Exercise to stimulate the lymphatic system.

We all exercise every day in many different ways during our daily activities. The lymphatic fluid circulates throughout the body with every movement we perform. When the muscles contract and relax during activity, the one-way valves in the lymphatic vessels open and close to allow the fluid to move towards the heart preventing the back-flow.

The lack of exercise or a diminished daily activity on the other side can be the cause for lymphoedema and its ongoing vicious cycle.

The most suitable activities to encourage the performance of the lymphatic system are:

  • Incidental activities such as climbing stairs at home, walking the dog, doing the shopping, cooking.

  • Qi Gong and Tai Chi exercises vary the total tissue pressure and relax the mind causing the muscles to release the tension

  • Hydrotherapy is a gentle, non weight-bearing exercise that offers a natural pressure gradient.

  • Swimming is a great alternative to land exercise, as the cold water decreases the blood hydrostatic pressure and the saltwater kills the bacteria on the skin. It has the added benefit of emptying the central lymph reservoirs first, and effectively pumps the lymph nodes.

  • Walking is the most natural way to exercise. Walk 4 kilometres in 40 minutes 4 times a week. Should this regimen not be suitable for you, start by walking 10 to 15 minutes everyday and gradually increase the walking time, the intensity or the distance.

  • Bike riding is a non-weight bearing exercise, an alternative to walking for people with knee problems

With my background in fitness and massage therapy, I can help you choose and design which exercise/activity would best suit your condition and manage lymphoedema. I would suggest that you book a one hour appointment for lymphatic drainage massage and we can discuss your situation and expectations during the treatment. For the initial consultation about lymphoedema, please book for a one and half hour appointment. 


Changes in the actual lifestyle are necessary to ensure a successful long term exercise program and weight loss. It is important to prepare mentally and have a basic knowledge of the factors that maximise your results.

Core stability is the key concept in the starting position of movement and must be obtain before challenging individual muscles.

Breathing correctly is also essential to maximise the benefit of exercise, and oxygen is required to be delivered in sufficient quantities to the cells to burn fat.

An important factor in choosing an exercise program is the muscular quality, meaning strength and flexibility to perform the movement required.

To start your exercise program, ensure that you take a minimum of 10’000 steps a day. You can invest in a pedometer and monitor your progress. You start modifying your lifestyle by increasing your incidental activities such as walking up the stairs instead of taking the elevator, parking the car further away from the entrance of the supermarket. An important part of your program is logging your daily record. You can increase your weekly results by 20% by adding a short walk.


Some research shows that weight lift exercise build muscle tissue for effective, permanent fat loss. It is muscle that burns fat! It is much easier and less work to stay slim with muscle than it is to lose fat doing aerobics, although aerobic exercises are great to improve the cardiovascular system.

  • Working at about 60% of the Maximum Heart Rate will increase the use of Free Fatty Acids for the production of energy molecule (ATP). This means also working-out for a longer period of time, thus developing muscular endurance.

  • To exercise after waking up and before eating breakfast will help to burn more fat after the overnight fast because of the low blood sugar levels in your body.


Hydrotherapy is a fun, social and pleasant way to exercise in a warmed up pool.

The benefits of hydrotherapy range from:

  • Improving general fitness, endurance and balance

  • Decreasing stiffness and improve the range of joint movement

  • Increasing strength, maintain or restore physical function

  • Reducing pain

Hydrotherapy is particularly beneficial for fibromyalgia and arthritis because of the weightless feeling due to the boyancy. It is gentle on the joints and allows for movements such as twisting and jumping, which would not otherwise be attempted on land.

In regards to lymphoedema, a heated pool is not recommended because heat has a vasodilation effect, which may cause lymphoedema to worsen. The ideal temperature would be about 28 degrees. Aquaerobic and deep water running are terrific exercises to stimulate the blood and lymph circulation.

Swimming is also ideal and particularly the breast stroke which increases deep breathing and movements of the rib cage to promote the lymph's return to the venous circulation.

The hydrostatic pressure is a natural compression and it is not necessary to wear a compression garment under water.




The waist-hip ratio is, generally speaking, an indicator or measure of health, and the risk of developing serious health conditions, such as diabetes, asthma, or Alzheimer's disease. Research shows that people with "apple-shaped" bodies (with more weight around the waist) face more health risks than those with "pear-shaped" bodies who carry more weight around the hips. 

Waist-hip ratio is used as a measurement of obesity. The WHO states that abdominal obesity is defined as a waist–hip ratio above 0.90 for males and above 0.85 for females or a body mass index (BMI) above 30.

Another way of measuring obesity is absolute waist circumference above 40 in (102 cm) in men and above 35 in (88 cm) in women.


The BMI calculator is a useful tool that measures whether you are overweight, underweight, or just right. Your weight alone is not enough to tell, as a tall, skinny man may easily weigh more than a short but rotund woman. The body mass index, or BMI, overcomes this problem by finding a ratio of your weight to your height, and returning a single number. This number will fit into a category on the scale of BMI ranges, which are defined as underweight, normal, overweight, and obese.

<18 very Underweight | Long term risk to health

18-20 Underweight | Low risk to health

20-25 Acceptable | Least risk to health

25-30 Overweight | Low risk to health

30-40 Morbid Obesity | High degree of risk to health


Patient at the physiotherapy gets massag


Female puts some anti-thrombotic stockin