Lipoedema and The Lymphatic System
To understand lipoedema, an understanding of your lymphatic system is key. So what is the lymphatic system? The lymphatic system is a network of tissues that help your body remove waste, toxins and unwanted materials. The lymphatic system consist of lymphatic vessels which are a bit like veins which connect to lymph nodes around the body. The lymphatic system carries lymph which helps support your immune system carrying the clear lymph fluid and white blood cells around your body.
So how does the lymph system connect to lipoedema? Good question! Blood is pumped round your body from your heart and pumps in a loop whereas lymph only flow in one direction upwards towards your neck. Lipoedema and lipo-lymphoedema can cause your lymphatic system to become sluggish and not flow as effectively.
How can you help make sure that your lymphatic system is flowing effectively? Well there are a few things you can do to help.
Self Lymphatic Drainage is a great place to start. Self Lymphatic Drainage (SLD) helps to get your lymph moving and drain any excess fluid that is building up anywhere where you have fluid build up. Massage your limbs starting from the feet upwards following the lymphatic flow. Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) can also help keep your lymphatic system in good health. Manual Lymphatic Drainage is normally carried out by a therapist. If this isn’t for you it can be as simple as deep breathing and neck stretches help to get the lymph flowing.
Movement is key for your lymphatic system this can be really difficult when suffering with lipoedema or lymphedema. Any movement will help your lymphatic system no matter how small. Walking is ideal but where this isn’t possible, any stretching , some chair-based yoga is great to get your lymph moving.