I’m gearing up for The Pure + Simple Annual Midnight Madness Sale with a good old pair of compression stockings, as I know that I will be standing (or running rather) for a long time today. Yes, working in retail definitely can keep you active, but before you envision all us Pure + Simple-ites staying fit on our feet in our Reebok Easy Tones (actually a staff fav) – I have two words for you: varicose veins. No, retail is not great for beauty, and I, the ever the vain, paranoid android, know that this much pressure on the legs causes spider and varicose veins. Spider veins and varicose veins occur when the valves of our veins become weak and let blood leak back into them instead of being pumped toward the heart. Our vein walls become loose and enlarged, causing varicose veins.
That’s why I plan to wear a pair of my trusty compression stockings – socks that have added pressure so they keep the legs and veins from swelling and going varicose. These are also good when taking long plane flights as you end up sitting for hours without being able to move around and send circulation to the lower part of your body. Often, women get swollen ankles when traveling because of this, so a pair of compression socks are handy. And, if you sit at a computer all day, you’re in the same sedentary position as when flying – trying a pair of these every once in a while here too helps alleviate daily leg pressure.
But pressure on our veins from our work set up or being a globe trotter aren’t the only causes. Pressure can be from cellulite, water retention, and/or accumulated fat around the vein (this is why they are usually in the legs). Since the legs are in the lower body, it takes more effort (pressure) for the body to pump blood to the heart (this is why cellulite and edema are also in the lower body primarily).
You can’t prevent anything you don’t understand, so below is a more detailed account of these causes/ vein factors:
Cellulite, it cuts off our circulation. This dimpled fat gets its uneven appearance as it pushes up against the surface of our bodies, causing our fat layer to cut into our blood vessels. Injuring our vein walls, cellulite also impedes circulation. Excess fats around the vein are another cause. Decreasing fats and excess protein in our diet will reduce and prevent spider and varicose veins, as well as drinking plenty of water which helps flush out excess cholesterol and alleviates water retention and cellulite.
Water retention. A major factor in cellulite, water retention also prevents the body from detoxifying itself. Retaining and storing fluid, it hinders self-cleansing. Excess water also puts pressure on our veins. Whether it is from a fat structure of cellulite, water- bloated cells or lymph pushing on the vein wall, it will cause damage. Promoting circulation to move and transport toxins, fluid, fat is also excellent. While regular exercise is a must, placing alternating hot and cold towels on the legs helps boost circulation as the circulatory system responds to the fluctuating temperatures.
The downward nature of water causes pressure. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, yin energy is descending. Water is downward flowing, and the yin properties of water make the fluid in our bodies settle in the lower body (there is also often damaged veins and water retention in the feet). This edema causes pressure and encourages cellulite, helping the formation of spider and varicose veins. Elevating the feet and legs to let blood flow upward has also been said to relieve the legs and veins.
Again, compression socks can really help fight against the gravity of water-retention. While they don’t look like the more glamorous stockings, they aren’t half bad. One of my clients has them in many different colors and says she’s even found that they look kinda “sexy”. Me? I stick to basic black, and I don’t care much about them having a hotness factor, as long as they keep my legs looking hot and vein-free.