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  • How to Prevent and Treat Varicose Veins and Spider Veins

    Barista wearing Sockwell SocksWe’ve all seen them on other people’s legs (if not our own) – teeny, tiny blue spider veins, or bulging, rope-like varicose veins. They’re the first sign that your circulatory system is struggling and needs help. Today I’ll walk you through what exactly is happening in your body to cause those sometimes painful and unsightly veins, and what you can do to treat and prevent more from forming. Even if you don’t have spider or varicose veins yet – it’s important to find out how to keep them from showing up. Because – ladies – more than 50% of all women in the USA are affected by venous insufficiency.

    What are varicose veins and spider veins? Varicose and spider veins are swollen veins that usually appear on your legs. They can be blue, red or even flesh toned, and sometimes they can be raised above the skin.

    How do varicose and spider veins form? Varicose and spider veins form when a vein is struggling to push blood back to the heart. If you think back to anatomy class, you’ll remember that the heart pushes oxygenated blood out of the heart through arteries, and then veins bring the blood BACK to the heart for more oxygen. Your legs and feet are below your heart, so your veins must work against gravity to push this blood back up. As we get older, gain weight, and spend more time standing or sitting for long periods of time, our veins have more trouble pushing the blood back to the heart. Blood begins to collect in the veins, which makes them swell and become apparent under the skin. For some people, this is just a cosmetic issue – something you can see on your legs that didn’t use to be there, but for other people these veins can cause throbbing pain and soreness.

    Treatment & Prevention – If you are struggling with pain from your varicose veins, you should speak with a doctor or medical professional. There are a number of surgical procedures that can be done to eliminate both varicose and spider veins, but there are also some less invasive strategies.

    1.  Compression socks – Compression socks relieve the pressure on the veins in your legs and help push blood back up to your heart. They’re comfortable and will actually leave you feeling more energized throughout the day. You’ll find that a lot of professions that require standing for long periods of time wear compression socks all day – nurses, waitresses, chefs, sales people, and more. It's easy to integrate compression socks into your every day outfits nowadays because so many brands are offering cute styles.

    2. Elevate your legs when possible. Some doctors have suggested keeping a footstool under your desk so that you can raise your feet and legs during the day while sitting.

    3. Maintain a healthy weight – too much weight on your legs can cause circulatory problems.

    4. Regular exercise can strengthen the leg muscles that help support your circulatory system.

    For many women, varicose veins are genetic. If your mom had them, you're more than likely to have them too. So, start taking steps to prevent them today!

    Brita on Google+

  • How Can I Wear Compression Socks in Spring and Summer?

    I get it – you love the feeling of wearing compression socks, but how can you possibly pull the look off in warmer weather? I wondered that myself too – having really just discovered the joys of compression socks this fall when I could wear them with jeans and boots; and switch socks out for opaque compression stockings with my dresses and skirts.

    Luckily for you and me and all the compression fans out there – Spring 2014 fashion trends are really favoring socks! Many designers had their models walking in socks and flats during Fashion Week and Elle featured a story on how to pair socks with heels.

    I’ve put together a Pinterest board of my favorite sock looks for Spring and Summer. Check out my finds on Pinterest – and see some of my favorite looks below. What do you think? Can you rock these looks?

    Socks with Loafers and Jeans

    While it's still a bit chilly outside, pair your spring loafers with knee high socks. Try with a cute polka dot sock from Sockwell.

    Patterned socks with a LBD

    Love your little black dress for work? Pair the dress with some patterned knee high socks. Try a subtle diamond pattern from RejuvaHealth or a funky argyle from Vim&Vigr.

    Sheer Dot Stockings with Shorts

    Little lace shorts are adorable for spring. Not ready to show off your untanned winter legs? Throw on a pair of sheer stockings with your short shorts. Try RejuvaHealth's sheer dot stockings.

    Black Knee Highs with a Skrit

    And of course, everyone should have a pair of black knee highs that they can pair with a skirt. Try Therafirm's cute and affordable diamond weave socks in black.

    Remember - wearing compression improves the health of your legs and body. Compression improves circulation to prevent varicose and spider veins from forming. Compression socks and stockings can also prevent DVT during long trips, and swelling in ankles and feet after a long day of work. So, don't give up your compression socks and stockings as the weather warms up. Look for ways to keep those happy, healthy legs fashionable.

  • Stars are just like us - they wear compression socks!

    lupita-1-1In the most recent issue of Glamour Magazine, the gorgeous Lupita N'yongo spoke about her 12 Years a Slave role and gave readers a run down on her favorite beauty products and tips. For skin, she said that using natural oils was her go-to strategy. "I use avocado oil and Hawaiian kukui oil on my face."

    But her best tip on fashion and wellness? Compression socks for flights!

    GLAMOUR: Any parting fashion tips?

    LN: On a very practical level, I’ve learned the importance of circulation socks [for planes]. I had this awful experience of getting off a flight to go to an event and my feet had swelled. Try getting into heels then! So you put on the socks for the flight, then you can wear whatever heels you want.

    To read the entire article, visit Glamour.com.

    Brita on Google+

  • Recovery from Triathlons, Marathons and Races

    Sigvaris Compression SleevesRacing, whether on a bike or on your feet, can be brutal on your body. It’s crucial to take care of yourself after your race or workout to prevent pain and injury. While there seems to be no definitive answer on what THE BEST recovery solution is, I’ve compiled a list after scouring athletic sites and magazines.

    1. Foam roller: If you haven’t used one of these on your shins or quads, you are missing out. It’s hard to describe the feeling – maybe a very firm massage on your sore muscles? It releases an incredible amount of tension in the muscles. The Guardian has a great article on how to use the foam roller.

    2. Proper diet: Every athlete has their different go-to meal post workout, but most people will agree: water, a mean that combines carbohydrates and proteins (4:1 ratio), and vitamins (omega3, vitamins E and C). Check these articles for recommendations on meals: Runners World and USNews

    3. Compression socks:  Wearing compression socks after a run will increase circulation and move lactic acid away from the muscles, to prevent soreness. Some athletes wear their compression socks for up to 3 days after a big race or intense workout. Luckily there are some work appropriate ones, so you don't have to wear your neon sport stripes to the office!

    Brita on Google+

  • Can I sleep in compression socks or sleeves?

    Compression Sleeves

    Compression socks and compression sleeves are amazing tools for recovery after an intense run, cycle, yoga session, or whatever your favorite workout is. Compression keeps your blood pumping to recovering muscle groups and clears away the lactic acid that causes soreness. But, NOT all compression socks and sleeves are designed for recovery, resting or sleeping. Let me explain...

    First, let’s focus on compression sleeves. Compression leg sleeves or calf sleeves are similar to socks, but without the foot portion.  They come in a variety of compression levels. Mild compression leg sleeves provide 15-20 mmHg compression and are great for wearing before you run, during your run and after. This mild compression level helps to speed up muscle recovery so your legs don't hurt after a long run or gym workout. Moderate level compression sleeves that provide 20-30 mmHg compression should only be worn DURING your work out to boost performance and protect against injury like shin splints. The stronger level of compression is amazing for enhancing your performance, but it can actually cause foot swelling if you continue to wear it after your work out. The extra tight compression at your ankle can become a tourniquet, blocking blood flow from your ankle to your foot.  Bottom line: be careful to check your sleeve’s compression level before you use it for recovery.  These Core-Sport sleeves are perfect for recovery.

    So, now you might ask – what about the moderate compression SOCKS you sell? Does compression level matter for those? Well, you CAN wear mild and moderate compression socks before, during and after your work out. Because socks have the foot portion attached, there’s no risk of foot swelling or cutting off circulation. Wear those bad boys all day long if you want.

    Now - the most important question of all - can you sleep in your compression socks or sleeves? The answer is - No, not if you are a generally healthy person.  I know I’ve heard runners and athletes swear by sleeping in their compression socks before and after a big race day, but really it’s not safe.  Graduated compression is meant to be worn when you’re awake and moving around. It’s providing a constant amount of pressure to your circulatory system to fight gravity and pump that blood back to your heart. When you’re lying down, fully horizontal for a long period of time, your circulatory system doesn’t have to fight gravity. That pressure applied to your ankle and calf during the night can cut your circulation off. Now, some people do need to wear compression socks at night because of health issues or post-surgery. Even in these instances, you should only be wearing the lowest compression available (below 15 mmhg).  Do not wear your athletic compression socks and sleeves to bed – the compression level is too high.

    If you have any questions, please let me know!

    Brita on Google+

  • Best Travel Compression Socks

    Long before I worked at BrightLife Go and learned about the wonders of compression socks, I flew back and forth from Moscow, Russia fairly frequently. About 3 hours into the flight my legs would start to cramp up. Crossing my legs, crossing my ankles, stretching my legs into the aisle, taking my shoes off, walking to the bathroom...no amount of flexing or standing up could really relieve the achiness that set in. A few times, I noticed my feet and ankles were puffy and swollen looking when I landed, but because I was young and thought I was fairly invincible, I never really worried about it. I basically chalked the discomfort up to sitting in Economy.

    Now, knowing a great deal about the circulatory system - I know exactly what was happening. The reason our legs and feet get so sore during long flights, train rides, and car rides is that our muscles are not being flexed or used, therefore blood is simply pooling in our leg veins. This can cause a heavy, sore feeling in our legs, and swelling in our ankles and feet. If you’re at higher risk for blood clots, are overweight, or you have notoriously poor circulation, this could lead to more serious problems like Deep Vein Thrombosis. A number of celebrities, who are frequently on long-distance flights, have had serious medical complications due to blood clots. Nene Leakes, Serena Williams and Hillary Clinton to name a few.

    There are a number of ways to increase circulation when you’re on a long trip. First – get up and move! Stand up and walk the aisles when possible. Unfortunately, that’s not always an option if the seat-belt light is on or if you're like me and frequently forget to check-in to the aisle seat 24-hours ahead of your flight. The easiest way to increase circulation is by wearing compression socks or stockings, often simply called “travel socks.” Travel compression socks provide graduated compression from your feet to your knee. This increases circulation naturally, coaxing the blood to flow back to your heart, instead of getting trapped in your legs and feet.

    Here are a few things to look for when you are looking for compression socks or stockings for flying:

    1. Medical-grade compression socks will have a compression rating of 20-30 mmHg or 30-40 mmHg, but for traveling, it’s just fine to wear socks that have a compression rating of 15-20 mmHg. These ratings simply tell how tightly the compression socks will squeeze your leg (i.e. 15-20 mmHg is a lighter compression than 30-40 mmHg, which will feel much tighter on your legs).

    2. Find socks that come in graduated compression. This means that the compression will be tighter at the bottom, at your ankle, and will gradually become looser as the sock extends up your leg. This will help return blood to your heart. Everything that we sell on BrightLife Go has graduated compression because we know it's an important feature in compression socks.

    3. Pay attention to the material the socks are made out of. Customers tend to find cotton socks more plush and comfortable. Polyester, nylon, merino wool, and fabrics embedded with copper and silver are great for absorbing excess moisture on the skin and decreasing foot odor. If you're someone who likes to take their shoes of mid-flight - this might be something to consider. No one wants to share a plan with stinky feet!

    4. Socks don’t have to be labeled as “Travel Socks” to be used on a long trip. You only need to find socks with approximately 15-20 mmHg of compression, and a crew or knee high length. If you find stockings or tights more comfortable – simply look for a soft pair of 15-20 mmHg stockings.

    If you think of "compression socks" and immediately picture the thick flesh-colored tights your grandmother wears, you will be pleasantly surprised with the variety of styles and patterns available nowadays. No one will ever know you're wearing compression!

    Here are a few of our favorite travel sock options, all in 15-20 mmHg:

    VIM&VIGR Cotton Socks - These socks are soft and stretchy and really cute.
    Sockwell Circulator Socks - Striped socks never go out of style, and the cashmerino fabric is incredibly soft. Perfect for taking a long flight nap.

  • 10 Reasons You Should Wear Compression

    1. Work out as hard as you can and feel great the next day. Studies show wearing compression socks during and after intense physical activity speeds up recovery, so you'll be fresh the next day.


    2. You work hard and sometimes you feel it in your legs and feet at the end of the day. Compression socks will energize those legs and prevent that tired, achy feeling.

    3. Because it's an experience you can share with your grandparents. Grandmas and grandpas have been sporting compression socks for decades to improve their circulation. They're trendsetters and they're going to love commiserating with you about pulling those compression socks on.

    4. Remember that time Heidi Klum dressed like an old lady for Halloween, complete with varicose and spider veins on her legs? Well, Heidi should know that she can prevent those visible blue veins by wearing compression socks now.

    Heidi Klum Halloween

    5. Flight attendants wear them. Long periods of travel increase your risk of blood clots and Deep Vein Thrombosis. Recent sufferers of travel related blood clots include NeNe Leakes and Serena Williams! Compression socks and stockings help prevent blood clots and DVT.

    6. They're FDA approved!

    7. Buy American! I bet you didn't realize that the USA still has a huge knitting industry here. Sockwell, Therafirm, CEP, Preggers, Juzo and more are all made right here, so you can feel great about purchasing socks and supporting American industry.

    8. You can skip shaving your legs and throw on knee highs or stockings instead! Alternatively, you can leave this site and purchase some stockings WITH hair:

    Stockings for girls that make your legs look like they are covered in hair, to prevent against perverts and lechers.

    9. The US Olympic Hockey team is wearing them in Sochi - it doesn't get any tougher than that.


    10. Because if you can't get a koala to hug your legs, compression socks are the next best thing.


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