I felt called to write about this topic as a result of a heightened clientele suffering from swelling in their bodies at this time of the year and asking for Legs massage and Lymphatic drainage massage to help them reduce the symptoms. So we wanted to share more information about the real cause of it and the possible steps you can take to help reduce it. Hope you enjoy the reading :)..
Edema, or water retention, is a condition manifested by swellings in the ankles, feet, legs, and hands. These swellings are a result of the accumulation of fluids in the cavities, circulatory system, and the tissues. Edema most often appears in the case of menopause, pregnancy, burns, physical inactivity, the use of contraceptive pills and any other pill containing estrogen, poor diet and medications like vasodilators and NSAIDs.
Its root cause determines its symptoms which typically develop gradually, and it can be specified by blood and urine tests, liver function tests, heart function tests, or X-ray.
In most cases, edema is not serious, but there are times when it might cause a serious health risk if its a result of diabetes, kidney disease, heart failure, or liver disease.
Edema is unfortunately very common, therefore, its is very important to know its main causes and the ways you can treat it.
Possible main causes of water retention:
1- Dehydration: When not properly hydrated, the body retains water, causing swelling in the hands, legs, feet, and ankles. Therefore, try to avoid coffee and soft drinks and also drink losts of water to keep the body hydrated.
2- Excessive sodium intake: Edema often occurs when the body begins to use the reserves of water it has, which is often the case when the person excessively consumes sodium-rich foods. Hence, make sure you avoid these foods and consume Himalayan salt instead.
Sodium might be found in foods you wouldn´t expect it to be added to, like all processed foods, condiments, processed meat, and canned veggies.
3-Vitamin B6 Deficiency: This vitamin is crucial in numerous processes linked to water balance in the body, So its deficiency might cause edema. The journal of Caring Sciences published a study in which women with premenstrual syndrome received this vitamin on a daily basis, and experienced great improvements soon.
As it is a water-soluble vitamin, you should consume it through chicken, bananas, tuna, potatoes, turkey, dried fruits, pistachio nuts, lean beefs, and sunflower seeds.
4- Excessive Consumption of processed Foods: Processed foods are high in sodium and sugar, as well as numerous toxic chemicals which put pressure on the liver and kidneys, and thus raise the risk of edema.
These foods are also high in sugar and artificial sweeteners, which lead to insulin and blood sugar spikes.
5- Magnesium deficiency: the reduced levels of magnesium in the body inhibit the proper function of numerous vital bodily system, and thus leads to edema. A research on this topic found that the intake of 200 milligrams of magnesium daily might reduce edema in women with PMS symptoms.
You should take magnesium supplements in that case or consume more foods rich in it, such as spinach, whole grains, nuts, dark chocolate, and avocados.
6- Potassium deficiency: potassium is extremely important for the function of cells, tissues, and organs in the body. It also plays a role in the maintenance of water balance, so its low levels lead to water retention and issues like weight gain, cramps, and muscle cramp.
As a result of its ability to reduce sodium levels, its able to reverse edema. Its found in fruits, and specially in honey melon, watermelon, and rock melon.
To reduce edema, you can use numerous natural plants which have potent diuretic properties. These include garlic, dandelion, corn silk, nettle, fennel, parsley, horsetail, and hibiscus.
Having said all this, we could sum up the high importance of the amount of water intake during these hot days in summertime and the importance of “refill” the heightened loss of minerals we have through the sweat, considering these two (water and nutrition) one of the main things to observe during this time.
In addition, there are also Healthy routines we can do:
– Restorative Yoga Pose: fortunately there are plenty yoga poses that help relieve the swelling, but Legs up the wall (Viparita Karani) is one of my favorites because its simplicity and effectiveness and almost everybody can do it. Apart from relieving the swollen, it also stretches the hamstrings, spine and the back of the neck. By reversing the flow of gravity, this pose relaxes, renews and rejuvenates the nervous system, calming the mind, relieving anxiety and headaches, bringing serenity and peace; and it can be practiced everyday! 🙂
– Pilates: The following series are the ones I always emphasize in my classes in summertime, normally responding to my clients need of stretching and improving circulation so, if you are a Pilates practitioner I would encourage you to do the following exercises:
Equipment Series: Legs Loops lying on your back in the Reformer, Cadillac or Spine Corrector Equipment (you could practice them alternatively)
Matwork: exercises with bands and legs up (like imitating equipment series) and also adding extra movements and circles of the feet. All this exercises will improve circulation and mobility helping to flush toxins quicker on your legs apart from the extra bonus of working hip joint, improving digestion and flexibility among others.
– Massage: Even though any relaxing massage can help with swollen legs, I will specially suggest to receive a Lymphatic drainaige massage or an Holistic herbal massage.
Many Essential oils could also be used but the following are my favorites: Lavender, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Lemon, Lemongrass. With the benefits of refreshing and flushing toxins, helping relieve the pain.
For receiving a professional Lymphatic drainage or an Holistic herbal massage contact us in the following link.
– Summer baths: soaking in the sea is the best! Minerals naturally penetrating on your skin!!!. You can also get into the swimming pool (be careful those allergic to chloride) or you could also soak your feet in a big container of water adding just 2 to 3 drops of the essential oils mentioned above.
-Budig Kathryn. “The women´s health big book of Yoga”, 2012.