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Lymph Nodes

Kkatsos2010-07-05 02:29:11 +0000 #1
Hello Makunda:

A student had a breast removed and 17 lymph nodes 10 years ago. Recently she has had swelling in the lower arm (between elbow & wrist) on the same side as her surgery. She began practicing yoga regularly about two months ago (at least twice a week with different teachers at our studio). Her physical therapist thinks it is the yoga that is causing the swelling. She believes it is related to the lack of lymph nodes in that arm and area to drain/cleanse that side of her body.

1) Can you tell me if yoga would cause the swelling?

2) What you would recommend to address the swelling?

Thank you.

Nichole2010-07-05 02:37:34 +0000 #2
Namaste Kat,

I send this post to a few of my colleagues and to Mukunda's senior teachers. This reply is from Anne Soulet, who is another Structural Yoga Therapist. There should be a few more recommendations being posted soon as well.




The symptoms are definitely the ones of Lymphodema.

The conditions did not come because of yoga.

It develops when there is too much work, or pressure or other trauma to the area which then cannot cope with the proper return of lymph in the lymphangiomes back up to the armpit then the heart.

Lymphangiomes are like tiny sausages which exist in the lymphatic channels of the body. When there is heat and effort, the limbs, hands and feet swell, the blood vessels enlarge, so do the lymph vessels. The lymphangiomes in the lymph vessels have the job of reducing the swelling by pumping the lymph back up the limb by contraction of one sausage to the next.

Unfortunately, when the lymphatic channels are sluggish due to loosing lymph nodes or other reasons, the return does not happen and lymph gets stuck like egg white in the lower extremities.

It is extremely important to deal with it urgently so that the limb stops swelling, hurting etc... There is a need to see a lymphedema specialist to have a sleeve made to size of the swollen arm. also bandages for the night when lymph is most sluggish due to lack of movement.

The arm can be raised higher than the heart and in the sleeve during the day. There should be no lifting, carrying, wearing of tight jewlery, no open wound , and good sterilization of the area to prevent any infection since the lymphatics do not work any more.

Any yoga asana with weight on the arm is counterindicated. The asana should be done in another plane , ie: dog can become standing facing a wall and bending forward so that hands are still higher but tailbone can still work up to stretch the hamstrings.

Indicated practice is mostly without excessive heat, hardship and with gentle movement that favourise movement of lymph back to heart. Joint Freeing series is good as well as gentle vinyasas in the Desikacharya's tradition.

Hope that helps and write again if need more.


Anne Soulet

Mangala2010-07-05 02:55:38 +0000 #3
Sounds like lymphodema. Anne Soulet, a fellow yoga therapist trained by Mukunda Stiles, is the expert on this. She is in France now. Her graduate SYT paper is on Mukunda's site. www.

I'm sure Anne would know more. I recommend you contact her. Her contact email is on her paper.

I cut and pasted the following from the internet.

If a lymph vessel or node becomes blocked, the lymph fluid is unable to pass along it. Because the excess tissue fluid cannot drain away normally, it builds up and causes swelling. The medical name for swelling is oedema (pronounced 'e dee ma'). When the swelling is in the lymph system, it is called lymphoedema.

Lymphoedema is not always related to cancer.

Primary lymphoedema occurs because the lymphatic system has not formed properly, but this is rare. It can also be caused by other medical conditions, which affect the lymphatic system.

Secondary lymphoedema is caused by disease or its treatment. It can occur if the lymph nodes are blocked with cancer or if they have been removed by surgery. Radiotherapy can also cause lymphoedema by creating a build up of scar tissue within the lymph nodes.

Not everyone who has radiotherapy to the lymph nodes will get lymphoedema. Lymphoedema is more likely to occur if surgery and radiotherapy are both given together to the same area - for example, when lymph nodes are removed from the armpit during surgery for breast cancer and the area is then treated with radiotherapy.

Surgery or radiotherapy given on their own to a part of the body are less likely to result in lymphoedema.

Causes of lymphoedema : Cancerbackup:

It is common for lymphomema to result after injections or blood pressure testing on the side of surgery. Many women opt to wear medical alert bracelets.

Hamsa Stone has some recommendations for you too. Good Luck. Namaste, Mangala



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