Lymphoedema Awareness Week

The year has rolled round, we find ourselves in Lymphoedema Awareness Week.

Briefly, what is the Lymphatic System and why is it important?

The Lymphatic System is a major component of our immune system.
The cells of our bodies are bathed in fluid flowing from the blood vessels. Excess fluid and waste products from these cells is then carried away by the Lymphatic System. On entering the lymphatic vessels, the fluid (now called Lymph) is filtered in the nodes before being returned to the blood stream. Within these lymph nodes there is a concentration of white blood cells, and as the lymph is filtered, infection can be detected then neutralised. If the system ceases to function correctly, areas of the body can become swollen as in Lymphoedema and risk of infections increases.

Unlike blood, which is pushed round the body by the heart, there is no pump for lymph. The lymphatic system relies on a series of one-way valves and the contraction of muscles as we move to circulate the lymph round our bodies.

Even very gentle exercises can be beneficial.
Deep breathing can help to clear lymph from the torso
– placing hands on the abdomen, breathe in slowly and smoothly through the nose so that the stomach inflates
then out slowly through pursed lips feeling the abdomen deflate.
Gently alternately lifting the knees can help clear lymph from the thighs.
Raising toes towards your nose whilst keeping heels on the floor can help to clear lymph from the calves.
Therapeutic massage will help to clear blocks and stimulate the Lymphatic System.

I will be doing ½ hour Therapeutic Treatments for £15 on Monday 24th March between 9.30am and 5pm, with £5 from each treatment going to the Lymphoedema Support Network, which has a very helpful website – www.lymphoedema.org with lots of information and support for those living with Lymphoedema. For bookings, please phone 07 477 603 307 or e-mail equilibrium.therapies@yahoo.co.uk

And remember to drink plenty of water, the NHS recommends at least 1.2 litres per day.