How is your Lymphatic System Connected with Cancer?

How is your Lymphatic System Connected with Cancer?Are you living with or at high risk for breast cancer? Did you know there are certain habits and exercises you can use to strengthen your body’s response to breast cancer? Not only will these habits and exercises help prevent and self treat breast cancer, but they will also benefit your health in a myriad of other ways.

In this article, I will detail exactly what these habits and exercise are. But, before I go that far, let’s start with the base: your lymphatic system.

What is the Lymphatic System?

Why your Lymphatic System is Critical to your Overall HealthThe lymph system is a network of nodes, organs, and lymph vessels. Your lymph system consists of your adenoids, liver, lymph fluid, lymph nodes, lymphatic vessels, spleen, thymus, thoracic duct,  and tonsils. Working in harmony, your lymph system’s components absorb excess fluid from the body and return that fluid to your bloodstream. These components also absorb fat in your small intestine and boost your immune system.

Why your Lymphatic System is Critical to your Overall Health

A healthy, well-functioning lymph system serves several critical functions for your health and wellness, including:

    • Balance of proteins in your tissues’ fluids
    • Diffusion and circulation of nutrients such as Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K from your red blood cells.
    • Regulation of your blood pressure

The most important reason to have a healthy lymph system?: A strong lymph system provides protection from harmful toxins and bacteria.

Now that you understand the importance of your lymph system, let’s explore how it is connected with cancer.

How is your Lymphatic System Connected with Cancer?

As mentioned above, your lymph system serves as a critical line of defense for your body’s immunity. In this defense, your lymphatic system destroys old or abnormal cells, such as cancer cells.

Details on How your Lymph System Removes Cancerous Cells

This is a high level overview on how cancerous cells are removed from your body:

Blood circulates throughout your body.

      1. As your blood flows, fluid leaks from your blood vessels to your body tissues.
      2. This excess fluid delivers food to your cells and forms tissue fluid with your body’s tissues.
      3. At this point, this excess fluid picks up bacteria, waste products, and damaged or abnormal cells, including cancerous cells.
      4. After this “garbage collection”, the fluid drains into your lymph vessels.

Next, your lymph fluid flows through your lymph vessels and lymph glands, filtering out those nasty cancerous cells along the way.

The most important habit you can adopt? Get moving and exercise! Your lymph system doesn’t have a pump to stimulate lymph movement; therefore, you have to get that lymph moving manually. The best way to do this is via exercise, but not just any exercise.

Learn more below:

Get Moving to Boost your Lymph Flow

Any vertically oriented exercise is best for your lymph system. So, your go to exercises should be downward dogs, jumping jacks, or headstands. Certain physical limitations, however, can make these types of exercises uncomfortable, painful, or even impossible. For these reasons, bouncing on a trampoline, or rebounding, is the most effective workout you can give your lymph system. Check out the next section to learn why.

The Best Exercise for your Lymphatic System: Rebounding!

The Best Exercise for your Lymphatic System- Rebounding!What is Rebounding? Rebounding is a great exercise that helps you satisfy all four essential elements of exercise: aerobic capacity, endurance, flexibility, and strength. Rebounding increases the flow of oxygen to all cells in your body, and the exercise can help you become healthier, stronger, and help your body become more capable of effectively fighting disease.

What Equipment is Needed to Rebound?All you need is a high quality rebounder trampoline, or exercise trampoline, to rebound! If you need more stability during your bounces, you can also purchase a stability bar with most rebounder models. For more info on what to look for when shopping for a rebounder, check out this detailed rebounder trampoline buyer’s guide.

Even if you rebound regularly, you still need to maintain a balanced, nutritious diet, get proper rest, avoid negative behaviors such as drug use, and get proper treatment for states detrimental to your health such as stress, anxiety, and depression.

Due to its positive impact on not only your lymph system but a variety of other bodily systems, rebounding is the best exercise to invigorate your body’s lymph flow.

Leonard Parker, Owner of RebounderZoneIf you are ready to start a new, refreshing stage in your battle against breast cancer, start rebounding today with these high quality rebounders. Use discount code VICTORY for 10% off all products in our store.

A life of better health awaits you.

Author: Leonard Parker, Owner of RebounderZone 

Benefits of Yoga For Lymphedema Management

Benefits of Yoga For Lymphedema Mangement

Yoga Model Angela Strynkowski, E-RYT 500 Wearing LympheDiva’s Compression Garment

By: Breast Cancer Yoga Staff.

Yogic breathing and gentle yoga poses assist the body in circulating lymphatic fluid through its network of vessels. It is not uncommon for a woman to develop lymphedema after a mastectomy. Manual lymph drainage massage is a recommended technique for this swelling, along with compression bandages and other specialized treatments.

When the lymphatic system is at its optimum, it runs like a free flowing river. However, when the lymph nodes are removed or damaged, that same river experiences obstacles; it slows down and creates a build up or a damning up of fluids. This build up of fluid causes swelling and pain, and may increase the risk of infection. It may also cause a permanent disability.

Secondary lymphedema occurs as a result of a blockage or interruption that alters the flow of lymph through the lymphatic system. This blockage can develop from an infection, cancer, breast surgery, scar tissue formation, trauma, radiation or other cancer treatment.

Lymphedema Sleeve For YogaThe use of replacing axillary lymph nodes along with breast reconstruction with micro-surgical techniques have shown to improved the symptoms of lymphedema. To keep this fluid flowing, we need to foster relaxation with gentle yoga movements.

Practicing yoga, especially Breast Cancer Yoga will target the soft tissue areas with flowing movements and keep the lymphatic fluid moving throughout the channels rather than slowing down and creating a back up. On going yoga poses and breathing exercises will help keep the chest tissue from shrinking and promotes the healing. It is recognized in cancer treatment that the “milking out” of lymph fluid build up is imperative for the patients health both physically, and emotionally. In a flowing yoga practice this “milking out” can occur.

Lymphedema is not reversible but managed. The need to develop a deeper state of relaxation to counter mind and body stress is so important to our health, well-being and recovery.

To experience the benefits of yoga for breast cancer, it is essential that you begin with simple, gentle yoga movements. You should also consult a doctor before you begin practicing yoga. It is also necessary that you follow a yogic diet that consists of a mainly vegetarian diet to enhance the benefits of yoga.

Diana RossAbout Diana Ross:  E-RYT 500 restorative yoga teacher, survivor that cares and founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Diana is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at if you have questions.

Dry skin brushing can strengthen immunity, spark detoxification and reverse the hands of time –

Dry skin brushing can strengthen immunity, spark detoxification and reverse the hands of time -

Dry skin brushing can strengthen immunity, spark detoxification and reverse the hands of time via


Long used in Ayurveda, dry skin brushing is a powerful — yet exceptionally economical — healing therapy. Upon first glance, the practice may not seem like much. We may question how a quick session of brushing the skin can provide such impressive results as heightened immunity, reduction of cellulite and overall detoxification. As unlikely as it may seen, dry skin brushing delivers all of the above and more.

With this straightforward technique, you are on your way to glowing health, smooth skin and a happy lymphatic system — this last perk is especially important to keep immunity buzzing and your constitution robust. But how does it work?

When we brush the skin in an upward motion, not only are we removing surface toxins and dead skin cells, but we’re also stimulating the movement of lymphatic fluids — a secondary circulatory system that assists immunity by transporting white blood cells and removing waste. Since the lymph system doesn’t have a mechanism like the heart to keep fluid flowing, it needs to be manually encouraged through dry brushing, exercise, rebounding or yoga.

Skin brushing is also known for firming cellulite, thereby smoothing lumpy problem areas of the skin. However, don’t be fooled. The taming of cellulite isn’t simply a cosmetic concern, it’s also linked with a lower toxic load. Since cellulite is comprised of fatty toxic buildup, when we brush the skin, we are essentially helping dissolve these formations so they can be removed by the eliminatory channels of the body.

Beyond detoxification and promoting youthful skin, the practice also increases blood flow, improves muscle tone and tightens up sagging bits. On top of that, the production of hydrating oils is stimulated, further enhancing a healthy dermal surface. Dry skin brushing aids digestion as well as kidney function too.

Brush well and often

If you’re sold on the idea of dry brushing, here are a few tips to get you started.

  • Frequency — You should try to brush your skin at least once per day, with each session lasting between 2 and 20 minutes. Before your morning shower is ideal. Otherwise, a brushing session at night might prove to be too stimulating and interfere with sound sleep.
  • Brush type –– Look for a natural, stiff-bristled brush with a long, attachable handle for reaching tricky areas like the back. Avoid synthetic bristles, as they tend to be overly harsh and can damage the skin.
  • Method — Beginning with the feet, and moving up the legs, brush toward the heart. You want to use long, sweeping motions — not scrubbing or back and forth movements. And don’t brush so vigorously that the skin is red or irritated. You’re aiming for stimulation, not trauma. For the stomach area, brush counterclockwise. Next, focus on your backside with upward strokes. End the session with the hands, arms and chest. Avoid delicate areas like the face. Remember, both the skin and brush need to remain dry for the entire session. For maximum benefit, make sure to shower afterwards to remove dead skin cells and surface toxins.


About the author: Carolanne believes if we want to see change in the world, we need to be the change. As a nutritionist, natural foods chef and wellness coach, she has encouraged others to embrace a healthy lifestyle of green living for over 13 years. Through her website she looks forward to connecting with other like-minded people who share a similar vision.




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Wheel of Life Yoga Pose For Breast Cancer

Yoga For Breast Cancer - Wheel of Life PoseBy Diana Ross, E-RYT 500, Certified Yoga Therapist and Co-Founder of Breast Cancer Yoga.

Few exercises are offered for breast cancer and lymphedema health improvement. Yoga exquisitely blends techniques which promote muscle tone, flexibility, proper breathing, mental clarity, stress relief and peace.

If your chest is not tender Wheel of Life is a great full body pose. Arms and head can move in all directions. Great for moving lymph fluid throughout the entire body. Use your bed for the ultimate comfort.

Creates an openness for hips
Increased circulation to chest and lymph area
Lengthens side body
Increases vitality
Post surgical benefits of reducing fibrous adhesions and scar tissue
Improves shoulder flexibility
Stretches the tensor fascia latea muscle, waist and spine
Expands back ribs for deeper breathing
Increases ROM of cervical spine (neck) if head turns to opposite side
Mild twist within inner core

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  1. Begin in Partial Recline (knees bend and back to ground) then turn
    both knees to right creating a twist. Shoulders remaining to ground,
    arms in T position, and then extend right lower leg.
  2. INHALE, bring right arm up and over to ground in front of chest,
    press down on hand, push up and draw left arm behind and bring
    chest to ground (lower torso carefully), arms in T position.
  3. Stay as long as comfortable  – 10 breaths.
  4. Head can stay to the right or turn to left but only if comfortable.
  5. Extend upper right arm 90 degrees overhead (arms are in a 9:00
  6. INHALE, press up when done, roll back over.
  7. EXHALE Knees to Chest.
  8. Repeat on other side.

To experience the benefits of yoga for breast cancer, it is essential that you begin with simple, gentle yoga movements. You should also consult a doctor before you begin practicing yoga. It is also necessary that you follow a yogic diet that consists of a mainly vegetarian diet to enhance the benefits of yoga.

Restorative Yoga For Breast Cancer Book

Try Our NEW Yoga Book

Diana RossAbout Diana Ross: E-RYT 500 restorative yoga teacher, survivor that cares and founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Diana is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at if you have questions.

Staff Pose – Half Butterfly For Breast Cancer Recovery

This is a classic twisting yoga pose that helps to squeeze out toxins. Using resistance to really go a bit further helps to squeeze out tensions too. When you are in breast cancer recovery, twists play a vital role in wellness. We typically do not twist in our day-to-day routines so the toxins remain until we go directly after a pose to begin the process of elimination. Letting the knee externally rotate out to side also releases any pent up tensions or tightness in the groin and hip area. Try it for yourself and use your breath fully so that every drop of tension leaves your mind and body.


  • Stretches inner thigh and groin, releasing psoas
  • Promotes lymphatic drainage
  • Gently promotes pectoral and soft tissue stretch
  • Lifts ribs and relaxes intercostal muscles
  • Creates deeper breathing
  • Improves mobility and alignment of spine
  • Increases circulation and nutrition to discs


  1. Begin seated with legs extended forward and feet flexed in L Seat. Sit at edge of small yoga pillow or folded blanket so pelvis tilts forward.
  2. Inhale, bring right foot up and inside left inner thigh and then relax knee out to side. If needed support knee with blanket or pillow.
  3. Exhale, twist to the left placing right hand to outer left knee and left hand behind. Use resistance against the leg to deepen into the twist.
  4. Draw shoulders onto the back and lift the chest and head. Breathe into the twist and enjoy the squeezing out of tightness and tensions. Stay for 3/5 breaths.
  5. Inhale, soften torso and arms and return back to center. Bring knee up and extend leg forward.
  6. When ready repeat on other side.

To experience the benefits of yoga for breast cancer, it is essential that you begin with simple, gentle yoga movements. You should also consult a doctor before you begin practicing yoga. It is also necessary that you follow a yogic diet that consists of a mainly vegetarian diet to enhance the benefits of yoga.

Diana RossAbout Diana Ross:  E-RYT 500 restorative yoga teacher, survivor that cares and founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Diana is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at if you have questions.

Easy Warrior Pose For Breast Cancer And Lymphedema

Easy Warrior Pose By Diana Ross, E-RYT 500 Founder of Breast Cancer Yoga

With Easy Warrior Pose pectoral muscles open and expand, stimulating lymph fluid drainage, decreasing blockages, while softening stiff or frozen shoulders.


  • Opens and expands pectoral muscles
  • Promotes lymphatic fluid drainage and decreases lymph flow blockages
  • Softens stiff shoulders or frozen shoulders
  • Frees the breath by way of opening the chest region
  • Improves leg strength and flexibility
  • Increases ROM (range of motion) for arms and shoulders
  • Has calming effect by  harmonizing the breath with the movement
  • Warms up entire body
  • Lengthens entire spine allowing there to be space between each vertebrae
  • Promotes balance


  1. Begin standing and step right foot forward,about 2  1/2 to 3 feet apart, with feet
  2. and hips facing forward (back foot can be slightly turned out to maintain balance.)
  3. INHALE, roll palms out and bring arms up to a comfortable height or if possible  overhead while bending front right knee simultaneously. Keep the knee in alignment over the ankle.
  4. Please note: if your arms cannot go directly overhead, raise them to where you can. Never “push through a pose”, going beyond your own capacity.
  5. EXHALE, lower arms and straighten front leg.
  6. Repeat 3 to 5 times and then sustain Easy Warrior Pose with arms overhead or lifted up.
  7. Switch legs, left foot forward.
  8. Repeat the flow, and then sustain the pose.

Yoga and Lymphedema Management
Practicing continuous flowing movements significantly improves the lymphatic system. When lymph fluid is disrupted because of breast cancer surgery, trauma or infection, excessive lymph fluid builds up. This stagnant fluid can play havoc on the tissues and create swelling. There also can be a reduction of the oxygen absorption in the lymphatic system which increases the chance for infection. Practicing a flowing yoga pumps the lymphatic fluid throughout the body’s channels, rather than allowing it to accumulate or back up. It is great for maintaining healthy breast tissue. To keep this fluid moving, we need to also foster relaxation. It will facilitate renewed or restored strength and flexibility.

Diana RossAbout Diana Ross:  E-RYT 500 restorative yoga teacher, survivor that cares and founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Diana is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at if you have questions.

How To Use A Dry Brush For Breast Cancer & Lymphedema

Dry Brush For Breast CancerBy Diana Ross, E-RYT 500 Founder of Breast Cancer Yoga.

Dry brushing stimulates the skin and circulates lymph fluid which is vital for overall health. The skin is the largest organ in the body and is responsible for a quarter of the body’s detoxification. The ability of the skin to excrete toxins is of paramount importance. Dry skin brushing helps to shed dead skin cells, which improves skin texture and cell renewal.

How To Use A Dry Brush For Breast Cancer & Lymphedema

  1. Dry Brush your entire body before you shower, preferably in the morning or before bed. This helps loosen and remove dead skin and uric acid crystals.
  2. Start at the soles of your feet doing circular movements, then brush upwards on your legs toward your heart. Use long, even strokes.
  3. Brush all the way up your legs, scooping forward from behind your hips to your tummy. If you have cellulite on your hips and thighs, concentrate their a little longer.
  4. Then begin circular movements over your tummy. Start with up on right and down on left, simulating the natural movement of the bowels.
  5. Be kind in the thin sensitive skin areas of inner arm, arm pits or tops of hands and not directly on breasts. Avoid brushing anywhere the skin is broken or where you have a rash, infection, cut or wound.
  6. When ready, start the shower with warm water and end briefly with cold. Let the cold water start at your legs then the heart is last. This hot/cold therapy further stimulates the lymphatic system which improves overall circulation.
  7. Dry off vigorously and massage pure plant oils into your skin or spray on Simply Lavender. You may want your skin to breathe for a while too. Enjoy this process of good health and detoxification.

Dry skin brushing increases circulation to skin, encouraging your body’s discharge of metabolic wastes, which greatly aids the lymphatic drainage of the entire body. When the body rids itself of toxins, it is able to run more efficiently in all areas. Dry skin brushing stimulates the lymph canals to drain toxic mucoid matter into the colon, thereby purifying the entire system. This enables the lymph to perform its house-cleaning duties by keeping the blood and other vital tissues detoxified.

Visit Breast Cancer Yoga To Purchase Dry Brush

Diana Ross ContibutorAbout Diana Ross: An expert in the field of yoga, and complementary herbal medicines. She has dedicated the last 30 years studying yoga philosophy and Native American herbs. Her credentials are as an E-RYT 500 (Experienced-Registered Yoga Teacher) and CYT (Certified Yoga Therapist).  Diana’s system of yoga is KaliRay TriYoga. She has studied with Yogini Kali Ray “Kaliji” for 18 years is certified from Basics to Level 2. As founder of Breast Cancer Yoga, and as a survivor Diana wants to make a difference and offer hope, health and support.

Lymphedema – Risky Business

Angela Strynkowski, E-RYT 500 Founder of A Jewel In The Lotus

Angela Strynkowski, E-RYT 500 Founder of A Jewel In The Lotus

By Lesley Ronson Brown

Dealing with lymphedema is a risky business.  The best insurance you can get is to develop your own awareness and retrain yourself to do things differently. Avoid trauma! We cannot prevent lymphedema, but we can reduce our risk of getting it or worsening it.

The best advice I heard from a physical therapist is to:  “know your limb.”

Be aware of changes in your arm or leg and things that might irritate it.  We can train ourselves to move through life in ways that keep us safe.  It becomes an automatic response, just like looking both ways before crossing a street.

Put yourself on Safety Patrol with these ideas:

  • Avoid excessive heat like hot tubs and extremely hot yoga rooms.
  • On hot days, reschedule outdoor activities for a cooler day or break down the time spent in the heat into smaller increments.
  • Use bug spray and don’t scratch if you get a bite.  Keep anti-itch cream handy. You don’t want to leave any opening for infection on the affected limb.  Our immune system is weakened and there is a lot of bacteria in the swollen limb’s lymphatic vessels.
  • When gardening or hiking, wear long sleeves and gloves.
  • Avoid sunburn.  Use sunscreen.
  • Moisturize affected limb daily with fragrance-free lotion like Lubriderm or Eucerin, etc.  Fragrance is drying and can irritate the skin.
  • See a dermatologist for skin issues.  Common OTC remedies, such as wart removal medicine, could put you at risk.
  • Be selective about where you get manicures and pedicures. Do not let anyone cut your cuticles.  Request they gently push them back instead.  Look for safety first, not price or convenience.  You are worth it!
  • Lighten up your load.  Always keep elbows slightly bent when carrying something heavy, and use the unaffected arm as often as you can.  Divide contents between 2 bags or purses. I keep a “car purse” and a “port-a-purse”.  The car purse has things I might need, like eyeliner, concealer, blush, hand lotion, jelly bellies, etc.  The port-a-purse has essentials, like my wallet, phone, hand sanitizer, extra set of keys, and of course, my extensive collection of chocolate malted milk balls.  WARNING!  Do not leave those balls or any chocolate in the car purse in the summer months!!!  I don’t leave it in the car in Chicago winters, either.  Chocolate is best at room temperature
  • Open heavy doors wisely.  If you live in my home state of Louisiana,

this isn’t usually a problem, as a man will automatically do it for you.  For us lymphedemiacs who live north of the Mason-Dixon line like I do now, that rarely will happen.  So here’s how to handle the heavy door:  Don’t shove or kick it open with your affected limb.  Use the other limb or use both arms and hands.  And if you can, back into it, using your whole backside of the body with your full weight.  This is a good technique if you are carrying a bunch of stuff (but not too much stuff!)

  • Buy shredded cheese and pre-cut veggies when possible. Or get friends and family to help you. Reduce the amount of time you spend with a knife in your hand!
  • Avoid heavy housework such as vacuuming and scrubbing.  Trade off with friends and family.  Run their errands for them.
  • Keep pets’ claws trimmed.  Wear gloves and long, heavy fabric sleeves when appropriate, such as bath time, trimming nails, giving meds, etc.
  • Avoid underwire bras and bras or clothing that are too tight.
  • Avoid tight jewelry.  Wear your watch on the unaffected arm.
  • Avoid acupuncture on the affected area, but OK to do on other body parts.
  • Avoid hard pressure massage.  Use only a light touch, called a “skin stretch”.  If your massage therapist doesn’t know this, find one who does.  Best to allow only lymphatic drainage experts to touch your limb.  Remember, it is precious!
  • Have blood pressure and blood draws taken on the unaffected arm or leg.
  • Reduce your salt and fat intake as both can cause swelling, and fat deposits left in the space between tissues makes it difficult for fluid to pass through and into lymphatic vessels.

Finally, losing weight or maintaining it might not decrease swelling, but gaining weight CAN bring on episodes of swelling.  Now that’s just not fair, darn it!

Information, Please!

What is Lymphedema? 

By Lesley Ronson Brown, Registered Yoga Therapist

Breast Cancer Yoga Lymphedema

Good heavens! It’s hard to understand this disease called lymphedema that some of us get…and some of us don’t…as a side effect of cancer treatment when lymph nodes are removed followed by radiation. We might be given a pamphlet to read about it, but that is usually at a time when we are struggling with much confusion and fear.
So here is some info…the lymphatic system is part of our body’s waste management system and has two main jobs. It transports waste from cells that blood vessels don’t pick up and it acts as a defense system to protect us from infection. Blood transports nutrients to our cells and then transports waste away from the cells. Some of the waste products are too large for the blood vessels or are not the type of thing it wants to pick up. S

o, here comes the lymphatic system to the rescue! It’s similar to trash day. The regular garbage trucks pick up refuse in cans and recycling bins, but if you have an old BBQ grill or couch sitting on your curb, it won’t be picked up. So some other entity has to come along and get it. That’s what the lymphatic system does.
The lymph fluid moves inside vessels, similar to veins. These nodes are bean-shaped storage facilities where the lymph is examined; and valves which help move the fluid along. Lymph fluid contains waste, bacteria, proteins and sometimes something that seems potentially cancerous. The nodes break down these extraneous materials, and then transport the waste via the lymphatic vessels, eventually expelling them from the body in urine.

What helps the lymphatic fluid flow is the movement of our muscles against the vessels, and also very, very light massage. Unlike blood, there is no pumping mechanism like the heart to move it along. Physical movement and light pressure is required. The vessels are close to the skin, which is why after a massage, most people need to use the bathroom since their lymphatic flow has been helped along by light Swedish or specific lymphatic drainage massage. Deep or hard pressure tissue massage is not beneficial since it presses too hard on the vessels, similar to stepping on a garden hose. It might reduce or stop the flow, causing a backup. Not a good thing for those of us who have had more than 6 lymph nodes removed!

So who is at risk? Cancer survivors are at risk. If they had lymph node removal, lymph node damage or radiation; the standard protocol for anyone having a lumpectomy, are at risk for lymphedema. If you had only or up to 1-6 sentinel nodes removed, followed by radiation, your risk is fairly small. For those of us who have had more nodes removed, it is larger, but there is no way to tell exactly how large. What we don’t know is how many lymph nodes we actually have in our axilla (armpit) area. Most people have between 600-700 nodes throughout their bodies, but what isn’t known is the exact number in different locations. So if someone has 40 lymph nodes in the axilla and then removes 8 nodes, it might mean their chance of getting lymphedema is less than someone who has only 24 lymph nodes and had 18 removed. But we have no way of knowing…frustrating!

Once the nodes are removed, the lymphatic vessels are disconnected, for example if you cut a spaghetti noodle in half. So the fluid has lost its direct route. But it is smart! It begins to try and find a way around this traffic jam, just like we do when we are driving. It backs up and tries to flow towards another lymph vessel. Sometimes it finds its way, but the flow is slowed and gets stuck, which causes the swelling. Radiation is problematic because it leaves behind scar tissue. This scar tissue affects the lymph’s ability to flow smoothly, similar to a dam effect. Lymphedema can occur shortly after surgery and radiation or many years later.

So what can you do? Meet with a physical or occupational therapist that specializes in treating lymphedema after surgery and radiation. Do this as part of your Survivor Awareness Plan. While we cannot prevent lymphedema, we can reduce our risk by becoming educated and aware; and by exercising, so our muscles can help move our lymphatic fluid along. Yoga is great to do because it helps us move, and more importantly helps move lymph throughout the channels. Yoga also helps our minds stay sharply focused and calms our spirits.

Visit LympheDIVAS

For More Lymphedema Information:

Suggested Lymphedema Videos For Lymphedema Prevention & Management!

“Let It Rise”

“Seaweed Arms”

Swinging Arms Yoga Pose For Breast Cancer

Swinging ArmsFor this issue I decided to introduce one of my “happy” poses. What a great pose to “let go” in.  Swinging our arms brings you back when you were free to play. Yes, it is a playful pose and it does wonder for a healthy outlook. Our beautiful yoga model is Angela Strynkowski, RYT 500 and owner A Jewel In The Lotus  yoga studio.

Swinging Arms is a soft and spunky lateral twisting pose. It does so much for the squeezing out of impurities inside the internal organs. It helps to circulate and stimulate blood flow and lymph for the entire chest, shoulder and arm areas. Perfection. And, yes, it is so much fun. It is almost a trace state pose. Being able to go slow or fast creates so much vibration which enhances and boosts our energy.


1. Begin standing with feet hip distant or greater apart for stability. Let your arms relax down along side your body.

2. Want you to have a sense of freedom so that when you begin to move the arms freely from side to side that your body will join in.

3. Use you breath fully, and slowly so hat relaxation will deepen.

4. If it feels right pick up the pace. You can even slap yourself and engage in moving your hips too.

5. Continue for at least 3 minutes. Rest and feel the stimulation in the arms and body.

6. Repeat one more time.


*   Increases blood & lymph circulation to arms, shoulder girdle and breast region.

*   Expands ribs to allow for deeper fuller breathing.

*   Flowing arm movements and conscious breathing activates lymphatic system.

*   Promotes lymphatic drainage and increase circulation of overall blood flow

*   Stretches muscle tissue to pectoral region.

*   Increases range of motion (ROM) to shoulders.

*  Twisting motion for massaging internal organs.

*   Stretches the tensor fascia lata muscle, waist and spine

*   Swinging back and forth induces sense of internal calmness and a sense of freedom.

By: Diana Ross, E-RYT 500 Founder: Breast Cancer Yoga

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