Helping yourself with Lymphoedema

Don’t just sit there  – use some of Adrianna’s ideas

Adrianna Holman has written a really useful book, ‘Love your Scar’.  Not only does it give breast cancer patients lots of useful informtion, but she also writes helpful advice about Lymphoedema – gleaned from her training and experience working at London Bridge Hospital.

One thing to remember:  she says “your lymphatic system has no heart to pump it, and flows largely upwards and against gravity. To do this it depends on muscular contractions” and therefore it is essential to be as active as possible, “to help your body pick up and dispose of the rubbish”. 

Then, to help you get in the swing, she has a series of pin figures illustrating simple exercise to get things started.

1.  Rock the boat

Lie flat – gently rock the pelvic bone forwards and backwards by tilting your coccyx slightly.

2.  Frog’s legs

Lie flat on your back.  Keeping the soles of your feet together bend the knees outwards (making a triangle) and slowly pump your legs up and down.

A variation is to keep knees together and allow bent legs to fall from side to side.

3.  Backstroke

Lie down with knees bent upwards and feet flat on floor.  Then do a ‘backstroke’ bringing alternate arms up straight over your head and as far back as possible withouth hurting.

4.  Cat stretch

On floor on hands and knees.  Arch your back upwards, then go down into the reverse and form a U shape. 

5. Spider up the wall

Face the wall, place one hand on wall and, using your fingers, climb up the wall – like ‘incy-wincy spider’ we did as children.


With today’s fast track production line cancer treatment, doctors hardly ever touch patients.  Now, I don’t want to go back to the old childhood days, when a visit to the doctor meant you were highly embarrassed whilst they told you to undress – but sometimes a healing touch can work wonders – and this is where massage comes in. 

There are so many different kinds, and in her book Adrianna not only gives the full background to what these do, but also explains what different base oils can help with, when used in conjunction with massage. 

And I know several friends, whom I won’t embarrass by naming, who will be interested that she says “if you are going to have any alcohol, red wine has redeeming qualities through its antioxidant properties.  Remember we are talking about a small glass twice a week….”

This is typical of the gentle, thoughtful and sensible approach of this book;  I keep on returning to it to dip in to find something I wanted to check. 


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