Lymphedema Management Tips My Lymphedema Toolbox

Lymphedema Management Mini Starter Pack

Lymphedema Management Mini Starter Pack

These tips were originally published in the Lymphedema Management Starter Pack.  However, to cut right to the chase, I have split the two blog posts to make it easier to read.

Start with the basics and do this until you can get to a Certified Lymphedema Therapist.  The good news is you will be somewhat ahead of the education process, which is great.  The tips are not expensive at all.

  • Self MLD am and pm using your hands or a dry boar bristle brush (available at any drugstore). 
    • There are tons of MLD videos online.  My personal favorite are the ones on You Tube by Massage by Heather. Again, personal preference. I do this in addition to the mld my therapist taught me. It helps break up the monotony of doing it.
    • This video is the best explanation of how dry brushing can help as a tool in your arsenal against Lymphedema, in my humble opinion. 
  • After doing MLD, meditate for 5 minutes. Listen to soft music, pray, or do whatever it is that calms you. Light a scented candle or just relax.
  • Keep a food diary by creating an account on myfitnesspal.com and start tracking everything you eat. In the notes section of the diary, comment on how it made your swelling go up or down. If it went up, put it on your Foods To Avoid list.
  • Drink water and record you water intake on the My Fitness Pal account too.
    • You can add cucumbers, strawberries, and fresh mint to a pitcher of it. Other great pairings are pineapple slices with blueberries, even lemon slices and grapefruit. Search Pinterest for infused water ideas.
  • Eliminate processed foods – no donuts, bread, desserts, cookies, chips, etc. and avoid alcohol, avoid fast food drive-thrus
  • Call a local cancer hospital. Ask for the patient care coordinator or liaison in the Administration dept. Setup an appointment to discuss how to apply for sessions with a certified LE therapist based on need.
    Take documents that show why you need it. They might not be able to help, but it’s worth trying.
  • Reduce stress in your life – Stress naturally releases cortisol in your body, which causes more inflammation if unused. Don’t let go of hobbies or activities that make you happy.
  • Get some sleep – The human body needs 7-8 hours to restore and heal overnight. Hormones are released during sleep that repair inflammation.

I am just a patient trying to Stay Lymphie Strong just like everybody else, and while I have reduced I do have to maintain every single day.  I hope you have found this information to be helpful as a cheat sheet for what you need to get going.  I wish I had had it when I first got started.

Please discuss all treatment plans and strategies with your healthcare professional.

Remember, Stay Lymphie Strong!


Learning more and connecting with others can be a source of support and comfort.

Visit our lymphedema groups to find what’s right for you.

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