Exercise to help your lymphatics..

From time to time I am asked by people if they can write an article for this blog, some I refuse and others I accept. This is an article about Rebounding as a way to help the lymphatics. I was once told that 15 minutes a day jumping on a mini trampoline would be great for my lymphedema. I gave it a go and was amazed that it was hard work!!  But it felt good … I am aware that some of you would not be able to do this exercise but for others it is something different to do at home. I think you can also get mini trampolines with a handle for support.



Rebounding & your Lymph System … Health Benefits Galore!

As you may know, your lymph system plays a vital role in your body’s ability to fight disease and self-maintenance. But, unlike your circulatory system, there is no “motor” to get your lymph system revved up and your lymph moving. There are various self-care methods you can use to stimulate your lymph, including manual lymph drainage, skincare, and exercise. Exercise is extremely important, as not only does it benefit your overall health, but can help relieve some of they symptoms of lymphedema and other lymphatic disorders. If you are living with lymphedema, make your exercise time count with efficient exercises that impact your lymph system. Lymph in your body flows vertically, meaning traditional exercises such as running won’t be as effective as you would like with getting your lymph moving. Focus on vertically oriented activities that use the force of gravity, such as jumping jacks and rebounding. Rebounding is just a fancy term for bouncing on a trampoline, and it can have tremendous benefits including increasing your lymph flow and improving your overall health. In this infographic from Rebounder Zone, you can see the wide-ranging positive impact rebounding can create for your body. Don’t let a sluggish lymph system prevent you from living the active life you want and enjoying the health you deserve!
Leonard J. Parker III
Business Development Manager
Rebounder Zone

Juzo’s “Keep Moving Movement” has begun!

Thanks so much for sharing this on your blog… It is so important that we who have Lymphedema never forget to keep moving as that is part of helping the lymphatics to work better. Any type of exercise is good .. I like to walk and walk in a pool or do water aerobics… Tell Juzo what you like to do … Thank you I have reblogged this 😃😃😃

The Lymphie Life

The month of March is Lymphedema Awareness Month, and to celebrate, the compression gear manufacturer Juzo is starting a movement. A woman working with the Juzo movement explained to me that the Keep Moving Movement is “designed to create an inspiring community filled with uplifting stories and journeys from Lymphedema patients as well as those with circulation, swelling, and other venous conditions.”

The Movement is a contest where entrants stand to win a grand prize of $5,000 “to use to improve his/her mind, body & soul.” The Second Place winner will receive a yoga retreat valued at $1,500, and Third Place will receive a Keep Moving Prize Pack valued at $500. Amazing prizes aside, the contest is an awesome opportunity to spread awareness and inspiration through sharing yourown personal story with the lymphedema community.

So what do you think – are you interested? If so, here’s how to get involved:

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It’s not just about the leg.. I’ve hit a wall!!



Well for starters I thought it was time you saw my face and not just my legs!!!

It is four months since my surgery, on 14th March 2013, to have Lymph Nodes transferred from neck to knee to treat the Lymphoedema in my left leg. Due to the nature of blogs you will need to go back to the archives for March to read the initial posts re surgery.

I started this blog because I wanted to document mine and others journey’s through this very new surgery, Lymph Node Transfer. When I looked on the Internet I could find no information from patients or on post surgery progress. The videos I saw seemed to say patients had the surgery and then everything was ok!!! Often without a timeline to give an accurate perspective. At first I was going to keep a diary, as the first surgery to a leg in Australia, however I thought… What good is a diary hidden in a drawer? ….. so my blog was born with the help of my daughter.

While you are here please explore the other posts, as there is a great deal of information about and for Lymphoedema. Non of this replaces however an assessment and diagnosis by a doctor, preferably one who understands Lymphoedema!! Also a Lymphatic therapist can set you on the right track for the use of Manual Lymph Drainage, bandaging and compression garments. It is important that compression garments are correctly fitted, so as not to cause more problems. There are some great videos which help you to do self massage and exercises at home.

However as we all know this is a 24/7 battle to keep limbs as best we can… Surgery offers a ray of hope, though at this stage it is very new, but it certainly brings a light to the future. I give no opinion on the surgery other than to document progress in an open and honest way and allow others to make their own opinions. I will say the results are slow and it can take up to two years for the transferred nodes to grow. Everyone has a different story, different results and different progress, every doctor has a different protocol. Results for nodes transferred to arms is different to legs given the larger area and the pull of gravity. My experience is with my leg so I would love to hear someone’s personal experience with a transfer to the arm.

So far we are following the progress of Sue, Jennifer, Lori, Jessica, Christine and myself. There is also an inspirational story of Amy through her Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ninjas-Fighting-Lymphedema/110454419138265?ref=ts&fref=ts Ninjas Fighting Lymphedema… A must “like.” Via the Internet we are able to support and encourage each other so as not to feel so alone. When surgery is new there are few people to ask or talk to so this little “leg club” is great, it is something I never realised would be such a help when I started my blog. What we share is an emotional roller coaster of hope and expectation!

Before I finish, as I said in the title, I’ve hit a wall, not going forward or back but have reached a plateau! The doctor had said it was ok for me to start to swim again, but for a while I have been a little anxious about another infection, as this is why I stopped going to a pool in the past. However I found one that appears very, very clean and change rooms checked regularly, there is a pool nearer but it is not so well looked after, so I have been going to South Sydney Juniors. The best thing is that it is quiet and usually I can get a lane to myself, in the middle of the day, so no pressure to go fast. I spend thirty minutes, at least, walking in the water and treading water. This ensures that the legs are down and therefore the waters natural compression comes into play, more at the ankles and then less going up the body. This pool is also good as even in the shallow end the water is up to my arm pits thus stimulating the nodes in the whole body. I do enjoy the time spent with no compression or wraps on and I feel it helps my whole body to get stronger. After I drink plenty of water to help flush out the toxins from the body. Being in the water the limbs stay cool especially when it is to hot outside for walking…I know many of you feel a bit embarrassed to go to a pool but there are all shapes and sizes and once in the water no one sees you and everyone is focused on their own thing! Well I will see if this helps to get me over the wall and on to the other side!!

Anyone who has a story of Lymphedema I would love to hear from you either in the comments or by email helenbrd@bigpond.net.au if you are happy to share your story as a post just let me know. I hope to bring you further updates from everyone soon..


Photo South Sydney Juniors

Deep Lymphatic Drainage …. Update

imageI originally wrote about going for a session of Deep Lymphatic Drainage a couple of weeks ago. Yesterday I went for my third session and as promised I am now following up, as the therapy is a little different to usual MLD!!

Prior to seeing Shan at Shan Therapy I had been attending Macquarie Uni Hospital physiotherapy department for MLD and follow up post surgery care. The problem was there did not seem to be a protocol for this, as some doctors have overseas. Dr Massey likes all her patients to bandage and do MLD for three months after surgery… 24/7…. I found myself trying  this and trying that and I found that when I asked question I was given the “I don’t know” answer and the problems I was having with my knee after the surgery were also not being addressed. However my leg did reduce from the post surgical swelling using Ready Wraps and compression stockings and weekly MLD,  but then it just got to a plateau and my knee was worse than pre surgery, which was very scary.  It is not always good to be the first and to “blaze the trail”. I decided that I needed to find some help for myself. My body was feeling congested, I was struggling emotionally. I started to question why I would have had this surgery, being the first in Australia I had no one to relate to and felt quite alone. Thank goodness for the Internet and this blog which has allowed me to contact fellow patients overseas which has really helped. We call ourselves “the leg ladies.”


Visiting Shan for the third time I felt like I was returning to a safe haven, where someone would listen to me and help. At the start of each session we talk about what has happened as a result of the previous session, how is the leg,  how does the treatment need to be adjusted to make the most impact. I think that this is the difference in conventional MLD, as the therapy is always the same, at the hospital the work was all about the leg and not my whole body and we reached a stage where no more could be done. The lymphatics are all one network, each area affecting another, if they are not in balance you have no hope of helping the problem limb. Deep Lymphatic Therapy is MLD with extras!!!!

Once again I was laying on a bed of magnetised water and also around my head, Crystal Quartz were taped to all the main areas of lymph nodes. Shan said she would take a picture of me but not sure I am ready to share that picture on my blog!! Again Shan starts to work on the nodes and pathways using a Crystal Quartz wand, this feels warm, first the left arm is cleared then left leg, right leg and finally right arm. Each area is checked to see if it feels lighter when lifted and only then does Shan move on to the next limb. I am also given essential oils to inhale, these vary but we have used, Wild Lavender, Peppermint, Fennel, Fragonia and Ylang Ylang, dependent on what Shan feels is needed. The session lasts two hours and during it I have water to drink and before a detox tea of lemon, ginger, dandelion and honey. By the end I am ready to go to the loo!!!! I know some of you are reading this and going, “What is she doing, has she gone quite mad!” There are times that we don’t always understand why things work, but just have to except that it does and also that there are people who have the ability to heal. Some MLD therapist have been in touch with me and find it very difficult to acknowledge this therapy, but I say I have the results!! I now have two ankles the same size, the knee and thigh are reducing and look much better, my tummy and groin area have reduced, I notice this especially in the morning, I don’t feel congested anymore, I feel better mentally, I feel supported and best of all Shan has an answer for my knee!!! When you have surgery there is scar tissue, the muscle sheath or fascia can get puckered or gathered and this leads to the kneecap not tracking properly when you move it. Makes perfect sense as below my knee cap you can see a tight line, Shan is now working to release this and in time my knee should return to normal. All I can say is why could neither a doctor or physiotherapist recognise this or listen to my repeated, “There is something wrong with my knee when I walk!”  I also have exercises to improve the numbness in my lower leg and foot.

I  think that what is working is the holistic approach to my Lymphoedema in conjunction with the transplanted nodes, which are supported while they grow.  The use of different modalities including medical and alternative are all helping. I don’t believe that my Lymphoedema will ever be “cured” but I do believe it will be greatly improved and easier to manage…. A cure would be a wonderful bonus!! Thank you Shan for your help and if Rosemary were  alive I am sure she would be interested to see the progress.


Exercises to stimulate the Lymphatics .. Video

This is a set of exercises for the upper and lower body that can be done at home. The videos are put together by Heidi Roe for the Michigan State University rehabilitation unit. In the videos Heidi refers to a sheet of exercises with the repetitions which we do not have, but I would say five of each would be a good number. Just remember do not over do the exercises and keep the body cool as over heating creates more lymph, which in turn needs to be expelled. These exercises create an effect on the lymphatics by the movement of the muscles that squeeze the lymph vessels, this then pushes the lymph away from the extremities to the neck and abdomen, to then be released from the body. It is best to do the exercises wearing your compression garments as this helps to also move the lymph along the lymphatic vessels. Drink plenty of water to help expel toxins. Remember that the lymphatics do not have a heart to pump as the veins do and are reliant on movement to work.
Swimming, water aerobics and walking in a pool are also great exercises for Lymphoedema as the water acts as a natural compression, it is very liberating to get out of the compression garments for a while especially in hot weather. Going out for a good walk at anytime also gets the lymphatics pumping, just a short walk can make a difference. Make some form of exercise part of each day no matter how little or how much it will help. My favourite is to go for walks and in the summer to find a pool!!

A Simple exercise to aid the Lymphatics… Video

Simple exercise to stimulate the Lymphatic system  Click on this link to view.

Shan, at Shan therapy created this video to demonstrate a simple exercise to stimulate the Lymphatics. This can be done very easily on waking, before bed and at other times to get the system moving. This can add a bit of variety to the daily routine!! Please click on the link to view. Thanks Shan for this.


Self massage for Lymph drainage…. MLD …. Six videos

Videos of self massage to help with lymphatic drainage…. Manual Lymph Drainage

 I thought that this set of videos would be very helpful to learn self massage to help with lymphatic congestion. They are created by Heather Wibbels and are very clear and informative. They are available on You Tube and I have given the link to all six videos.. I have not mastered the art of embedding videos yet, at least not from an iPad! Please just click on the underlined links to view. I hope you will find them helpful and remember that if you have had lymph nodes removed, but do not have Lymphoedema, it is still important to self massage, it is very good for building the immune system and  for general good health.

Deep lymph nodes and vessels of the thorax and...

Deep lymph nodes and vessels of the thorax and abdomen.. Photo Wikipedia

The superficial lymph glands and lymphatic ves...

The superficial lymph glands and lymphatic vessels of the upper extremity… Wikipedia photo credit

Thanks to Heather Wibbels for creating these videos and her generous giving of time in the making of them… Thank you

Lymphatics of the axillary region

The American Cancer Socity also suggested I share this link to there web site… It gives information on Lymphoedema after cancer surgery.. Please click on this link
American Cancer Society Lymphoedema… Thanks

American Cancer Society

A Small Victory…. At Snails Pace!


The great escape

Today I went for my first walk, a very short one, but I escaped the house and walked to a near-bye coffee shop for a change of venue, skim flat white and a wholemeal muffin! Leaving the house I suddenly thought that maybe I needed a walking stick, which seemed a bit over the top, but maybe sensible as I was venturing out alone. I don’t have a walking stick so decided to use an umbrella instead for support, also looks less dramatic and it had been raining! I have to say that I was very glad I made this decision, as I was very, very slow and had difficulty picking my feet up. My biggest danger was navigating the uneven pavements with feet that just did not seem to want to lift up! Wow.. Three and a half weeks of resting, elevating legs, surgery and infection had taken a bigger toll than I had thought physically.

walking sticks

walking sticks (Photo credit: patrick wilken)

I think even a snail would have beaten me today and the tortoise would have romped past me! You know you are slow when the crossing light changes to red and you still have not made it over the road! I felt very vulnerable and it gave me an insight in to what it would be like to have a disability or to be elderly. There are things we take for granted till they are taken away, though for me I know I will improve, but today was very confronting.

Even though slow and a bit unsteady I made it and felt so much better for my little outing, these simple victories are what help to pass the time. Like “Rocky” I will now take on the challenge of small walks everyday, till I feel my strength return. I maybe a snail at the moment but I will get faster, tomorrow is a new day, the sun is out and I will learn to appreciate small victories on the way to reaching my goal!


What a treat!