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Lymphatic Drainage Exercise

Lymphatic Exercise for Lower Extremities

Preparation: Lay down on your back and put your legs on a cushion or a chair so that they are higher than your heart.

Exercise Steps:

1. You will start with one minute of diaphragmatic breathing with a count of 6sec of inhalation and 8sec of exhalation. Make sure you are focused on breathing through your belly and not through your chest.

2. Continue to breathe diaphragmatically. Put your 4 finger pads on your groin region (with both hands), and do a little massage: make a half circle from bottom to top with a tiny pressure on your skin like when you touch a baby’s cheek. For 7-10 times on 3-4 different spots.

3. Paying attention to your breathing, with very light pressure over your skin - massage with 3 finger pads in the sequence starting from the hip in semi-circular motion to stretch the skin. Continue over the thigh, lower leg, and foot repeating 7-10 times at each spot.

4. As you continue to breathe diaphragmatically, hug your knee by gently and slowly pulling it into your chest for 3 seconds. Come back to the neutral position and do the same thing one after the other. You want to put some pressure on your groin region that you just massaged. Repeat 7-10 times.

5. Grab one of your hamstrings where you feel comfortable, and bend and straighten the knee for 3sec. Feel the quadriceps and hamstring working one after the other. Repeat 7-10 times on each leg.

6. Keep the position where your knee is bent as above in #4, and try to straighten and bend the ankle for 3 seconds each. Feel the muscles on your calf and shin working one after the other. Repeat 7-10 times on each leg.

After finishing the right side, repeat on the left side

*Important Point in the Exercise

Lymph nodes exist in the back of your knees and ankles. You want to make sure that you properly put pressure on those parts to help the flow of the lymphatic fluid throughout the body. Do the exercise slowly to gently squeeze the parts where lymph nodes exist, rather than just doing the exercise.


  1. Diaphragmatic breathing: 1 minute

  2. Groin massage: 3sec on and off 7-10x

  3. Massage the skin from hip to the foot: 3sec on and off 7-10x

  4. Knee to chest: 7-10x

  5. Bending and straightening the knee: 7-10x

  6. Bending and straightening the ankle: 7-10x

This exercise can be used for

Swelling in the legs related to any pelvis, hip, knee, or ankle-related accidents, fractures or surgeries, problems related to poor circulation in the legs, swelling in the hip, knee, or ankle due to Rheumatoid or osteoarthritis.

At Orthopedic Movement Physical Therapy, we use Fascial Counterstrain (FCS), a hands-on therapeutic method, to treat fascia that has gotten stiff from injuries. We make lymphatic vessels work in their normal function and make them flexible, so that the exercise we introduced would work more efficiently.

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