The lymphatic system differs from the blood circulatory system in that it does not have a “pump” to move the lymphatic fluids back to the blood stream. Because of this, good lymph flow depends on proper joint and muscle activity. This is especially true if the lymphatic system is compromised. Individuals suffering from lipedema can receive great benefit when engaging in diaphragmatic breathing exercises. These exercises are especially beneficial when they are combined together with other parts of a decongestive regimen.
Deep breathing or abdominal/diaphragmatic breathing exercises are tools that can stimulate the lymphatic structures by clearing the lymph upstream. When the diaphragm is depressed from deep breathing it creates a negative pressure which encourages flow of fluid from the lymph system into the venous circulation. When lymphatic fluid from the lower extremities passes through the lymphatic structures deep in the body in an increased flow, it can improve the drainage from the lower extremities that are being affected by lipedema.
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Easy Deep Breathing Exercises
Deep breathing is easily done, and you will probably find that they will provide an overall sense of relaxation. Lie on your back on a flat surface, with your head supported upward and your knees bent. If you like, you can place a pillow under your legs for additional support. Place a hand on your upper chest and the other on your abdomen; this will let you feel your diaphragm moving as you breathe.
Inhale slowly through your nose so that you can feel your stomach rising out against your hand. The hand on your chest should remain as still as possible. Tighten your stomach muscles. As you exhale, let the stomach muscles go inward. Again, the hand that is on your chest should remain as still as possible. To accentuate the exhaling, you may let the exhaled air flow through pursed lips.
You should initially practice these abdominal breathing exercises for about five to 10 minutes, three to four times a day. If no discomfort or dizziness is experienced, you can then increase the amount of time you perform these exercises.
Deep breathing exercises are just one part of a full range of therapies that can help reduce the symptoms of lipedema. Dr. Wright and his staff will guide you through the process of finding the best procedures and treatments for your individual case!
For more information on Lipedema please visit FatDisorders.org Lipedema Groups for some valuable information.