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With varicose veins, you don’t have proper blood flow in your veins, which leads to swelling, pain, and discomfort. However, there is a tried and true way to get your blood flowing again – acupuncture. Acupuncture for varicose veins is safe and works wonders at restoring energy, easing discomfort, and more.

What is Acupuncture?

Close-up Of Doctor's Hand Performing Acupuncture Therapy On Customer's Leg At Salon

Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine where tiny needles are shallowly inserted into your skin along your body’s meridians, or energy points. The needles activate and rebalance your body’s qi (energy) and route it to parts of your body that need it, such as an injured area.

Acupuncture can also stimulate nerves and help activate your body’s natural painkillers. It’s used to treat everything from chronic pain to depression, anxiety, brain fog, sports injuries, and even varicose veins

How Does Acupuncture Help Varicose Veins?

When you have vein disease, you have stagnant or backward blood flow (stasis) in your legs. 

In Chinese medicine, blood stasis is the root cause of many ailments and conditions. The belief is that blood is energy, and without proper flow, your body is unable to heal. With acupuncture, emphasis is placed on reinvigorating blood flow to the areas of your body that need it.

The clearance of blood stasis helps with the symptoms of vein disease. Improved blood flow can take stress off of your veins and can possibly slow the progression of varicose veins. Although acupuncture likely will not cure vein issues completely, it can be used as a symptom management strategy or in combination with professional vein treatments or procedures.

Buyang Huanwu for Varicose Veins

Buyang Huanwu, an herbal extract mix, has been extensively studied for treating vein disease. This centuries-old Chinese herbal medicine (going back to the Qing Dynasty) is used in stroke and vascular patients, and researchers say it can help restore blood flow. Buyang Huanwu is also known to reactivate qui and replenish blood, making it a popular add-on treatment for acupuncture.

Another study suggests that this herbal mix can cause new blood vessels to form, protect your nerves, and prevent cell death. Buyang Huanwu is also shown to reduce inflammation, and in the studies we reviewed, patients treated with Buyang Huanwu had very few adverse side effects. 

We also recommend other herbs for vein health including gingko biloba and horse chestnut.

My Personal Experience with Leg Acupuncture

As someone who has used acupuncture on my legs, I can say that this really works. During my treatment, more than a dozen tiny needles were inserted on each leg. I never thought I’d say this about needles, but it was such a relaxing experience, like going in for a massage. After a few seconds, I started to feel the blood flow, and it was incredible. It’s like feeling light bursts of life and energy flowing up and down your legs. In my head, I was imagining a now free-flowing, traffic-free two-lane highway in my legs.

This was also years before I knew that my restless leg symptoms were actually signs of vein disease. I did go back for three additional treatments, but my symptoms were definitely alleviated, and I actually had several symptom-free weeks after my course of treatment. However, the symptoms do end up returning after a while.

If you are experiencing a “gurgling” feeling in your legs, or have twitching, swelling, or discomfort, you may want to try acupuncture until you are ready for professional vein treatment. You can even continue acupuncture after any professional treatment to help the new blood flow in your healthy veins. If you are concerned about vein disease, set up a free consultation with one of our expert vein providers!

Hannah Kohut is Content Editor for Vein Treatment Forum