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Exercise for Lymphatic Health

New Year, New Goals

Exercise on your goal list for 2019? Here are my tips for exercise that also benefits the lymphatic system….

Yoga: Yoga in my opinion is one of the  few exercises where you feel better immediately after over doing it! Yoga focuses on breathing and stretching the skin and soft tissue. It also can get your circulation going  which moves the lymph. Yoga is great because it fits all shapes and sizes of people. Chair yoga is wonderful if getting down to the ground seems intimidating or is just not happening. You can get lots of benefits from yoga without getting to the floor.

Restorative yoga is my favorite and I recommend it to almost all my clients! As an added bonus, you rarely sweat so you can put your pjs on and then go to exercise! Who doesn’t love that?

Restorative yoga has you maintain positions for an extended period of time so your soft tissue really stretches out. This can be very good for those areas that have fibrotic tissue, troublesome swollen areas or painful areas. Allowing all those tissues to stretch results in releasing softening of tissue,  increasing circulation and more mobility.

Remember that yoga is about your own journey and should not be competitive. It gives you a chance to slow down, listen to your body and help it its healing.

If you are in the chicagoland area and are looking for an excellent and non intimidating yoga class, check out Inner Jasmine yogain Hinsdale. You can also schedule a manual lymphatic drainage session with me before or after your class. Click Here

Walking:  Walking is, for many, the least intimidating of exercises. But, if you are able to get up and walk… no big deal… take a moment and be grateful for that ability.  I have worked with lots and lots of people in rehab for whom getting out of a chair and walking, even a few steps, can be a huge accomplishment. And when you are unable and have to depend on someone else to do the everyday tasks like use the bathroom or get the remote that was dropped, you value the ability to walk.

You can walk for a workout without much in the way of preparation, financial commitment or planning. It gets your muscles moving and when the muscles are moving, the lymph is moving. Remember if you have an issue with swelling to wear compression when walking. Another great thing about walking is that you can accomplish something while you walk. Catch up with a friend, walk the dog or listen to a podcast. (I am a podcast addict so if you need any recommendations, just reach out!.

You might be lucky enough to live where you can walk to do errands. Combining errands with walking isnt cheating, it’s still exercise. Parking your car in the strip mall and walking to 2 stores rather than driving in between still counts as walking and exercise. Your body doesn’t know the difference. 

Meditation: Maybe its  not exercise but it does make you tune into your body and focus on breathing. And breathing is lymphatic exercise. Meditation also exercises your ability to control your mind and thoughts to allow for a positive mental attitude.  Many times meditation calls for deep belly breathing which can be relaxing but also helps clear the lymphatic fluid from your abdomen so that the fluid from other parts of your body has a place to go.

Need some help getting your lymphatic system moving? Schedule a complementary phone consultation with me to get you going in the right direction.

What is Manual Lymphatic Drainage???

“What  exactly is manual lymphatic drainage?” 

I was asked this at a recent wellness meet up.  I was reminded that the technique I use all the time frequently requires explanation. It needs to be explained even to people who work in health care.  If you are wondering what manual lymphatic drainage is, I will do my best to explain it here.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is a gentle manual therapy technique used by therapists.  It encourages the movement of fluid (called lymph) through the body.  It is a slow and gentle technique that feels like a stretching the skin. Small lymph capillary are located just under the skin.  With an understanding of the lymphatic pathways, certified therapists are able to encourage the movement of this fluid away from swollen, inflamed or painful areas.

Who can benefit?

MLD is most common in the treatment of lymphedema but also has been found to be beneficial for those who have swelling due to almost any reason including surgery, sprain, lipidema or arthritis.  Those with autoimmune disorders such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis may gain relief from pain and swelling through MLD.  It is also widely used after cosmetic surgery to reduce swelling.

Why is this important?  Swelling and inflammation often lead to problems with mobility.  Simple daily tasks like standing up from a chair, getting out of bed and walking can become difficult with swelling.  Also, daily living tasks like getting dressed or putting groceries away can be challenging with swelling.

Who should avoid MLD?

If you have an acute infection such as cellulitis, untreated congestive heart failure (CHF) or an acute blood clot (DVT), manual lymphatic drainage is NOT recommended.  Always discuss treatment such as manual lymphatic drainage with your doctor to ensure it is the right fit for you.

  If you are in the Chicagoland Area and are looking for a qualified therapist, please don’t hesitate to call or email! I would love to help you on your path to wellness!!

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Ovarian Cancer

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Ovarian Cancer is a sneaky disease. Many of the symptoms are very vague and can be discounted easily. Fatigue, bloating, back and abdominal pain and urinary urgency or frequency are all symptoms that can be associated with aging or a less than healthy lifestyle. None of them are so alarming that they would have you making a call to your doctor but I urge you to do so if any of these symptoms persist. Make an appointment and get checked out because here’s the thing: Early detection of ovarian cancer is everything. According to the national ovarian cancer coalition, only 19% of ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed in the early stages. But those diagnosed in stage 1 have only a 10% chance of recurrence. Those are pretty good odds!

Women can suffer from lower extremity lymphedema after ovarian cancer treatment. Lymph node removal or possibly even the surgery itself can cause swelling of the legs. This can happen immediately or several years following a diagnosis and surgery. If you are feeling a heaviness in your legs or if you notice that your legs swell on a more regular basis, please speak to your doctor about manual lymph drainage to relieve these symptoms. If you are in the chicagoland area, don’t hesitate to email me at [email protected]

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