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Holy swell- does lymphatic drainage work?

Holy swell- does lymphatic drainage work?

Postby bigbellydance » Mon Feb 21, 2011 6:43 pm

OK- I guess this is what is meant by swell hell. I am swollen up like I am 6 months pregnant just out of the blue tonight. It is the worst it has ever been. I have been drinking water and taking bromelain. I have switched to a skinny tank for my compression garment. Maybe I need to go back to the high waisted compression. I am really done with this swelling. Does anyone think or have any experience with doing lymphatic drainage massage? I am willing to try anything but maybe it is just time....thoughts/whines/crys...anyone with me on this??
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Re: Holy swell- does lymphatic drainage work?

Postby AnnieBeansprout » Mon Feb 21, 2011 7:00 pm

I have never done it myself, but the people who do do it seem to love it and feel it works. But I don't know for how long or how much. Like with the rebounding it does the same thing, but you keep doing it ongoing to control it...whereas the massage is quite expensive and it seems most do it only like once a week. You may want to do a search.

For the most part, at the point you are at, there isn't much you can do...other than maybe get a little relief. Until the lymph system is healed, we will swell, and the first 6 months within that time frame is the worst of it.

You may want to give the massage a try and see if you think it works for more than just a bit of time...I really don't know.

My rebounding experience was started at a time when my swelling was so very minimal. I honestly don't know what it would do at 6 weeks! I have to feel it would give some relief, plus work towards the greater good to heal the system faster.

JMO on all this!! You could also google massage and try to do it yourself. Some have done that.

One thing that does really feel good anyway and is "supposed" to help lymph flow is dry brushing. I started that after my recent ba/bl when my TT swelling came back (fun! not), and I was too early out to rebound. I think it helped a little bit, and it certainly felt good on my swollen areas. I did get to feeling kind of queasy doing it, which I figure is a good thing if it means things are moving in there. Not much to lose, as you can get one of the brushes at Target for like $6. I got a "dry brushing" brush at Whole Foods and then found the same thing without the fancy name at Target. So I have both and they are no different. Just make sure it has natural bristles. Who knows, maybe it works as well as lymph massage if you do it right...but I doubt it. I didn't find a huge amount of relief, but I did find some (again... I was not swelling as much as someone at your stage).
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Re: Holy swell- does lymphatic drainage work?

Postby bigbellydance » Mon Feb 21, 2011 7:10 pm

What exactly is a rebounder and what do you doi?
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Re: Holy swell- does lymphatic drainage work?

Postby klumsy » Tue Feb 22, 2011 12:50 am

Lymphatic Massage can be incredibly helpful for people when done by a licensed massage therapist with the proper training. It's widely used for treating cancer patients who have undergone treatments that remove lymph nodes or otherwise damage/interupt the lymph system as well as more every day issues ranging from sports injuries and race recovery to surgery and fibromyalgia.

The most important aspect is to find a quality practitioner with more than the cursory training provided to many massage therapists. What I mean is depending on your state some LMP/LMT programs cover a wide range of modalities from Shiatsu, and Aromatherapy, to Reflexology and energy work like Touch For Health; but covering them at a superficial level that doesn't really qualify the practitioner to specialize in any of them. You can look up your local massage schools and they can either give you referrals to graduates who went on to recieve additional training and work in that specialty or try finding referrals from other folks who have had good success. My school would never recommend someone who wasn't amazing because they want people to get the most benefit possible and it would reflect so poorly on them if the practitioner wasn't top notch.
I've been an LMT for 8 years and would never claim I specialized in lymphatic massage although I did recieve additional training above the standard classes for graduation and licensing but the few clients I used it on felt it really helped them with some short term needs. Sometimes you can find therapists who offer LM in 30 min sessions so you can recieve more treatments for less money. The traditional 60 min massage started that way because it takes that long to get through the whole body but LM is a very different process and your needs may vary. It's certainly worth a try, but based on the vets experience here of swelling for 6 months I'm not sure it would shorten that length of time or just help make it more bearable. You can also massage yourself daily to help keep the drainage channels open - it won't be the same techniques used by your LMT but it helps reduce scar tissue and keep things moving and healing.

Good luck and let us know what you find out!
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Re: Holy swell- does lymphatic drainage work?

Postby klumsy » Tue Feb 22, 2011 12:51 am

Lymphatic Massage can be incredibly helpful for people when done by a licensed massage therapist with the proper training. It's widely used for treating cancer patients who have undergone treatments that remove lymph nodes or otherwise damage/interupt the lymph system as well as more every day issues ranging from sports injuries and race recovery to surgery and fibromyalgia.

The most important aspect is to find a quality practitioner with more than the cursory training provided to many massage therapists. What I mean is depending on your state some LMP/LMT programs cover a wide range of modalities from Shiatsu, and Aromatherapy, to Reflexology and energy work like Touch For Health; but covering them at a superficial level that doesn't really qualify the practitioner to specialize in any of them. You can look up your local massage schools and they can either give you referrals to graduates who went on to recieve additional training and work in that specialty or try finding referrals from other folks who have had good success. My school would never recommend someone who wasn't amazing because they want people to get the most benefit possible and it would reflect so poorly on them if the practitioner wasn't top notch.
I've been an LMT for 8 years and would never claim I specialized in lymphatic massage although I did recieve additional training above the standard classes for graduation and licensing but the few clients I used it on felt it really helped them with some short term needs. Sometimes you can find therapists who offer LM in 30 min sessions so you can recieve more treatments for less money. The traditional 60 min massage started that way because it takes that long to get through the whole body but LM is a very different process and your needs may vary. It's certainly worth a try, but based on the vets experience here of swelling for 6 months I'm not sure it would shorten that length of time or just help make it more bearable. You can also massage yourself daily to help keep the drainage channels open - it won't be the same techniques used by your LMT but it helps reduce scar tissue and keep things moving and healing.

Good luck and let us know what you find out!
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Re: Holy swell- does lymphatic drainage work?

Postby daphnealice » Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:53 am

A rebounder is a mini-trampoline. The up and down motion of bouncing is supposed to get the lymph system moving -- the general idea is that blood gets moving through the pumping action of the heart but lymph depends on our own motion to get it circulating and allow it to do its job of cleaning out the body. Swelling after surgery is in part due to the disruption of our lymph drainage systems and massage or rebounding are said to get it moving again.

I was very interested in Annie's experience with the rebounder and have read alot about it. I am not quite four weeks out from surgery and haven't' been cleared for exercise yet, but I did buy a rebounder and start doing some gentle (feet never leaving the surface) bouncing several times a day. My swelling is not dreadful anyway (yet) but the bouncing has been very good for me. For one thing, I get a horrible restless leg thing going on when I can't exercise and this has helped relieve that. It also feels good to be moving and there is something very comforting about the rhythmic movement of bouncing gently up and down. I am not swelling that much but can't tell if my swelling is really down because of the rebounding or not -- it is definitely less first thing in the morning when I get up but by days end I am still tight and sore in my middle.

I like it and will keep it up. I see the doctor today for a follow up and hope to get cleared for some more activity. He is pretty cautious and has had me sitting on my butt, for the most part, all month.
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Re: Holy swell- does lymphatic drainage work?

Postby bigbellydance » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:42 am

Thanks for all your great replies but wouldn't regular walking type exercise also get the lymph moving too?

@klumsy- how would I massage myself? There is a licensed person in the area that seems to have a lot of experience and I absolutely love massage but maybe it is just time. I seem however to be swollen all over.. It seems like most people are experiencing similar things...
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Re: Holy swell- does lymphatic drainage work?

Postby stanfordbd » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:48 am

Can I ask where you bought the rebounder thing you are talking about? I'd be interested in it for sure?
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Re: Holy swell- does lymphatic drainage work?

Postby daphnealice » Tue Feb 22, 2011 12:07 pm

From what I understand, running does pretty much the same thing. Not sure walking does -- it's the up and down action, supposedly. The big deal with the rebounder is that it is easy on your joints and you can do it even if you aren't very active. Running can do a job on your knees.

I got an Urban Rebounder at a sporting goods store. About 100 bucks. Annie has a nicer, pricier version, but I wanted to be sure I would like it before I invested more.
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Re: Holy swell- does lymphatic drainage work?

Postby AnnieBeansprout » Tue Feb 22, 2011 1:01 pm

I agree with Daphnealice, that running I think does help (any exercise does, actually, but I have always worked out HARD and that was not helping my swelling. I was not running though.). Running helps more than others. Next to rebounding it is probably the best along with jumping rope.

However, one good benefit to the rebounding is that you do it through the day, because it will help your lymph flow for an hour or so...which running would do too. However, with running you are not going to get back on it again through the day. To get the best benefit from the rebounder you want to do it through the day. At the least 3 times if you are working or in school or not able to do more. But, as much as you can. Every hour if possible

It takes 2-4 minutes of LIGHT bouncing to help the lymph flow. Throughout the day, at least an hour apart, and preferably every hour you are home and able. You don't even need to lift your toes off the mat.

(how many times can I say "throughout the day." ;)

I want to stress that if you are doing say 20 minutes a day...it is better to do 5 times at 4 minutes each, than it is to do one 20 minute session. That extra isn't going to benefit (as far as lymph goes) you more than splitting it up. It will still keep your lymph flowing nicely for only an hour.

If you look up rebounding for lymph control. Or just "lymph control." You will find more articles than you could ever read, on the internet, and of course you want to find the ones that are not selling rebounders! Reputable sites abound...

I do it 3 times a day now myself, just for maintenance and the fact that it is healthy for your immune system as a whole, surgery or not!
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Re: Holy swell- does lymphatic drainage work?

Postby kzimmermann » Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:34 am

O.K. so I guess I am on this forum to learn but on the swelling issue, I am worried. I am 12 days post op from ftt and lipo and have zero swelling. I am flat as a board. When will my swelling start? I do feel tightness in my muscles from the stitches but really that is about it. Is there something I should be doing now to avoid the swell? I am also going on vacation in 3 weeks and had hoped to wear normal clothes. I didn't realize that you go from flat to swell as time goes on. This is discouraging. Any advice for preventative swelling would be appreciated. Already following a healthy diet and all my pharmaceutical grade supplements so that part is covered.

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Re: Holy swell- does lymphatic drainage work?

Postby AnnieBeansprout » Wed Feb 23, 2011 1:04 pm

I was the same way. I did not swell the first month. Maybe the first 5 days or so,but then I had absolutely none. In fact, that month Iost 8 lbs (I had none to lose and didn't want to), and since it was not "masked" by swelling I looked sickly. I think I didn't have swelling because I laid low the entire month, although later on that works against you.

But it came on around 5 weeks. Once we get to be more active we are going to swell (of course many swell from the get go...but activity will bring on more).

There's nothing you can do, other than to eat clean clean clean. That will minimize it but won't take it away. I swelled both from activity and too much inactivity after the first month. Like sitting for a couple hours in the movie would make me swell.

We are all different and it isn't terrible for everyone. Mine was never bad, only I would know and it bothered me due to my clothes not fitting. That was my swelling gripe!

Basically our lymph system is majorly damaged. Brutally damaged after this surgery. That's okay, it repairs itself. However, it can take a year or more (but it seems for most that the worst of swelling is over by 6 months or even earlier).

Doing things like rebounding only helps the healing...it won't take it away at your point. It may give you temporary relief, but it won't have any bearing on what happens later in the day or the next day. But I think along with some temporary relief it also works for the greater good to help the lymph system heal faster than it would otherwise. That's what I believe anyway.
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Re: Holy swell- does lymphatic drainage work?

Postby kzimmermann » Wed Feb 23, 2011 1:45 pm

Thank you for the honest assessment. The bummer for me is that I will be on a beach in Turks and Caicos when my swelling will be the worst (from the sounds of it). I could handle some swelling in sweats and sweatshirts during these winter months but was hoping to wear a swimsuit and sundresses and not look heavy in them. I didn't have this surgery for weight loss either, I did it because of the muscle damage and drooping skin from delivering three 9 pound babies (and I am short waisted).

Oh well, I guess I will just be a beached whale for a week. My husband won't care. He is really good about that.

I will look into the rebounder. I have not been cleared for exercise yet but feel like I could run a few miles and lift weights. I know... my husband works from home and would never let me. I am still pretty active anyway running kids around all day but just no formal work outs.

TThanks again for all your honest answers to my questions.
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