The venous system in the body returns deoxygenated blood from all parts of the body, including the organs, to the right side of the heart, and then on to the lungs, to be oxygenated. From the lungs, the oxygenated blood passes to the left part of the heart, to be pumped to all the tissues and organs of the body.
The venous system consists of large and small veins; the large veins tend to lie alongside arteries. Veins are more thin-walled than arteries, they act as a reservoir for blood, and about 75% of the body’s blood is in the venous system.
Many veins have one-way valves to facilitate the flow of blood back to the heart against the force of gravity. This is especially applicable to the veins in the legs, and to a lesser extent, in the arms. The valves work in the same way as one- way swing doors, the blood pushing the valves open as it travels toward the heart; the valves close as blood fills that part of the vein, and prevents backward flow.
Though the legs have superficial veins (under the skin) and deep veins (in the muscles) which carry blood back to the heart, as well as connecting veins known as “perforating veins” (which connect the superficial and deep veins), most of the blood is propelled back to the heart by the deep veins. Blood from the superficial veins mostly travels through the connecting veins to the deep veins and is returned to the heart this way, this is also a one-way system, as the connecting veins have valves as well.
The deep veins are surrounded by muscles enclosed in a fascial sheath. Walking compresses the veins and thrusts the blood back towards the heart.
This is why exercise, especially walking, is so useful in preventing stasis of the blood in the legs, and consequently venous thrombosis.
The one-way valves also help in this process of return of blood, as well as allowing the deep veins to refill from the superficial veins.
Factors that aid venous blood returning to the heart are:
- Muscular Pump: activity of skeletal muscle that surrounds veins. The contraction and relaxation of muscles surrounding deep veins helps to push blood upwards. Valves prevent the return of blood in the other direction, keep blood gowing up towards the heart. Unidirectional Flow.
- People who stand still for a long time à faint because of â venous return to the heart.
- People who stand for a long time à swolled legs and ankles because blood is collecting and there is no skeletal muscle activity à leads to varicose veins.
- Capillary Pressure: pressure difference between capillaries (20 – 25 mmHg) and the heart.
- Breathing (Respiratory Pump): pressure changes in the body cavity during breathing. When we inhale à chest expands à pressure drops à veins squeezed à blood moves into the chest. Abdominal pressure increase à blood goes from the abdomen up to the IVC.
When we exhale blood will not go back because of the valves mentioned above.
- Cardiac Suction: When the ventricle contract à they move down and blood is pushed out. Because the great vessels hold the heart in place à This draws blood into the atria, stretching its walls and decreasing the atrial pressure.
One of the most important oils for strengthening the veins is Cypress (5-10 drops can be added to a warm bath), but Lavender, Juniper or Rosemary are also beneficial. Cypress can be added to a carrier oil or fatty oil like olive, safflower, sunflower, sweet almond in a 3% dilution: 1oz carrier to 20-25 drops of essential oils. See the entry for Dilution Rates.
Oil of garlic, in the form of capsules or perles, is one of the greatest ways of strengthening the circulatory systems, as well as fresh garlic in the diet. Vitamin E and vitamin C can be taken as supplements to boost the Venous System, but in the long term it is necessary to make sure that they are supplied in sufficient amounts in foods.
Back to the top of the page