After I found the cause of my swollen legs I became determined to find ways to reduce the fat and also minimise the secondary lymphodema that comes with the Lipoedema. As I explained recently, the Ketogenic way of eating has been a complete life changer, my general body inflammation has reduced drastically, I’m retaining far less fluid and I’m gradually losing fat on my stubborn legs too.
Many Lipoedema patients struggle to find help with local doctors and hospitals as it’s such an unknown illness but I have been blessed with two wonderful ladies at our local Florence Nightingale Hospice. Together these ladies have diagnosed my condition, kitted me out with some super stylish compression leggings (ok maybe not stylish but really effective) and offer manual lymphatic drainage sessions too.
A couple of weeks ago I was shown a simple lymph drainage routine which I thought I’d share with you all as it makes such an enormous difference! I try my best to do it at least three times a week, but ideally every other day. The massage requires cupping your hands individually or together and performing gentle strokes upwards towards your upper body. You don’t need as much pressure as a normal massage, your lymph sits just under the skin surface so you’re aiming for a gentle stroke which has a little pressure and moves the skin. To trigger the ‘pump’ sites I use a rolled up ball of socks, it needs to be something firm but with a bit of squIsh, stress balls work well too!
PLEASE NOTE : I am sharing a technique I have found to be helpful, I was shown by a medical professional but I am not one myself! If you have other health issues which could be affected by this procedure please speak to you Doctor before trying for yourself.
I think of the lymphatic system as a canal, the nodes are the locks and the lymph is the water running between. There’s no benefit in masssaging the fluid without clearing its path first (opening the locks) so you have to think of making room for the fluid, pushing the fluid, clearing the fluid and so on.
So, first things first … get comfy! You can do this on your bed, the floor, a sofa but just ensure you’re comfy and allow yourself as much time as you can, I aim for a minimum of 15 mins per leg. You only need yourself and a ball of socks or similar.
- Place your ball on the inguinal nodes (see diagram), locate the hip bone and move slightly inwards towards your groin and you’ve got it.
- Hold the ball in place and bring your knee up and over your body compressing the ball, repeat this ‘pump’ 5 times.
- Now you’ve cleared the way you can start the massage work, begin with the first half of your thigh. Using the inner edge of your cupped hands sweep gently up and in towards the nodes (the arrows on the diagram show the direction of movement you’re aiming for). Ensure you give plenty of attention to the back of your thigh too, massaging from the back to the front.
- Every 15-20 strokes repeat your ball pump as this encourages the fluid to move up and away from the legs.
- Now move from the knee upwards, use sweeping movements to bring the fluid up to the area you’ve just been working on and back to the nodes ready to be pumped away.
- When the thigh is done you can move to your lower leg, there is another ‘lock’ that needs opening first and these are the popliteal nodes at the back of the knee. Hold the ball at the back of the knee and bend and straighten your leg to achieve 5 pumps here.
- Continue your massage in the same way as before, do the first half of the calf and pump away from the popliteal nodes every 15-20 strokes. Then move right down to your ankle to complete the leg. Make sure you give as much attention to the back of the leg as you do the front!
- If you think back to the canal theory you have now pushed the fluid from your lower leg up to the thigh area and this needs clearing again, no need to spend as long this time but do a few pump, massage, pumps to your inguinal nodes and you’re good to go!
You should be able to see a slight difference but also feel a difference, hopefully the skin and consistency inside the leg will be softer and less tight. If I have had a particularly long day on my feet, or been doing a cake which has meant standing for hours this is 100% my go to when I finally sit down and it offers fairly speedy relief for me! Combined with the compression gear and my low carb eating I am seeing a real difference in my lippy legs and I hope this can help others too.
If there are any questions or you need further explanation let me know xx