Varicose Veins

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Review of Mosby’s Pathology for Massage Therapists 2nd edition, by Salvo and Anderson.

One of the most common medical issues that I have encountered in massage is varicose veins. Although I do have clients fill out an intake form, they usually do not list varicose veins on the form. Although they are normally visual, I am always careful to check and avoid the area if there is a chance they the client has them. According to our text, varicose veins are dilated veins from incompetent valves. The condition can affect superficial or deep veins. Varicose veins are usually located in the legs, but can also be found in esophagus. Blood flow in varicose veins is turbulent and slow, which favors clotting. If varicose veins are present, the area should be avoided if the pressure causes pain or if the client has a history of clot formation. I did not realize that according to our text, less severe varicosities may benefit from massage. The massage should be geared toward reducing edema and venous stasis. The use of alternating gliding strokes toward the heart helps “milk” superficial veins and aids circulation. It was also interesting to read the “spotlight on massage” on page 257 that no research has been conducted linking massage to increasing varicosities.

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