Decongestive exercises

Decongestive exercises

Exercise accelerates the flow of lymph, especially when it is combined with bandaging.

Effect of lymphedema gymnastics

The Dr. Vodder Method of Manual Lymph Drainage results in a marked reduction of edema. To maintain this result or improve it further, the therapist bandages the affected limb(s). Any movement with the bandaged limb will reduce edema volume for the following reasons:

  • In addition to the "pressure" of the bandages, moving the extremity creates a strong compression with the muscles. All vessels (veins and Lymph vessels )who are in between bandage and muscles will be drained by this force. This leads to an quicker bloodstream and improves a better back flow of the lymphatic system.
  • Needing more oxygen, the arterial bloodstream will be raised automatically by an higher muscle activity. Close to the arteries a lot of lymph vessels are situated.
  • Abdominal breathing creates a suction force on the thoracic duct and subclavian juncture.
  • Reconditioning prepares the lymphatic system to handle greater demands.

The higher pulsation of the arteries has, the more stimulating effect on the lymphatic system. That's why we have a better drainage of the deep lymph vessel system.

Which exercises are best suited for lymphedema patients?

The optimum decongestive exercise for the lower extremities is climbing stairs. We also recommend activities such as cycling, hiking and walking.

Activities such as cleaning, cooking and washing will involve considerable use of the arm muscles. If your daily routine involves engaging in these activities, it is important to know that straining or overusing muscles may lead to inflammation and/or worsening of your edema.

How much exercises can lymphedema patients do?

In most cases, if you begin slowly and gradually, while monitoring the level of edema in your limb, you may be able to resume the activities you enjoyed before like bicycling, swimming, hiking, bowling, golfing skiing and more.