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Lymphedema / Lipedema

Lymphedema and Lipedema Treatment


When performing a lymphatic massage on a client with Lymphedema or Lipedema, it’s important that the massage includes more than just the affected area. The lymphatic system runs through our entire body so your massage must include more than just the presented affected area to drain properly.

What is Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)?

What is Lymphedema?

Manual Lymphatic Drainage  is a light, skin-stretching massage that helps promote the movement of lymphatic fluid out of the swollen limb or area. It should not be confused with a traditional massage. MLD is specifically focused on the lymph vessels to help the flow of lymphatic fluid.

When your lymphatic system doesn’t work well, your body accumulates fluid and may begin to swell. The swelling typically affects your arms and legs, but it can affect other areas of your body, too. Lymphedema also increases your risk of developing an infection where you have the condition.

This can happen after certain surgeries or because you have certain medical conditions or genetic conditions. You may develop lymphedema spontaneously, meaning it happens for no known reason.

Lymphedema symptoms may be mild, causing minor swelling and discomfort. Sometimes, however, lymphedema may cause significant swelling that can be painful and cause skin issues such as infections and wounds. Healthcare providers can’t cure lymphedema, but they do have treatments to reduce lymphedema swelling and discomfort. 

Complete Decongestive Therapies:

This is an intensive program that combines four different treatment approaches, including manual lymphatic drainage, compression bandaging, exercise, and skin care. Today, CDT also includes self-care and other biopsychosocial support services as needed such as psychological counselling, nutritional etc. as a more comprehensive approach towards caring for people living with lymphedema.

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What is Lipedema?:

Lipedema is a condition that causes excess fat to accumulate in the lower part of the body. Lipedema most often involves the buttocks, thighs and calves. The upper arms can also be affected. The condition does not affect the hands or feet.

Lipedema is sometimes confused with lymphedema, but these are different conditions. However, lipedema can lead to lymphedema.

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