March 11, 2002
Helpful Tips for Lymphedema
Alexandra Andrews, Beverley Burns, LAc, OMD, Sarah Holmes, CH, Betty Segal, CMT, Joanne Thompson
- Herbal Teas
- nettles, red clover, oatstraw, alfalfa, make a mixture of equal parts of the above herbs. Then follow the directions for making Herbal Infusion (Medicinal Strength Tea)
- Chinese Lymphedema Soup
- Stock with no salt. 1 cup pearl barley (barley is a strengthener and moves fluids). 1/4 cup corn silk chopped up. If you eat meat add about 3 oz of chopped lamb meat. 3 stalks of celery. 2 handfulls of bok choy.
- Topical Oils
- Try these out for sensitivity first. Place a dab on your inner arm. Leave on overnight. Add drops of calendula, poke, comfrey, to glycerine, olive or almond oils or other moisturizers. Then you can rub your affected limb with this mixture.
- Always use soaps that are ph balanced; also, glycerine soaps are good.
- that might be helpful: Astragulus, Dandelion (very dilute) Honeysuckle, Cleavers, Horse chestnut (diluted), Butchers Broom, Try 5-10 drops a day. Remember less is more. Try adding drops of the above tictures to your bathwater. Your skin will absorb the liquid.
- Try to keep your weight down. Your lymph system carries fats and fatty acids.
- Avoid anti perspirants
- Try corn starch, witch hazel, lavender oil or rose water.
- Simple Exercise to Align the Neck and Shoulders
- Right arm over opposite side of the head (left) Left arm over right side of the back at the waist. Switch arms.
- Skin Brushing
- Get a very soft bath brush:
Brush lightly under arm node
Brush top of the arm
then on the other side brush towards the armpit
Brush the belly button and above the torso.
- Computer Mouse
- Learn to use the mouse with your other hand. This can be difficult and awkward at first. But persevere. Some find roller balls helpful. There are foot mice that can be used if you have lymphedema in both arms.
- Keep Your Affected Limb Warm
- Make sure you always keep the affected (Lymphedema) arm wrapped up. When you are not wearing your sleeve or other compression garments, use towels to wrap and keep your arm warm.
- Avoid Hot Water - Remember the Dishes
- It is important to avoid putting the affected arm in hot water since excessive heat might increase swelling. Keep the affected arm out of hot tubs or baths. Try to wash dishes with the unaffected arm. Let the dirty dishes soak in hot water then scrub and rinse them with tepid water.
- Avoid underwire and too tight sport bras
- Consultation with a health professional is very important. Some herbs may be contra indicated with certain medications and treatments.
- Of Interest:
- Physical Medicine Approaches To Pain Relief
Lymphedema And Using The Computer
Three Keys to Manage Breast Cancer-Related Lymphedema