I have blogged about Lymphedema before. I blogged specifically about Manual Lymphatic Drainage. Manual Lymphatic Drainage is a type of gentle massage that helps the lymphatic fluids drain properly. I receive an MLD massage at least monthly, and more often if needed- particularly after I travel by plane.
I have lymphedema in my left foot/leg. I was not properly diagnosed until my mid 40’s but have endured swelling and discomfort since I was a young teen. I was told I have primary lymphedema, specifically Meige’s disease (lymphedema praecox).
I have never been much overweight and in my youth and young adult life I was very thin so this has served me well. I know that people with lymphedema who struggle with maintaining a normal weight can experience more severe symptoms resulting from lymphedema.
I used to think my primary triggers for severe swelling were heat and airplane travel. Other things like standing for long periods, or lack of sleep would cause more-than-usual swelling to occur. When I was finally diagnosed and received my first wrap treatment, and along with a custom-fit pressure garment, a few weeks later I saw my foot a normal size for the first time since I was 14! With a combination of wrapping and MLD (even self-administered at home) I was able to keep the swelling manageable. But anyone with lymphedema knows that the treatment is often not convenient and time-consuming.
Then, two years ago, on a quest to improve my health (I also have sarcoidosis) I decided to radically modify my diet. I went off gluten, nightshade vegetables, processed sugar and processed foods of any kind, and I began eating sheep or goat dairy instead of cow dairy. I also drink a lot of water, and I eat leafy green vegetables, cabbage and cucumbers- I love lemon in my water too- all are considered to be a natural diuretic. My health improved but the most significant difference was in my swelling. I receive the same results from going gluten-free as I did with wrapping, and better results than wearing a garment. Seriously.
I also use essential oils. I use them daily and the oils support my physical body, my emotional state and promote a soulful and intentional life. I do use specific oils for to promote healthy functioning of the lymphatic system (cypress, grapefruit and orange are my go-to oils). I diffuse the oils and use them in a carrier oil or lotion that is wheat-free. If I don’t have my triad of oils with me I use lemon and a carrier lotion on my foot and leg, holding my leg up and starting at my toes. I rub the lotion in with a sweeping motion toward my thigh. I do not rub vigorously or apply too much pressure- just enough for the lotion to be absorbed. Otherwise, I use my triad combo in the carrier oil when I perform self-MLD and I also take my oils with me when I go for a massage. And of course, diffusing the triad makes for a lovely aromatic experience. By the way, any citrus oil supports the lymphatic system when diffused and is also uplifting!
So get your gluten-free, essential oils groove on and support your own lymphatic system!
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