The Massage Debate over Vein Health

Varicose and Spider Veins Prompt Massage DebateGetting a massage is supposed to be a relaxing activity, but for those who battle with vein diseases the experience can be a dreadful one. Even after overcoming the initial displeasure of revealing varicose veins or spider veins to the masseur, a little bit of uncertainty on the part of the massage therapist can leave you feeling disappointed or even in pain.

About 50 percent of the US middle-aged population has varicose veins. While they are particularly common among women, men are also able to develop the bulging veins. As such a common condition, one would think that massage therapists would be trained to know how to recognize the condition and what to do when their clients show signs of it, but unfortunately for those of us craving a massage in Atlanta or Marietta, too many masseurs are under-educated about venous disease.

Since your massage therapist might not know what to do, it is best for you to know your own risks when you are considering getting a massage. Massage therapy can have benefits for the vein health of some patients, but for others the relaxation technique should be avoided at all costs.

The Dos and Don’ts of Massage Therapy for Vein Disease

In certain situations, massage techniques can be used as a form of supplemental treatment for spider and varicose veins. While massage cannot replace medical treatment options like sclerotherapy, it can sometimes help alleviate discomfort, but should only be used with your physician’s approval and only by a licensed and experienced massage therapist.

When it comes to getting a massage, here is what you need to know:

  • The Good: If you can find an experienced massage therapist, then you might benefit from getting a massage. While research is weak in the claims that massage is a type of treatment for vein conditions, it can help to alleviate stress and tension that builds up, especially if you stand all day for work. Getting a massage can improve blood circulation by unclogging stagnant blood that might be pooled up in the tissues of your legs.
  • The Bad: If an inexperienced masseuse attempts to give you a rigorous massage, it could result in trauma to the veins. This is not a common result of massage, but the risk is ever present. If you are already at risk of developing a blood clot, then getting a massage might not be a good idea. If a masseuse presses down too hard on a vein, a blood clot or thrombus might develop. A rough massage can cause an existing blood clot to begin to migrate, potentially leading to a pulmonary embolism.

While getting DVT from a massage is unlikely, it is a potential concern that those who have a personal or family history of blood clots should be aware of. If you are thinking of getting a massage, make sure to find a massage therapist in Atlanta that is experienced in helping patients with venous disorders, and that Dr. Perry thinks massage is a good idea for you.


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