Lymphedema Therapies

Written by Zachary Zerries
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Various lymphedema therapies, though popular in Europe for decades, are just recently becoming recognized in the United States. In fact, it wasn't until 1994 that an American school offered a curriculum based on the treatment techniques that had been in practice in Europe for years. The most important development in lymphedema therapies is the recognition that the most effective means of treatment is a program that combines several of the following techniques.

Various Types of Lymphedema Therapies

One of the most popular of lymphedema therapies is the manual drainage massage. A therapist well schooled in the art of lymphedema treatment will massage the affected area, a wall of lymph collectors. The massage should change the direction of lymph flow from the blocked areas into healthier, functioning lymph vessels, eventually reducing the swelling that might have been caused by the blockage.

Another important and popular means of controlling lymphedema is bandaging and the regular use of compression garments. Also referred to as compression therapy, this aspect of lymphedema management is most important for those who want to keep the swelling and pain to a minimum. Patients who are in Phase 1 of lymphedema treatment will have the bandages applied by a certified individual whereas a patient in Phase 2 should be using specially made compression garments on a daily basis.

Lymphedema therapies also include what is commonly referred to as remedial exercise. These exercises are meant to improve the affected area by stretching it, thereby allowing increased lymphatic flow. If a patient is directed by his or her doctor to follow a particular exercise program, it is imperative that he or she does so in order to keep the lymphedema controlled.

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