Preventive Care for Reducing your Risk of Lymphedema

Has your doctor told you that you might be at risk of lymphedema? Perhaps you’ve been through cancer treatment that involved lymph node biopsy or removal, or radiation therapy. Or maybe you have gone through a serious injury or burn.  Lymphedema can occur after something damages the lymphatic system. Since the lymphatic system moves fluid though the body, injury to it can make the fluid not flow properly. This can lead to abnormal swelling that develops past the injury point.

Fortunately, there are many easy preventive care steps you can take to lessen your chance of developing long-term swelling.  Here are some basic steps for reducing your risk of lymphedema. Of course, staying consistent in your self care is key to maintaining the desired results.

Skin Care

Risk Factors: Infections, exposure to extreme temperatures

Protect your skin from injury and extreme heat and cold. Your skin is often dryer in areas affected by lymphedema and more susceptible to damage or infection. Even things like small cuts, bug bites, and sunburns can create more risk. So here are a few simple things you can do to protect your skin. You can keep your nails trimmed to avoid scratching yourself. Going forward, you can switch to receiving injections on a limb that has no damage. Use sunscreen to avoid sunburn. Similarly, you can use a fragrance-free, low-pH lotion such as Eucerin or Aquaphor to moisturize and help prevent infections. Avoid things like the hot tub or sauna.

Nutrition and Exercise

Risk factors: too much salt, inactivity, obesity

No specific diet exists for people with a higher risk of lymphedema, but most nutritionists recommend a low-sodium, low-fat diet. Eating too much salt can lead to swelling.

Doing exercise and muscle movement will help regulate lymph flow. The pumping of your muscles helps pump the fluid. You can do any type of gentle movement that your doctor approves. Walking, swimming, and yoga are great ways to get the body moving. However, think about avoiding high-impact activities like boxing that can damage tissues. Don’t forget to wear your compression garment while exercising! The combined movement plus compression gives you extra oomph.

Lastly on this topic, obesity is known to contribute to stress on the lymphatic system. So managing your weight through healthy eating and activity can help lower your risk factors.

What (not) to wear

Risk factors: constriction

You’re trying to avoid things that press on the area. So, avoid wearing tight clothing, especially tight undergarments. Even check that your jewelry is not too tight. Switch your blood pressure tests to a different limb. Get a good fitting compression garment with the guidance of a professional and then wear it. Rather than constricting, these garments move with you to massage the area. Wash your compression garment regularly, and replace it every six months. Check in every year or so to make sure you still have the best compression wear for your needs.

Air Travel

Risk factors: pressure change, inactivity

If you take a trip by air, you can double down on all your self care. Make sure you wear your compression gear and move as much as possible. At mealtime, watch your salt and stay hydrated. Wear loose, comfortable clothing, and try to arrange for seating with more leg room, if possible.

Although having an elevated risk should be taken very seriously, there are many daily habits that can help in reducing your risk of lymphedema. These are just a few ideas to get you started, however, your care team or CLT can give you further guidance. Oh yeah, and if you are getting massage or exercise with an elevated risk, be sure to let your person know so they can plan accordingly!

Related Topics:

Oncology Massage, Lymphatic Massage


Although massage therapy is a luxury for some, it can be a vital component of caregiver self care. Even one massage can give a little tune-up to an overworked caregiver. And many benefit from setting a “me time” routine to help them reset on a regular basis. Over time there is a profoundly positive effect on the body, ranging from the outside to the internal working systems. Think about a car and the maintenance that it needs to stay functioning to maintain good condition and road worthiness. Similarly, many people use massage as preventative maintenance for their muscles and mentality.

Stress can have a powerfully negative impact on the body and the mind. According to WebMD, “Seventy-five percent to 90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaint”. Stress can effect basic functions like sleeping, eating, weight regulation, immune function, and more. For a caregiver tasked with the job of managing the health and well-being of others while trying to maintain their own healthy functions, the heaviness of it all can have a major impact on the body and the mind.

What is a Caregiver?

caregiver—sometimes called an informal caregiver—is an unpaid individual (for example, a spouse, partner, family member, friend, or neighbor) involved in assisting others with activities of daily living and/or medical tasks. Formal caregivers are paid care providers providing care in one’s home or in a care setting (day care, residential facility, long-term care facility). (Source: Family Caregiver Alliance) Both informal and formal caregiving require a lot of emotional and physical energy. Over time, this can lead to stress, physical pain, and burn out.

Massage Therapy is Vital Caregiver Self Care

Massage therapy is vital to caregivers because they need an outlet to release the weight of all that they carry on a day to day basis, emotionally, mentally and physically. Caregivers spend so much of their time caring for others that often times they postpone care for themselves. Just like a car will eventually breakdown after going years without a tune-up, the human body can also begin to breakdown if it goes for long stretches of time without addressing signs of wear and tear. Massage can be the perfect solution for caregivers, helping them to face the daily demands that they face.

How Nimbus Can Help

The team at Nimbus works hard to ensure that each client gets first-rate care. Prior to each session they will perform and intake process to discuss wellness goals, health history, and what massage style has worked (or not) in the past. They will then tailor the session accordingly. Whether the goal is to be more present and less stressed, relieve tension, or combat burn out, Nimbus Massage can help.

Nimbus specializes in helping people manage pain, especially chronic pain, through effective integrative therapies. To book an appointment with one of experienced practitioners: Click Here.  



Massage therapy feels so luxurious, but we know some even better reasons to give the gift of massage. We all know someone, ourselves included, who could use a really good dose of self-care. The end of the year is the perfect time to start wellness activities like massage, yoga or meditation to gear up for all that is to come in 2020. Although the clock is winding down and the last-minute holiday gift rush is upon us, there is still time to purchase a meaningful and thoughtful gift!

To make it even sweeter, we are going to give you five reasons why you should give the gift of massage with  a Nimbus Massage gift card

Living with Chronic Pain is no fun

Do you know someone who lives with a chronic pain syndrome? Complains about neck and shoulder tension? Suffers from headaches, back pain or other ailments? If so, then a gift card from Nimbus Massage would be the perfect way to help them on the road to manage or even eliminate that pain. The massage staff at Nimbus specializes in applying therapeutic massage techniques to help people manage chronic conditions, especially pain. 

Many paths to wellness

Want to help them nurture themselves a little? Connecting to wellness can come in different forms for different people. At Nimbus Massage we pride ourselves on offering integrative services that help people in more than one way. A Nimbus gift card can be used not only toward massage, but toward any of our services like yoga, meditation classes, or nutritional counseling. Even for self-care items from our retail line. In fact, we offer a gift card for our Back on Track Package for those who want it all! This package incorporates: nutritional counseling, massage, a private yoga class, and a take home self-care gift.

Total Recharge

The holidays signify the end of a whole year. The good, the bad, the ehhh… all of it! Whether your someone special is trying to forget all 365 days; revel in all that they have accomplished; or get set for a big 2020. A Massage Therapy gift card can really help someone recharge whom you have watched evolve over the year. Simply hand them over to us and we’ll make sure that we tailor a session for them, to ensure the very best experience. (Or perhaps you need to recharge yourself….)

Couples Massage

If you know (or are part of) a great couple, purchase a gift card for them to use towards a couples massage. Nimbus is one of the few small independent massage studios in Richmond to offer a customized couples massage experience. Since Nimbus does not do choreographed massages, each person gets a session tailored to their own needs and preferences. Because being part of a duo doesn’t mean that each person has the same goals for their massage.

Employee Appreciation

Ok, it is the 25th hour (no pun intended). You are struggling to find something for your team, who have done really great work for you this year. We can come to your location and treat the whole team with chair massage, yoga, or our group meditation & music class. Or, purchase a package of gift cards to give individually. Then they can customize their own unique experience which we promise they will enjoy. 

That’s it!

Ok, so we gave you five VERY valid and awesome reasons to choose a Nimbus Massage Therapy gift card for someone special this holiday season. We look forward to tailoring a session to meet the goals of you or your giftee. To help them BE WELL in the new year.











What is Trigger Point Therapy?

Trigger Point Therapy uses a firm sustained pressure to relieve painful knots called trigger points (TP’s). Unlike other tender knots, trigger points have four specific characteristics.

  1. TP’s are tender nodules found within a taut band of muscle.
  2. TP’s send a pain signal, called a referral, to a distant or surrounding area.
  3. When pressed, the muscle that has a trigger point twitches.
  4. The pain does not originate from apparent trauma, infection, or neurological problems.

Sometimes, when active, the TP causes constant referral pain. When latent, the referral area only feels painful when one presses on the TP.

Firm pressure treatment

To apply Trigger Point Therapy, your massage therapist locates the knot, presses on it with a firm pressure, and holds it for several seconds. They may repeat this if the initial pressure does not relieve the pain. Once the knot softens, and the pain lessens, your therapist may stretch the muscle to restore the proper length to the muscle fiber.

Your therapist may apply Trigger Point Therapy if you have a baffling muscular pain that doesn’t seem related to injury. Especially if you have tender knots and/or a feeling of weakness in the muscle. They may ask you to look at pain patterns with them to see if any look familiar prior to starting your session. Definitely if you have Myofascial Pain Syndrome, which involves multiple trigger points throughout the body.

A widely respected text in the massage industry written by a pair of doctors, maps all of the muscles in the body along with common trigger points and their referral patterns. Although therapists jokingly call the this manual “the Massage Bible,” controversy surrounds the soundness of the material. In practice however, this style of massage has helped many people find muscular pain relief.

At Nimbus Massage, your therapist may check for trigger points if you have headaches, neck pain, back pain, hip pain, TMJ Dysfunction, or pain in the extremities.  If you don’t like firm pressure, they can adjust the technique to make it more gentle. You may experience this technique during a Massage for Chronic Pain or a Massage for Aches and Pains.

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