Lymphatic Drainage Exercise for Upper Extremities:
Preparation: Please lay on your back with your head propped up on two pillows so that your neck is relaxed.
1. You will start with one minute of diaphragmatic breathing with a count of 6 sec of inhalation and 8 sec of exhalation. Make sure you are focused on breathing through your belly and not through your chest.
2. Continue to breathe diaphragmatically. Use two fingers and put pressure up to half fold depth behind the clavicle. You may bend and rotate your neck towards that side to open the space. Use your index and middle finger pads to put pressure on for 3 sec and off for 3 sec and try to repeat it 7-10 times.
3. Continuing to breathe diaphragmatically, with a pressure equal to squeezing a gummy bear, massage the area in the armpit in a semi-circular motion. Make sure you maintain the pressure going from bottom to top release the pressure and follow back down.
Repeat 7-10 times on 3-4 different spots. Repeat the same thing on the other side.
4. Paying attention to your breathing, with very light pressure over your skin - massage with 3 finger pads in the sequence starting from the shoulder in semi-circular motion to stretch the skin. Continue over the biceps, forearm, and wrist repeating 7-10 times at each spot.
5. Once done, add some active motion of your arm by reaching both arms towards the ceiling, bending your elbows, and squeezing them against the ribcage. Repeat 7-10 times with a 3-second hold and a 3-second relax.
Important Point in Exercise
Lymph nodes exist in the armpit, elbow and wrist. You want to make sure that you properly put pressure on those parts to make lymphatic fluid run through your body. Do the exercise slowly to gently squeeze the parts where lymph nodes exist, rather than just doing the exercise.
Diaphragmatic breathing - 1 min
Pressure behind the collarbone: 7-10 x 3sec on and off
Massaging the armpit: 7-10 x
Massaging the skin from shoulder to wrist: 7-10x
Moving the arms towards the ceiling and squeezing them on the way back
This exercise can be used for :
Post breast cancer surgery, swelling in the arms related to any neck, shoulder, elbow, or wrist-related accidents, fractures or surgeries, problems related to poor circulation in the arms, swelling in the elbow or wrist due to Rheumatoid or osteoarthritis.
At Orthopedic Movement Physical Therapy, we use Fascial Counterstrain (FCS), a hand-on therapeutic method, to treat fascial 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.