Massage Chair for Lymphedema - Zarifa USA

Massage Chair for Lymphedema

September 04, 2021 4 min read

 Quality of life can be seriously compromised for patients suffering from lymphedema. Though the condition is rare,studies show that primary lymphedema affects 1 in 100,000 individuals. However, secondary lymphedema is the most common cause of disease and has a higher rate in the US where 1 in 1000 Americans are affected.


Today we shall discuss whether non-interventional strategies be beneficial for reducing lymphedema and how a massage chair for lymphedema is a good idea.

What Is Lymphedema?

Lymphedema is comprised of two words i.e.lymph andedema.Lymph is a special type of protein-rich fluid that flows the lymph channels. It is responsible for aiding in fat digestion and nourishing immune cells. 

Edema means accumulation. So, lymphedema means accumulation of lymph fluid within the interstitium and the adipose (fat) tissues of the body leading to swelling. 

This accumulation can occur anywhere in the body but is most common in the:

  • Arms 
  • Legs 
  • Genitals 
  • Face 
  • Neck 

It is classified into Primary and secondary lymphedema

Types Of Lymphedema

Primary Lymphedema

This is a congenital condition characterized by abnormality of the lymphatic system. Genetic mutations inherited from parents can lead to the following types of primary lymphedema:

  • Congenital lymphedema 
  • Lymphedema praecox
  • Lymphedema tarda 

Secondary Lymphedema

This type arises as a result of injury, or obstruction to the lymphatic flow. Malignancies and infections (by Wuchereria bancrofti) can lead to the development of swelling arms and legs. Secondary lymphedema is frequently found in patients suffering from breast cancer.

Signs And Symptoms

Lymphedema presents itself in the following ways:

  • Swelling in the extremities (arms and hands, legs and feet)
  • Proximal swelling in the breast/chest, pelvis, groin, and face 
  • Limb heaviness 
  • Pain and altered sensation 
  • Decreased range of motion 
  • Skin discoloration

Treatment Of Lymphedema

As it is a chronic disease it has the potential to progress with time. Therefore, it is critical to treat it timely. There are different treatment methods that have been proven effective:

Decongestive Lymphedma Therapy

DLT orDecongestive lymphedema therapy is the primary treatment of choice for managing moderate cases of lymphedema. The procedure is effective in reducing the intensity of pain and heaviness inbreast cancer patients.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD): Massage For Lymphedema

One of the greatest advantages of massage therapy is the improvement in circulation. This outcome of massage is therefore, utilized to push the accumulated lymph out of the tissues. 

Manual lymphatic drainage is a special type of massage that is designed to improve lymph flow. With improvements in lymph flow, the accumulated fluid in the interstitium can be withdrawn and the condition improved. 

A2020 systematic review had conflicting reviews but one thing was sure that decongestive lymphedema therapy and manual lymphatic drainage can be used to reduce the incidence of lymphedema in breast cancer patients.

Inanother review, manual lymphatic drainage was found to be borderline effective in the treatment of lymphedema. Astudy concluded that manual lymphatic drainage therapy (massage for lymphedema) should be followed by the application of compression garments to enhance lymphatic flow.

In addition to the enhancements in the lymph flow and reduction in swelling, manual lymphatic drainage also helped in alleviating pain. As per a2019 study, MLD increased pain threshold. As well as pain tolerance which in turn improved the quality of life in cancer patients.

Anotherstudy found manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) to be a safe and effective strategy in rehabilitation after breast cancer surgery. The localized swelling caused by lymphedema can be alleviated usingsuperficial lymphatic massage.

A2021 study revealed that lymphatic massage therapy provides relief by opening the lymphatic vessels to let the excess fluid drain back to the proximal lymph nodes.

Those suffering from lymphedema in the upper arms (limbs) must consider getting a manual lymphatic drainage massage. As reported by participants of astudy, MLD promotes an increase in brachial vein velocity.  This increase in the activity of the brachial vein in breast cancer surgery patients is effective in aiding the drainage of lymph.

Negative Pressure Massage Therapy

Apart from MLD, another type of massage therapy can be beneficial for patients suffering from lymphedema. As per a randomized controlled trial, 60 minutes session of negative pressure massage for 4-6 weeks leads to improvements in the L-Dex scores (lymphedema index). A study also backs the use of intermittent negative pressure massage therapy in the combined treatment of peripheral lymphedema.

Chair Massage For Lymphedema

Modern massage chairs like the ones available atZarifaUSA can act as perfect replacements to a professional massage therapist. Selfcare can be an important aspect of decongestion therapy. 

As per astudy conservative treatments for secondary lymphedema can be pretty useful. It was found in arandomized controlled trial that self-management of lymphedema in breast cancer patients can be pretty effective. There is no better way of self-management than a massage chair for lymphedema.

You can get the ideal massage chairs for lymphedema byclicking here!

Massage Chair for Lymphedema

Compression

Specialized compression garments (CG) are available that can be applied to the edematous limb. The pressure application from the cloth forces the lymph to ooze out of the interstitium and be withdrawn via the lymphatic channels. 

Compression therapy can be paired with massage therapy for superior results. Astudy suggests that low-pressure compression is better as compared to high pressure in the management of lymphedema.

As per anotherdetailed study, active exercise with compression therapy can significantly improve cancer-related-lower-limb lymphedema. 

Exercise

Different types of exercises can help you alleviate symptoms.Resistance exercise is seen to decrease breast cancer-related lymphedema.

Asystematic review also supports the adoption of exercise in daily life for improving the range of motion of joints and quality of life.

Surgery

While medicines can be prescribed for symptomatic management of the disease, surgery is the only definitive treatment option. 

Microsurgeries are performed at times. Vascularized lymph node transfer, lymphaticovenous anastomoses, and suction-assisted protein lipectomies may be performed. 

Conclusion

Lymphedema (primary or secondary) is characterized by swelling of the upper and lower limbs. It can seriously compromise your mobility and quality of life. An effective method of relief is massage therapy (manual lymphatic drainage) that not only enhances drainage of extra lymph but also improves the pain perception of the patients.

 


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