6 Health Benefits from Using a Leg Elevation Pillow
You know that it feels good to put your feet up at the end of the day, but do you know why? Well, it’s not just in your head. Elevating your legs can promote better circulation, reduce swelling and offer many more benefits. Here are six reasons you should start elevating your legs:
1. Encourage Better Circulation
Gravity is super important for life as we know it, but it can adversely impact your extremities. Gravity constantly pulls down on your blood, impeding its flow. If your blood vessels and valves are already compromised, gravity can cause blood to pool in your lower body, reducing your circulation. Elevating your legs helps reverse this process, encouraging the venous blood to flow back towards your core instead. By raising the legs above your heart, you still harness the power of gravity, just to a different effect. Taken in tandem with other lifestyle changes such as regular exercise and wearing compression socks, using a leg elevation pillow can really make a difference for your circulation.
2. Help Reduce Swelling
Gravity doesn’t just affect your circulation. It can also lead to swelling. If you’ve ever spent a long day on your feet, your feet and calves probably looked they were retaining fluid when you were finally able to take your shoes off. Gravity pulls down on the lymph and other fluids in your body, causing them to migrate down and pool in your feet and lower legs. Just like with your circulation, elevating the legs on a pillow helps to reverse this process, causing the fluid to drain from your legs and reducing swelling. If you’re experiencing lower body swelling due to other reasons, such as pregnancy, a leg elevation pillow can also help with that.
3. Lessen Leg and Back Pain
If you spend all day on your feet, you probably find yourself dealing with leg and back pain long after you’ve come home, or maybe even on your days off. Due to the combination of improving circulation and reducing swelling, leg elevation pillows can help significantly with aching legs or a hurting back. If you’re struggling with chronic pain in these areas, as well as the other symptoms listed here, you should consider getting a leg elevation pillow to try at home.
4. Take Pressure off Your Body
Depending on whether you sleep on your back, side or stomach, it puts pressure on different parts of your body. Sleeping on your stomach makes it really difficult to keep your neck and spine straight, and it puts a lot of pressure on your muscles and joints. If you tend to curl up into a fetal position, sleeping on your side can impede your breathing and leave you feeling sore in the morning. Sleeping on your back is often touted as the best position, but even that can put pressure on your brain because of poor venous blood flow. Sleeping with a leg elevation pillow will encourage you to keep your neck and spine straight while promoting good flow to your brain and beyond.
5. Improve Your Sleep
Boosting circulation, reducing swelling, easing pressure on your joints, helping with back and leg pain–all of these factors combine for a better night’s sleep. Swollen, aching legs and a hurting back can keep you up at night, so managing your symptoms can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, as well as increase the quality of your sleep. Plus, elevating your legs is so comfortable you’ll probably find yourself drifting off anyway, even if you (thankfully) don’t have to contend with these other health problems.
6. Promote Recovery from Surgery
After surgery, your doctor will probably tell you to take it easy for several days, or maybe even weeks or months. This bed rest is extremely important because it gives your body the energy it needs to recover and reduces your chances of disturbing the surgical site. However, lying around all day is equally bad for your circulation, and it can actually slow down your recovery (since slow circulation means that nutrients carried in the blood are being delivered to the surgery site less often). Elevating your legs is a great solution to improving circulation while still limiting your movement, per the doctor’s orders.
Elevating your legs is one of the simplest things you can do for your health—you put your feet up and take a nap! Combined with other lifestyle changes, using a leg elevation pillow can improve your circulation, your sleep, your aching legs and more.