What is lymphedema?
Lymphedema is swelling in one or more extremities that results from impaired flow of the lymphatic system.
What is lymphatic system?
The lymphatic system is a network of specialized vessels (lymph vessels) throughout the body whose purpose is to collect excess lymph fluid with proteins, lipids, and waste products from the tissues. This fluid is then carried to the lymph nodes, which filter waste products and contain infection-fighting cells called lymphocytes. The excess fluid in the lymph vessels is eventually returned to the bloodstream.
When the lymph vessels are blocked or unable to carry lymph fluid away from the tissues, localized swelling (lymphedema) is the result.
Lymphedema most often affects a single arm or leg, but in uncommon situations both limbs are affected.
Primary lymphedema is the result of an anatomical abnormality of the lymph vessels and is a rare, inherited condition.
Secondary lymphedema results from an identifiable damage to or obstruction of normally-functioning lymph vessels and nodes.
Worldwide, lymphedema is most commonly caused by filariasis (a parasite infection), but in many countries, lymphedema most commonly occurs in women who have had breast cancer surgery, particularly when followed by radiation treatment.
What does lymphedema look like?
Mild lymphedema first may be noticed as a feeling of heaviness, tingling, tightness, warmth, or shooting pains in the affected extremity. These symptoms may be present before there is obvious swelling of an arm or leg. Other signs and symptoms of early or mild lymphedema include:
• a decreased ability to see or feel the veins or tendons in the extremities,
• tightness of jewelry or clothing,
• redness of the skin,
• asymmetrical appearance of the extremities,
• tightness or reduced flexibility in the joints, and
• slight puffiness of the skin.
As lymphedema progresses to a more moderate to severe state, the swelling of the involved extremity becomes more pronounced. The other symptoms mentioned above also persist with moderate or severe lymphedema.
What causes lymphedema?
Primary lymphedema causes
Primary lymphedema is an abnormality of an individual’s lymphatic system and is generally present at birth, although symptoms may not become apparent until later in life. Depending upon the age at which symptoms develop, three forms of primary lymphedema have been described. Most primary lymphedema occurs without any known family history of the condition.
• Congenital lymphedema is evident at birth, is more common in females, and accounts for about 20% of all cases of primary lymphedema. A subgroup of people with congenital lymphedema has a genetic inheritance (in medical genetics termed “familial sex-linked pattern”), which is termed Milroy disease.
• Lymphedema praecox is the most common form of primary lymphedema. It is defined as lymphedema that becomes apparent after birth and before age 35 years and symptoms most often develop during puberty. Lymphedema praecox is four times more common in females than in males.
• Primary lymphedema that becomes evident after 35 years of age is known as Meige disease or lymphedema tarda. It is less common than congenital lymphedema and lymphedema praecox.
Secondary lymphedema causes
Secondary lymphedema develops when a normally-functioning lymphatic system is blocked or damaged. In the U.S., breast cancer surgery, particularly when combined with radiation treatment, is the most common cause. This results in one-sided (unilateral) lymphedema of the arm. Any type of surgical procedure that requires removal of regional lymph nodes or lymph vessels can potentially cause lymphedema. Surgical procedures that have been associated with lymphedema include vein stripping, lipectomy, burn scar excision, and peripheral vascular surgery.
Damage to lymph nodes and lymph vessels, leading to lymphedema, can also occur due to trauma, burns, radiation, infections, or compression or invasion of lymph nodes by tumors.
Worldwide, however, filariasis is the most common cause of lymphedema. Filariasis is the direct infestation of lymph nodes by the parasite Wuchereria bancrofti. The disease is spread among persons by mosquitoes, and affects millions of people in the tropics and subtropics of Asia, Africa, Western Pacific, and parts of Central and South America. Infestation by the parasite damages the lymph system, leading to swelling in the arms, breasts, legs, and, for men, the genital area. The entire leg, arm, or genital area may swell to several times its normal size. Also, the swelling and the decreased function of the lymph system make it difficult for the body to fight infections. Lymphatic filariasis is a leading cause of permanent disability in the world.
Other symptoms can accompany the swelling of lymphedema including:
• Warmth, redness, or itching
• Tingling or burning pains
• Fever and chills
• Decreased flexibility in the joints
• Aching, pain, and fullness of the involved area
• Skin rash
What are possible treatments for lymphedema?
There is no cure for lymphedema. Treatments are designed to reduce the swelling and control discomfort and other symptoms.
Compression treatments can help reduce swelling and prevent scarring and other complications. Examples of compression treatments are:
Elastic sleeves or stockings: These must fit properly and provide gradual compression from the end of the extremity toward the trunk.
Bandages: Bandages that are wrapped more tightly around the end of the extremity and wrapped more loosely toward the trunk, to encourage lymph flow out of the extremity toward the center of the body.
Pneumatic compression devices: These are sleeves or stockings connected to a pump that provides sequential compression from the end of the extremity toward the body. These may be used in the clinic or in the home and are useful in preventing long-term scarring, but they cannot be used in all individuals, such as those with congestive heart failure, deep venous thrombosis, or certain infections.
Manual compression: Massage techniques, known as manual lymph drainage, can be useful for some people with lymphedema.
Exercises: Exercises that lightly contract and stimulate arm or leg muscles may be prescribed by the doctor or physical therapist to help stimulate lymph flow.
Surgical treatments for lymphedema are used to remove excess fluid and tissue in severe cases, but no surgical treatment is able to cure lymphedema.
Infections of skin and tissues associated with lymphedema must be promptly and effectively treated with appropriate antibiotics to avoid spread to the bloodstream (sepsis). Patients affected by lymphedema must constantly monitor for infection of the affected area. In affected areas of the world, the drug diethylcarbamazine is used to treat filariasis.
The following steps may help reduce the risk of developing lymphedema in those at risk for secondary lymphedema:
• Keep the affected arm or leg elevated above the level of the heart, when possible.
• Avoid tight or constricting garments or jewelry (also avoid the use of blood pressure cuffs on an affected arm).
• Do not apply a heating pad to the affected area or use hot tubs, steam baths, etc.
• Keep the body adequately hydrated.
• Avoid heavy lifting and forceful activity with the affected limb; but normal, light activity is encouraged.
• Do not carry a heavy purse on an affected arm.
• Practice thorough and careful skin hygiene.
• Avoid insect bites and sunburns.
REJUVENATE THE MIND. BALANCE THE BODY.
Young Living’s proprietary Raindrop Technique combines unique, targeted massage and energy approaches with pure, authentic essential oils for a deeply harmonizing, rejuvenating, and relaxing experience.
The technique, developed by Young Living Founder and CEO D. Gary Young, draws from his experience with Native American wellness traditions and provides a revolutionary means of nurturing harmony—physically, mentally, and emotionally.
What is Raindrop Technique?
This technique involves applying therapeutic grade essential oils to the spine, neck and feet. The session lasts about an hour however the benefits may last up to a week or more.
Gary found that combining several holistic techniques, described below, created a synergistic effect for the body. The three modalities that combine to form Raindrop Technique are:
• Aromatherapy – Raindrop technique uses seven single essential oils, two blends and one essential oil massage blend during the session. It is congruent with the French application of aromatherapy where essential oils are applied NEAT (undiluted) to the body.
• Vita Flex Technique – Vita Flex was brought to the US in the 1920s by Stanley Burroughs. It is an ancient Tibetan methodology meaning “vitality through the reflexes”. Its theory is based on the fact that slight pressure applied to the body creates an electric charge that is therapeutic to the body. This is known as piezoelectric.
• Feather Stroking – This is similar to a massage term technique called effleurage. But this technique was actually termed by the Native American Indians.
How does Raindrop get its Name?
Essential oils are actually dropped from about 6 inches above your spine, simulating rain drops! It feels like a rain drop gently striking your spine, and it is very relaxing and comforting.
It is thought that the oils interact with a person’s electric field before even penetrating the skin of the back. Thereby, enhancing the electromagnetic properties of the oils as well. Amazing!
What is the Concept behind Feather Stroking?
In the 1980s Gary Young worked with a Lakota elder named Wallace Black Elk. He learned that the Lakota people went to Canada to experience the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis (before there were border crossings and reservations). The Lakota people would raise their hands toward the light and breathe in the energy of the lights for transformational purposes.
Once the Lakota people could no longer cross the border, they created a stroking technique along the spine using a feather that simulated the energy of the Aurora Borealis. And this is the massage technique that was taught to Gary Young and is named feather stroking.
What are the Benefits of Raindrop Technique?
There are numerous benefits of the Raindrop Technique. Here are just a few:
• Balance and Re-align the Energy Centers of the Body – The combination of techniques brings electrical and structural alignment to the body. The essential oil blend of Valor helps the body align and is often referred to as “chiropractor in the bottle”.
• Non-Manipulative Technique – No manipulation as in chiropractic is performed. The oils help support the body to come back into harmony by opening energy flow throughout the body.
• Reduce Stress and Minor Anxiety – Not only can the oils enhance positive emotions such as joy and happiness, but they can also help us release negative emotions that are subconsciously stored on a cellular level. See the section on stress for more information!
• Aid the Body’s Natural Response to Irritation and Injury – Thyme and Oregano support the immune, respiratory, nervous, and other body systems*. They are strong antioxidants.
• Eases Muscle Discomfort after Exercise – Muscles that are tense and in minor discomfort due to exercise will also benefit. Basil, Wintergreen, Marjoram, Cypress and Peppermint essential oils may reduce tension. See the section on oils for muscles for more information!
• Support Healthy Immune System – Thyme and Oregano essential oils support a healthy immune system*.
• Emotional Well Being and Release – Essential oils effect the limbic system where emotions are stored in the “brain’s emotional computer”.
• Help Detox the Body Systems – The oils that are high in phenols may cleanse cellular receptor sites and enhance cleansing of the body.
And many more!
This method has been used in Italy for many years, and it has recipients of people who are athletic or have a muscle spasm.
It is a holistic method of strong massage that activates the circulation of blood to the muscles, helping them to reduce stress due to muscle fracture.
It takes about an hour to complete the session and we work on the entire body, emphasizing the possible painful points.
At the end of the session there is a sense of relief and release of the body.
Our guests report having a sense of well-being and relaxation
In our center you can enjoy a relaxing or a therapeutic massage session with the choice between half-hour and hourly session. During which you will feel fully refreshed. Make a valuable gift to your body and release it from everyday stress!
It is an alternative method, involving application of pressure to the feet and hands with specific thumb, finger, and hand techniques.
There are more than 7000 nerve endings in the foot, It is based on a system of zones and with specific pressures, reflex areas that purportedly reflect an image of the body on the feet and hands, resulting in stimulation of the nervous and defense system of the body.
Reflexology offers relief to the feet (which lift the weight of the whole body) – hands and not only. It contributes to the elimination of toxins and the overall well-being of the body.