Do you have oedema, puffy ankles or the itchy feet and legs that many women experience during pregnancy?
If your doctor / midwife has told you this is “normal” and no other underlying cause is at play, then this swelling, heat or itching may be due to lymphatic fluid retention in the spaces between the cells of your legs.
Lymph is plasma from your blood that left your blood vessels to carry nutrients and oxygen to your cells and carries away the carbon dioxide and waste material that your body no longer needs.
While you have strong pump pushing the blood to your feet you don’t have pump for lymph and only specific activities and massage may help to move it if it becomes stagnant, sluggish or creates problems like swelling, heat, itching or burning sensations.
When my clients present with this condition and similar fluid retention difficulties, especially in their feet and lower legs, I sometimes teach them to address this by taking three simple steps….
✅Step 1, Get fully hydrated over the next three days keep increasing your water intake by sipping and holding water in your mouth until saliva is triggered by every sip- The 3 C’s – your pee should be clear, continuous and copious . [Being fully hydrated actually reduces the number of urination trips to the toilet and makes it easier for your kidneys to eliminate the waste material that your lymphatic system asks them to cleanse away so that the lymph can return to your blood as clean fresh plasma to oxygenate and feed your body and brain cells. ]
✅Step 2, keep legs raised above the level of your chest for as long as possible each day / night to enable fluid to drain more easily . [All fluid has to flow out through the subclavian tubes just under your collar bones that drain the entire body and head of lymphatic fluid . ]
✅Step 3, Lymphatic Drainage – my step by step easy way to do it for yourself ( or ask a friend / partner to assist you ! )
- While both of your legs are raised ( possibly with your soles resting on the wall over the headboard on your bedroom wall).
- After a minute or more , bend one knee and rest your heel on the opposite knee.
- With some moisturiser on your fingers (to makes your fingers glide more easily) glide your fingers from your toes to your knees pulling the fluid up along the spaces that fill with fluid on both sides of your ankles and shin bones, along the outside and inside of your calf where you may sometimes see the imprint of tight jeans / leggings ( if you were wearing them ) and pull up through the middle of the back of your calf into the back of your knee. Repeat these pull ups three times, applying more pressure with each set of pull-ups. The first pull up wakes up the track and gives direction to the fluid. The second pull-up draws the fluid and the third pull up clears the track. Each pull-up may feel painful or uncomfortable buy tuis is usually just the uric acid burning inside and this pain will pass quickly as the fluid moves on!
- Safety warning : It is strongly advised to roll on to your side with arms and legs lying flat on the bed and rest there for at least two minutes to allow your blood pressure to reset after completing this method of lymphatic drainage . With your legs and arms raised it may have altered your blood pressure and a sudden rise may trigger dizziness, nausea or a fall.
- Next pull the fluid from your knees up along the inside and outside of your thigh to the groin and outer hip. Remember to repeat three times – with more pressure in the pull-up each time.
- Next pull the fluid up the back of your thoughts through the hollow between your hamstrings , into your glutes and on out to your hip bone and up your side
- Next Do a complete pull up from your toes to your hip and groin three times.
- Next we need to move it on or the flouts will fall back down your legs when next you stand up. Remember the entire process fully on your other leg.
- Next begin to pull the accumulated fluid from the pocket of fluid on the inside of both your thighs and following the panty line pull this fluid out to your hip bones and into your “saddlebag” area and from there up along your sides . The panty line has about 30 lymph nodes that act like one way valves that allow lymphatic fluid to move up and away from your legs. Repeat this pull along the panty line three times.
- Next pull the fluid across your pubic bone from your pubis symphysis ( the vertical split in the bone at the front of your pubic bone)
- Pull the lymphatic fluid out along the pubic bone on both sides and then out from there along the panty lines again remembering that up to thirty lymph nodes on each side stop the lymphatic fluid which is filled with waste materials from returning down into your legs.
- Next starting at your belly button, pull fluid out to each side of your stomach from the belly button to the sides with firm fingers making mini circles as you massage the fluid outwards. There is a full line of lymph nodes along here that stop the fluid from going back down below this point. Do both sides at the same time. Repeat this pulling out along the bellybutton line three times.
- Next curl your fingers in and up under your ribs as deeply as possible and see if you can feel your breathing diaphragm. Massage outwards from your solar plexus to the outer edges of your ribs. Do both sides at the same time.
- Next run between each rib on both sides working from bottom or rib cage and massage fluid out fro sternum to sides of your body. Pay special attention to the very tender line that runs out along the lower edge of each breast where the fluid may be building up and may be causing congestion, mild inflammation, pain and a burning sensation. Pull or push the lymphatic fluid out from your sternum along this line on each side as far as your underarms.
- Next pull the fluid from your underarms inwards on your your chest and across the top of your chest to the hollows that lie to the left and right of your sternum just under your collar bones. Keep rubbing firmly as you massage the trapped fluid inwards from your underarms to the subclavian tunes that lie under these hollows.
- Raise one hand vertically in the air. Hold it there for a minute resting on a wall or the back of a chair by the bed or whatever works for you.
- Beginning at your fingers pull the lymphatic fluid up along the tracks between each ligament on the backs of one of your hands, through the back of your wrists and on up along and I to to the bend of your elbow. Repeat three times .
- Now beginning at the tip of each finger squeeze and pull the lymphatic fluid up along each finger and thumb through the palm of your hand and all the way up to your elbow. Repeat three times .
- Next pull the lymphatic fluid up along your arms and in to your armpits. If you have “batwings” then give these plenty of squeezing and draw the lymphatic fluid out and up to your underarms. Repeat three times.
- Pull the fluid up and in from your underarms a d sides to the hollows to the left and tight of your sternum that lie just under your collarbones.
- Once you have completed the entire steps 1-19 in this round then repeat the entire 19 steps for two more complete rounds.
Safety warning : It is strongly advised to roll on to your side with arms and legs lying flat on the bed and rest there for at least two minutes to allow your blood pressure to reset after completing this method of lymphatic drainage . With your legs and arms raised it may have altered your blood pressure and a sudden rise may trigger dizziness, nausea or a fall.
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