We all know that a pillow for leg elevation elevates your legs. But why is leg elevation so important to your health? Here are 4 quick reasons why everyone should spend time daily on a leg elevation wedge.
1. Helps Circulation
We spend much of each day in gravity dependent positions. This means that while we are standing or sitting, our body systems are working hard to overcome the effects of gravity. The circulatory system is one such system.
First, our hearts pump blood to the outermost parts of our bodies. Then, our veins must work against gravity to get our blood back to our heart. Our precious veins work hard all day every day to return blood back to our heart. They can’t quit or take a break when they get tired.
Our veins are like machines, and all machines need care and maintenance to thrive. This is where leg elevation comes in. A pillow for leg elevation is a tool that gives our veins a much needed and much deserved break each day. When you elevate your legs on a leg elevation wedge, it is like oiling up a machine to keep it functioning optimally.
Elevating your legs on a leg elevation wedge for 15-20 minutes each day makes it easier for your veins to return blood to your heart. For those precious minutes they don’t have to fight against gravity. When you elevate, you are making gravity work for your veins, and let’s face it, they have earned a break. Plus, taking care of your veins will help them keep working for you for years to come.
2. Decreases feet and leg swelling
Sometimes, we get swelling in our legs and feet. This can be due to a surgery or trauma, a long day of sitting or standing, pregnancy, or anything else that causes decreased venous function. Regardless of the cause, increased fluid in our legs and feet is downright uncomfortable.
A pillow for leg elevation is an important tool for managing feet and leg swelling. Elevating your legs uses gravity to help blood and fluid flow more easily back to your heart. Getting fluid out of your legs helps prevent (or treat) varicose veins and decreases pain and stiffness due to swelling.
3. Alleviates back pain
Did you know that lying flat on your back could be the source of your back pain? As a physical therapist, 99.9% of the patients I treated had tight hip flexors. Honestly, it is virtually impossible for anyone to not have at least some hip flexor tightness. This means, you likely have some hip flexor tightness, and that means when you lie down flat, your hip flexors are pulling your lower back into an arch.
When your lower back is pulled into an arch, it tightens your back muscles and causes your back to feel stiff in the mornings. It also narrows the space between the vertebrae in your spine during the night which can lead to stiffness and pain. Most people should avoid lying flat on their back for this reason.
This is why a pillow for leg elevation is essential for back sleepers. Resting your legs on a pillow for leg elevation takes away the arch in your low back. Instead of your hip flexors pulling your back into an arch, a leg elevation wedge puts them at rest. When your hip flexors are at rest, your back is at rest, and you wake up feeling limber and loose instead of stiff and sore.
4. Increases mindfulness
Are you busy? Are you tired? Are you pulled in a thousand directions? The answer is probably yes. No matter your stage of life, you are hard at work impacting the world in the best ways that you can. You have value to offer your community and are working to share your talents to make the world a better place.
Just like your physical body needs proverbial oil to keep working properly, a healthy mind also requires proverbial oil. That means you need to get out of your comfort zone and take care of yourself a little bit each day. For most people, getting out of their comfort zone means resting. Mindful rest is uncomfortable because we never do it. But mindful rest is healing for the body and for your mind.
When you take 15 minutes to elevate your legs, you are increasing your blood flow, toxins are flushing out of your body, and oxygen is being delivered to those cells that need perking up. While your body is physically restoring itself, you can also give your mind the gift of restoration. There is no better time to mentally restore than when you are physically restoring on your leg wedge.
A pillow for leg elevation stimulates mindfulness and healing. It helps your body recover physically and mentally. You give so much to the world each day, give back just a little bit to your body. That’s one thing that will keep you going for the long haul.
-Hillary Blare, Doctor of Physical Therapy