by Edely L.Wallace, E-RYT 500, CDT, MLD
A lymphatic flow insufficiency causes lymphedema. This is a progressive, deforming and debilitating condition which causes severe swelling throughout the body. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation about this condition, often labeled an incurable disease. Lymphedema is a neglected, misdiagnosed, mistreated and mostly unrecognized condition in the US and most countries.
It is important to know that our Lymphatic System (LS) is a drainage and transport system involved in the disposal of body waste, immune response, and cell nourishment and repair.
When the LS is not working properly, the transport capacity of the LS is reduced, consequently, there is a buildup of protein-rich fluid in the tissues. Swelling is the inevitable result.
Any body part swelling means that the LS is overwhelmed by the amount of fluid produced in the area and it cannot handle it. A continuous back-and-forth or persistent swelling is the beginning of lymphedema.
Lymphedema can affect many parts of the body but commonly it shows up in the arms and legs. As lymphedema develops, the protein-rich fluid buildup is replaced by fibrotic tissues, which causes inflammation, disturbance of metabolism in the area, infection, restricted range of motion, lymphatic arthritis, skin modification, ligament and tendon alteration and possibly malignant degeneration.
Causes of Lymphatic Insufficiency
Lymphatic System insufficiency can have two different origins:
1. Congenital lymphatic malformation known as primary lymphedema,
2. Secondary lymphedema is the most prevalent. It can be caused by cancer, radiation, severe trauma, surgery, burns, mosquito bite (filariasis), obesity, and frequent air travel among other causes.
All those who have experienced one or more of those “secondary lymphedema” causes are at risk of developing lymphedema. Today, breast cancer survivors are among the population with the highest incidence of lymphedema.
Early treatment is highly recommended. The alteration of the tissues caused by the progression of lymphedema creates irreversible conditions later on. If left untreated the area enlarges, the skin stretches to the point of bursting and swelling makes the area increasingly harder and solid.
Can Lymphedema be Managed or Resolved Practicing Lymphatic Yoga®?
In the early stages of lymphedema, Lymphatic Yoga® can be very helpful in preventing the progression and alterations caused by this chronic condition. Consistency in the practice – from 3 to 5 times per week – is of paramount importance, especially when a lymphatic insufficiency is already present.
The Lymphatic System (LS) does not have a natural automatic pump since the heart does not pump our lymphatic fluid. Thus, movement and breathing are the major pumps for the lymph system and its fluid. Lymphatic Yoga® practice is a blend of these two natural pumps sequenced according to the physiology of the Lymphatic System. It effectively maintains the flow of the lymph fluid and prevents the buildup of fluids in the tissues.
During the practice, special attention should be given to the deep and long inhalation, as well as, to a full and long exhalation. The deeper breathing combined with simple yoga movements act as a natural pump for the lymph fluid and it helps to manage and prevent further complications. Lymphatic Yoga® is not a medicine, it does not have side effects, can be done at the comfort of your home, and it is not a palliative. It can be a solution!
Visit my website (www.lymphaticyoga.net) and review the success story and testimonial of a lymphedema sufferer and the amazing results she obtained through Lymphatic Yoga® practice.