DEEP BREATHING FOR LYMPHOEDEMA
Updated: May 29
Breathing correctly is essential to life to maximise the benefits of our daily activities because we need the oxygen to be delivered in sufficient quantities to the cells to create energy molecules. Also, when breathing deeply our rib cage inflates, the muscles in between the ribs expand and relax. When muscles are contracting and relaxing, they stimulate the lymph flow towards the heart because your lymphatic system goes only one way, from the superficial area under your skin to deep towards your heart. Beside, the lymph nodes located in between the ribs are mechanically pumped as the space between the ribs increases and decreases while breathing.
Breathing can be done without compromising the core abdominal muscles. We just need to keep a good posture and firstly sigh to remove some residual air from our lungs before inhaling deeply, in through the nose and out through the mouth. Imagine that you are holding oranges under your armpits and feel your rib cage inflating laterally. Keep your tummy tucked in, your chin in and the shoulders down.
Let's challenge the core abdominal muscles and increase the movement of fluid by adding an arm movement. Keep your arms straight and the elbow joint soft. Elevate your arms to the side as you inhale and bring them back to your side as you exhale, slightly crunching your tummy to decrease the space between your hips and your ribs.
What happens then? Your abdominal lymph nodes are gently pumped and the deep vessel returning the lymph from your legs and lower abdomen is stimulated. The lymph nodes under your armpits and following your collar bone are also working harder. The working of your muscles, the movement of your joints and breathing are the mechanical elements involved in the movement of fluid in the body.
Why not add a deep breathing session to your early morning lymphoedema self-care time? Breathing is one of the greatest pleasure in life. It will brighten your day, give you more energy, making you feel more focused, calm and happy. Do it 10 times and repeat it whenever you think of it throughout the day.