How yoga can help lymphoedema

Posted by Guest Author on 08 December 2023

black and white image of woman doing yoga

Yoga is emerging as a valuable tool in managing lymphoedema. Unlike the circulatory system, the lymphatic system relies on body movement for optimal circulation, making yoga’s emphasis on gentle, repetitive motions and deep diaphragmatic breathing particularly beneficial.

Yoga teacher Vicky Fox runs yoga classes for breast cancer patients with us at Future Dreams, and explains here how yoga can help you if you’re struggling with lympoedema, and highlights the positive impact of yoga on the lymphatic system.

The deep diaphragmatic breathing and the deliberate movements involved in yoga play a crucial role in facilitating lymph flow. The gentle engagement of hands, arms, neck, torso, and hips contributes to improved circulation. Additionally, yoga helps to improve our range of motion and strength, which could help to counter the effects of lymphoedema when practiced slowly and gently.

For those considering yoga as part of their lymphoedema management, we strongly advise that you consult with your medical professional before taking up the practice for the first time, especially if you’ve been advised to wear compression garments. Initially, avoiding weight-bearing poses on the arms is advisable.

It is important to build back full range of motion before adding poses that are more weight baring
such as downward dog and plank. Strength needs to be built back carefully so as not to put too
much strain on the lymphatic system. A specialised exercise or yoga class will take this into
consideration and help you to build back strength slowly.

Further information

To see the range of yoga and exercise classes we offer both in-person and online, click here.

To return to the homepage of our Information Hub, click here where you can access more helpful information, practical advice and personal stories.

Reviewed November 2023

The information and content provided in all articles is intended for information and educational purposes only. This article is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice. It is important that all personalised care decisions should be made by your medical team. Please contact your medical team for advice on anything covered in this article and video in relation to your personal situation. Please note that unless otherwise stated, Future Dreams has no affiliation to the guest author of this video and he/she/they have not been paid to write this article. There may be alternative options/products/information available which we encourage you to research when making decisions about treatment and support. The content of this video is created by Vicky Fox. We accept no responsibility for the accuracy or otherwise of the contents of this video. The links and/or recommendations in this article to third-party resources are for your information only. We take no responsibility for the content contained in those third-party resources. 


Sylvie Henry and Danielle Leslie founders of Future Dreams breast cancer support
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