Posts Tagged ‘edema’

Massage, compression, exercise to ease lymphedema symptoms

By Linda S. Mah | Kalamazoo Gazette

November 12, 2009, 10:19AM


Fern Taylor, of Delton, wears a compression sleeve and glove on her right arm to help prevent buildup of lymph fluid after having lymph nodes removed from her breast.

Fern Taylor never knows when her lymphedema is going to flare up. She’ll notice a rash, then there’s a burning sensation and soon her arm swells up to three times its normal size.’

The first time it happened in 2003 “I had no idea what was going on,” said Taylor, who lives in Delton.

Since then, Taylor has learned that the swelling in her right arm is the result of a buildup of lymphatic fluid, which occurs because the lymph nodes in that arm were removed as part of her treatment for breast cancer.

“Basically, the fluids in my body went where they were supposed to go, but the lymph nodes were not there anymore to carry it through the body,” Taylor said. “So it got stuck.”

The lymphatic system drains fluid from bodily tissue and allows immune cells to travel throughout the body. Lymphedema occurs when the lymph nodes are unable to drain that fluid. The fluid pools in an area, causing the body part to swell and sometimes leading to discomfort from the pressure of the fluid buildup, a sense of heaviness, a decreased range of motion, chronic wounds and ulcers and skin breakdown.

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Massage Primer

The practice of various massage techniques can be traced though human history and nearly every culture. Artwork and literature from many civilizations show that nearly all ancient cultures practiced massage in some form. This is shown in cave drawings by out prehistoric ancestors, ancient Chinese books dating back as far as 3000 B.C., medical textbooks by Greek and Roman physicians written in the millennia preceding Christ, Indian and Hindu tradition and literature dating back over three thousand years.

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