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Your first line of defence.

Your skin is your first barrier preventing invaders from entering your body. Dry, cracked skin is more open to foreign invaders than moist supple skin. So skin care is important consideration in the management of lymphoedema. Keeping your skin moist and healthy through the application of moisturisers and dry brushing. I have found the best methods are often the simplest and cheapest. Applying glycerine (readily available at the local supermarket) or coconut oil straight after you shower while you are still wet. A wet body allows for more even spread and you don’t have to use as much. Pat dry with a towel, they both dry quickly on the skin and don’t transfer onto your clothes. Also, if you have an aloe vera plant, removing the jell and rubbing that into your skin is very effective.


Dry skin brushing. I tend to use this as part of my manual lymphatic drainage routine. I simply use the dry brush in the same way you do a self MLD. Starting at the proximal end, firstly deep breathing, clearing area around the blockage then moving slowing up the limb to the farthest extremity, brushing the lymph up the body. As I have lower limb lymphoedema I usually lie with my whole body on a slope of approx. 30deg, so gravity can help the process.

I know a lot of people say to raise your legs only up but the way I see it is that you are pushing the interstitial fluid into your groin where it then has to change angle to move into your abdomen area. I find it better to have a continual slope, so I just prop a pillow under my buttocks for a continuous even flow. See Manual Lymphatic Drainage section.

Light gentle massage and elevation will help to move the interstitial fluid to another area for processing however, a gentle slow pumping action is required on the lymph vessels, starting at the proximal end (around blockage) gently pumping your way down the central channel to the lower extremity to encourage lymph fluid through the lymph vessels and around the blockage. You have to clear the blocked end first then work your way down in order for the fluid to move through the non-return valve system – in other words you empty the vessel upstream first so the downstream fluid can move into the upstream vessel.

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