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Give me any and all tips for improving lymph drainage


Quill
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I am not doing the greatest job of Keeping lymphedema and cording at bay since my surgery in Oct 2018. I’m doing all sorts of antics to help, including daily scar massage, daily breast cancer recovery exercises, daily yoga, weight lifting 3x week, wearing a compression vest, daily use of a Jovi insert (designed to channel lymph fluid away),  and now I just started wearing a compression bodysuit because I developed a cord at the compression vest band. 🤪

If anyone has ANY other ideas, no matter how wild - teas I can drink, any type of brushing or device, praying the rosary, whatever 🙃 - give me ideas. My PT suggested buying a body compression pump machine but now that a new year has begun, I would pay over $4,000 before any insurance benefit would apply. So I have tabled that idea for later in the year, if I do that at all. 
 

So hit me with any ideas you might have about improving lymph drainage function through any means. Thanks! 

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1 hour ago, alisoncooks said:

One of the reported benefits of rebounding is improved lymph flow. Don't know if that's woo/quackery or if it's proven. 

Absolutely 100% worked for me.

After a respiratory virus, I had a tender, swollen lymph gland in my groin (sorry) for *months*. It was super worrisome to me. I saw both my primary care doctor and my ob/gyn about it several times and tried several different antibiotics. Nothing worked.

I read that rebounding on a mini-trampoline would help and I started doing it faithfully. I couldn't believe it--the pain went away and the gland went back to normal size. I think I saw an improvement within a week. 

For a while if I stopped rebounding, the gland would start hurting again, like it had filled back up. Rebounding always took care of it, sometimes quickly. I don't have any problems with the gland anymore except when myself or someone in the house is coming down with something, then once in a while it will ache (sometimes before anyone has any symptoms!). 

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This is years ago, but I knew someone who was helped by sleeping with her arm on a pillow, and I think she slept propped up on pillows also.  I don't know that she was helped exceptionally but it was better than when she didn't.  Good luck, I hope you find something that works really well for you!  

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1 hour ago, Ktgrok said:

Aren't there therapists who do lymph massage?

Also, just guessing, but deep water immersion. 

I don’t know for certain, but I’m guessing yes. I’m trying to find solutions that are DIY, though. 

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2 hours ago, Quill said:

I don’t know for certain, but I’m guessing yes. I’m trying to find solutions that are DIY, though. 

Ah, okay. I just knew I'd seen lymph massage advertised by some massage places. 

This is for DIY though  https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-perform-lymphatic-drainage-massage#treatment and I saw a bunch of videos on self lymphatic massage on youtube. 

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Ok, now that I'm actually awake (posted before when woken by a dog that had pooped on my floor - for the second morning in a row) it seems my guess of water immersion is correct! i vaguely remembered something about that from when I was pregnant. 

"Importantly, the pressure gradient by water exceeds the pressure gradient by compression garments. Hydrostatic pressure increases directly with the depth of water. When immersing in water, the addition of each centimeter of depth will increase the hydrostatic pressure by 0.73 mmHg (1.85 mmHg/inch). For example, the pressure on feet at a depth of 100 centimeter, would be 73 mmHg (more than a pressure applied by a class 3 compression garment). Similarly, the hydrostatic pressure on a hand vertically immersed in water at a depth of 60 centimeters would be 44mmHg (more than a pressure applied by a class 2 compression garment). This pressure is pleasant and imperceptible. In addition, the pressure exerted on a body that is immersed in water is equal from all directions at every depth. This is of utmost importance as some parts of the body (i.e. chest & breast, genitals, ankle & wrist, fingers & toes) often do not experience equalized pressure by compression garment or by bandaging."

http://www.aqua-lymphatic-therapy.com/Water-_is_it_good_for_your_lymphedema.pdf

So basically, if there is a pool available to you where you can stand/walk at shoulder deep that would be good. And since your swelling is at the chest level might be helpful to swim down deep underwater a few times if you can. But what I'm reading is that treating the WHOLE lymphatic system, not just the area with swelling, is important as a blockage in a totally different area could be causing the backup or at least aggravating it, since it all drains one direction for the most part. So getting that pressure on your feet/legs/etc would also be helpful. 

I will warn you, that if you have significant swelling and it helps, you may want to be sure there is a bathroom near by. I don't know how it would compare to lymphatic fluid being reabsorbed, but with interstitial fluid like with pregnancy swelling (my feet literally swished as I walked - yay hypertension of pregnancy and Florida heat/humidity) the water immersion helped squeeze that fluid back into the capillaries/blood vessels and then my body was quite prompt about processing it into urine. As in, I'd go before getting in and BARELY make it through a 1 hour water aerobics before needing to waddle back to the bathroom, and then I'd get dressed and need to go again, and then again after picking up the kids from the daycare, lol. Just a warning - may not effect you that way. 

If you don't have other access to a pool a lot of gyms have heated pools for lap swimming and some use them for lap walking instead, or just standing, and a day pass isn't too expensive to try it once. Or often they have a free trial gym membership - could sign up for a free week trial just to see if it seems to help at all. 

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I use deep water exercise to control swelling...you really want something at least 12’ deep. I do much better with that than I do shoulder depth. My best control was when I did 17’ deep water for an hour a day, doing gentle water aerobics at the same time.

You can generally find a class for this labeled under certified arthritis class in your local parks & Rec/community center class schedule.

I would try rebounding first though since your problem doesn’t seem to be overall fluid control, just movement of lymph.

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15 minutes ago, Liz CA said:

You mentioned scar massage but are you also doing actual lymph drainage massage? There are diagrams online of how to do this.

When I had lymph drainage issues in my leg after surgery, I also used this supplement:  Nature's Sunshine Lymph Drainage

I think I am but I’m sure my technique needs refinement. 

I’m all for supplements. 👍

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have reactive lymph nodes since Jan 4th (might be there before but I didn’t notice). Had a follow up oncologist appointment yesterday for the lymph nodes and he said the nodes has decreased in size and number of them. 

What surprised me was that my oncologist told me to avoid touching the swollen lymph nodes as it would make the lymph nodes swell more.

Since my lymph nodes swelling coincided with me having a cold, drinking coconut water to detox and taking sambucus elderberry syrup for the cold, has been helpful. I have problems drinking water since I was a kid due to overactive gag reflux so I am using coconut water for hydration as well.

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Back when I was a massage therapist, we learned something specific called lymphatic drainage massage. I'm not sure how easy it is to do on one's self though.  If there are LMTs in your area, they may be able to split a session... half in treating you, half in helping you with your technique.

Dry brushing might help.  It's an ayurvedic technique.  It was big back then (30 years ago).  It's best if you can feel the brush before you buy IMHO...but you can buy brushes on Amazon.  Some Indian grocery stores may carry them as well.

 

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