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Yoga or Pilates for Lymphoedema ?

i've been doing Yoga for 6 weeks now and had heard that it was good for the lymphatic system because of all the deep breathing.

I was wondering if anyone had seen any ACTUAL benefits of this

I have primary lymphoedema on my lower left leg ( 8 years and only diagnosed 5 years ago) Ive been able to manage it with losing weight, diet and religiously bandaging. I'm always on the look out for more effective ways of managing it.

6 Replies

I have primary lympheodema, and I was really struggling with a tummy blockage. I did pilates for about a year, and found it hugely effective. I found it definately opened up the lymph pathways, the breathing amd the core work was really great. I only stopped because not I do synchronised swimming which is like Pilates in water, so that really works too. I actuslly find them so effective I can't see me ever getting by without one or the other now. Once a week keeps everything flowing :-) I haven't personally tried yoga but I know pilates takes a lot from yoga.

Good luck!


Hello there - I do pilates every week wearing my sleeve - there are things within the class that i adapt so as not to put too much weight on my arm but both the exercise and the breathing are very helpful - and the general fitness helps me to do other exercise well and therefore keep the weight within managable perameters...I also swim lots.

I strongly suggest body control pilates rather than any old pilates as the teachers are very well trained. Hope you enjoy it.


I would definitely recommend yoga for improvement in lymphatic drainage especially in the lower leg. I have primary lympheodema in my left leg and have had it for over fifty years. For the last seventeen years I have been practising yoga and have found it very helpful. The practice works on the whole body, energising and refreshing all the systems. Several postures invert the body so that the legs are held above the heart which immediately brings relief to heavy legs and these don't have to be extreme inversions - just having the legs up against the wall can be very effective.

Yoga postures allow all muscles in the body to move according to their natural function, toning and improving circulation.

Yoga isn't just a physical practice though, there are benefits to be found in improved concentration, relaxation and selfawareness.

Although I wear a compression garment normally, I do take it off for yoga so that my toes can stretch and that foot feels closer to the ground. I haven't found any problem with this but you may be advised to practise with your garment on.

All the best with finding a class in whatever discipline you choose - you will not regret it!


Thank Bathsheba, i really appreciate the experience you have brought to your response. I really enjoy doing it and now that you have confirmed its benefits, will keep doing so :-)


Hi I have left arm lymphoedema and was a yoga student and teacher for a long time before it. I carried on practising and the combination of breath and movement has really helped with self management. I avoid holding postures for a long time where I need to weight bear through the arm but can still practise and demonstrate just fine with no ill effect.

Hope you find a class that helps you


Guys, thank you all so much for your responses. I feel a lot better with my choice to continue doing it! :-)


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