Can massage help with Edema or swelling of arms, legs and/or feet?

Yes. The use of Lymphatic Drainage Therapy  (LDT) is a technique commonly used by massage therapists in the treatment of lymphedema. LDT consists of specific movements that are used to lightly push lymph through the system, helping it to drain out of the tissues and move throughout the body. Lymphedema can be caused by heart problems, wearing tight fitting clothing, and injuries like sprains and fractures. It also sometimes happens as a side effect of chemotherapy treatments and cancer surgeries where the lymph nodes are damaged or removed.

During an LDT session, a massage therapist gently presses and moves his or her hands along the body in specified directions using light pressure strokes. This is an attempt to “reverse” the flow of lymph away from the area of swelling. This treatment is generally used together with other treatments, like exercising to promote circulation, compression therapy, anti-inflammatory drugs, and ice packs. Ask your therapist if this treatment may be right for you.