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Supporting Lymphedema Recovery with MLD Massage

MLD massage helps stimulate the lymphatic system to drain excessive protein-rich fluid in body tissues, support skin health and joint movement, and relieve pain and swelling.

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Lymphedema is a condition in which an accumulation of fluid occurs in the tissues due to the lymphatic system’s inability to drain the fluid adequately.

Typically, fluid leaking into the body’s interstitial tissues gets picked up by the lymphatic system and returned to the cardiovascular system. When the lymphatic system cannot drain a sufficient volume of fluid, causing a back-up, it is called lymphedema.

Symptoms of lymphedema include swelling, pain, and aching in the affected limbs, skin changes such as tightness and hardening, and mobility difficulties.

Lymphedema happens for different reasons, including hereditary or congenital abnormalities, trauma, radiation, surgery, infections, inflammation, and venous diseases.

Primary & secondary lymphedema

Primary is hereditary or congenital, where the lymphatic system has abnormalities and cannot function optimally. It can appear anywhere in the body, but often in the legs and arms. Sometimes a person never knows they have the condition, which can be apparent from birth or triggered later in life.

Secondary develops after a trauma, radiation, or surgery, where the lymphatic vessels have been injured or removed.

Secondary lymphedema may be caused by:

  • Infection, such as cellulitis or chronic inflammation
  • Surgery which damages or removes lymphatic vessels and nodes
  • Cancer surgery and radiation
  • Venous diseases such as Deep Vein Thrombosis
  • Trauma, for instance, where there is extensive soft tissue lymphatic vessel damage

Post-surgical lymphedema

Lymphedema is unpredictable and may never happen – or you wake up one day and suddenly it’s there. People often don't know what triggers the swelling to start.

For example, post-mastectomy, swelling can appear around two years after surgery. Many clients report that one day they noticed swelling in their hand or elbow that doesn't go away. Again, some people may have lymphedema show up 25 years later – or never in their lifetime.

So what happened? Why has this swelling appeared?

Possible reasons include overuse of the affected limb. For example, gardening may lead to a surplus of fluid in the affected arm or leg that over-taxes the lymph system to drain into a limb with fewer lymph nodes. The buildup causes swelling, pain, and other symptoms common with lymphedema.

Other common causes that trigger primary and secondary lymphedema include:

  • Long flights
  • Extreme heat
  • Sunburn
  • Cuts and bites
  • Infection
  • Trauma

Symptoms of lymphedema

A damaged lymphatic system leads to protein-rich fluid accumulating in tissue, potentially leading to:

  • Swelling and pain
  • Aching and heavy feeling limbs
  • Difficulty with movement of the limb
  • Skin changes

How is lymphedema treated?

Manual Lymphatic Drainage

If you have lymphedema and already wear a compression garment, I can provide maintenance with lymphatic massage (MLD).

MLD helps move fluid out of the affected area, decreasing pain and inflammation, helping keep your limbs mobile and addressing any additional concerns you have.

Compression Therapy

Please note that I do not offer bandaging or garment fitting services.

While traditionally done with bandages, compression garments are more reliable. Bandages typically loosen up to 50% the same day bandaging is performed. While more expensive, an off-the-shelf or custom-made compression garment guarantees a perfect fit.

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Find Relief from Lymphedema Symptoms with MLD Massage

If you suspect you may have lymphedema, consult with your healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause and develop a personalized treatment plan. With MLD massage and treatment, individuals with lymphedema can improve their quality of life and reduce the risk of complications.