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Finding Flow in the Lymphatics

Posted by Geoff Beaty on 18 September 2021
Finding Flow in the Lymphatics

Picture your lymphatic system as an interconnected series of streams that run throughout your body.

When you’re healthy, the system flows smoothly, clearing fluid from the body while also transporting proteins and waste products. But if there’s a disruption, like with a blocked stream, it causes problems — in this case, lymphoedema.

Breast lymphedema occurs because of damage to the lymphatic system. It often happens after cancer, surgery for cancer or radiation. It’s also not limited to the breast but can occur in the chest area and the armpit as well.

Breast lymphedema can have a lasting impact on your health.

If left untreated, it can become painful by putting pressure on the nerves. The tissue can harden, which may affect range of motion in the nearest limb as well affecting posture or contributing to upper back pain.

In the worst-case scenario, there is research that a swollen limb is more prone to infection because the lymph nodes aren’t cleaning the area, making it more like a stagnant pond than a stream.

Signs of breast lymphedema
The first sign of lymphedema you may notice is a sense of heaviness or tingling in the affected area. Naturally, there is also swelling from the fluid not flowing as it should through the lymphatic system, and the surface of the skin can take on a texture similar to that of an orange peel, a condition called peau d’orange.

Breast lymphedema treatment

The use of compression becomes a critical point because what you are doing is giving tissue some external support so fluid doesn’t pool in the breast area.

Garments such as compression vests and camisoles or support bras may be helpful. 

You may also find lymphedema relief from kinesiotape that is used primarily as an athletic tool to support tissue during healing, but it can also be helpful in supporting lymphatic flow.

Over the last five to 10 years, microsurgery has been emerging as a promising therapy. 

Regular lymphatic drainage massage.

Specific herbal extracts (ask us)

A rebounder! 

Author:Geoff Beaty
Tags:NewsResourcesCancerBreast CancerLymphatic systemLymphoedema

Associations

  • The Institute for Functional Medicine
  • Society for Integrative Oncology
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology
  • Australasian Integrative Medicine Association
  • Naturopaths and Herbalists Association of Australia