A client came in with “very puffy armpits.” They were causing discomfort when they moved their upper arms and shoulders. “After I had done some research, I came to the realization that my armpits might be swollen from my lymph nodes. Can we try some of that drainage?” Looking carefully and considering their symptoms, I told them we could try some upper lymphatic drainage, but they needed to tell me if they felt any pain or discomfort.
The next day, they called me and said they felt a lot better. The swelling had decreased greatly from the massage…“but I had done a couple of extra things to help keep the lymph moving after the massage. I think they helped on top of the session. I’ll send you the articles I found.”
As far as Lymphatic exercises go, I think these are rather well described. Strokes during lymphatic drainage massage are little pumping actions to open the lymph nodes, and lymph circulates via physical movement. These exercises combine both.
However these exercises seem out of order. Just like a Lymphatic Drainage Massage:
- Start with the Neck with the Neck Rotations. This allows the armpits and arms to drain easier into the torso.
- Use Shoulder Shrugs to open the pathways in the neck and armpits.
- Utilize the Pelvic Tilts to help move the lymph through the primary circulating organs in the torso.
- Use Leg Slides and Leg Falls to push lymph fluid through the nodes in the gonads. This is a common area to get blocked, just like the armpits.
- Ankle pumps are last to promote movement to excess fluid in the ankles and feet.
Doing these exercises in this order will help loosen any blockages in the lymph nodes. Afterwards, walking around may help increase the fluid’s movement.
Doctoral Explanation and Mini Trampolines
This video was also brought to my attention. Dr. Irvin Sahni does a more detailed explanation on the Lymphatic System.
The Truth About Cancer is very focused on the Lymphatic System , because cancer can really grab ahold of the lymph nodes and basically take over. This is why many patients have lymph nodes taken out during removal surgery. Surgeons are simply trying to stop the cancer from spreading further via the Lymphatic System.
Dr. Sahni mentions mini trampolines, which are tools used in an exercise routine called “Rebounding.” As he mentions: “…by compressing your thighs, by just simply walking you’re actually pushing lymph through your body. It’s sort of passively pushed through by the other muscles in your body. And so by hopping on a trampoline you’re basically forcing those muscles to contract and you’re helping that drainage…”
Many Rebounding classes have shown up across America. Some are more advanced than others. However, Joyce Rockwood (in the video posted below) does a few basic exercises to show others how to use a mini trampoline. This helps to promote Lymphatic movement in the body.
Personal Note: For beginners (or for those who are uncoordinated in their feet, like myself), I recommend getting a stabilizing bar or something very sturdy to hang onto.
Personal Note: Unfortunately, Rebounding or Lymphatic Drainage will not help those who already have Lymphedema. If you have Lymphedema, please consult with your Oncologist for Treatment.
Personal Note: As with all exercises, please start out slow. If the exercises or stretches cause pain or injury, do not continue them. Consult your doctor if anything abnormal occurs.