Using Gravity to Address Lymphedema
By Jennifer Brilliant
The accumulation of fluid associated with Lymphedemna occurs when lymphatic fluid cannot return from the limbs to the thoracic region of the body. This issue is a common side effect of many surgeries and cancer treatments. Any pose that uses gravity to assist in correcting the proper flow will be beneficial to the reduction and/or prevention of lymphedema.
Arms Raised– This uses gravity to assist flow of lymph, increase body awareness, musculoskeletal strength. Arms up position also challenges cardiovascular system.
Elbow Pump– Increases flexibility in your shoulders. As arms raise, gravity is used to increase lymph drainage.
To do: Grasp opposite elbows. Keep your torso stationary and facing forward. Alternate movement of elbows side to side. Continue with this repetition gradually raising arms higher and higher to your comfort level. You may be able to grasp elbows and move arms side to side with arms overhead. If you have a more limited range of movement, raise arms to your comfort level.
Viparita Karani – Legs Up Wall– Uses gravity to aid lymph drainage, rests your body and mind
To do: Place your buttocks up on a blanket and rest your legs up on the wall and relax for several minutes. This allows lymph fluid to drain towards your thoracic duct.