomen is dragging, and depression. The mechanism for this is the failure for blood to rise as it should within the legs, so that it stagnates inside the veins.
In the early stages of varicose veins, Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture are both effective. If the veins become much distended, full recovery through these treatments will not occur though the treatments will relieve much of the discomfort by stimulating the circulation. This serves to maintain the integrity of the surrounding skin, preventing both ulcers and varicose eczema. If either of these conditions is present, Chinese herbs are an effective treatment.
In addition, Chinese medicine prescribes a bland diet including plentiful grains, and vegetables cooked so that they still retain some of their bite. Being rested is important and a 15 minute post-lunchtime nap can do much to restore health when earth energies are weak.
Some vein sufferers are concerned that acupuncture will be a painful treatment. It's important to note that most patients feel nothing, or perhaps a slight pinprick. This is the stage at which the acupuncture point is stimulated. In certain types of acupuncture, this stimulation is painless, while in the more common style of this treatment, a dull ache may be felt for a few seconds. Most patients do not find this to be an unpleasant sensation.
For those who find acupuncture uncomfortable, it's a good idea to tell the acupuncturist that you are experiencing pain or sensitivity. He can then employ the use of finer needles, or insert them less deeply, in order to minimize your discomfort.
Sometimes patient and practitioner will decide that some pain is worth the discomfort for a greater benefit and agree to a more intense treatment. At the other end of the spectrum is the patient who is terrified of needles, in which case, the practitioner can offer alternative means of stimulating the acupuncture points, for instance through magnets, lasers, or acupressure massage.