Sunday, July 16, 2017


Edema is the medical term for swelling. Body parts swell from injury or inflammation. It can affect a small area or the entire body. Medications, infections, pregnancy, and many other medical problems can cause edema.
Edema happens when your small blood vessels become "leaky" and release fluid into nearby tissues. That extra fluid builds up, which makes the tissue swell.

Western Medicine vs. Chinese Medicine View of Edema
Western medicine looks at edema differently than Chinese medicine as simply an abnormal accumulation of fluid beneath the skin or in one or more cavities of the body. Generally, the amount of interstitial fluid is determined by homeostasis, and increased secretion of fluid in to the interstitial spaces, or impaired removal of this fluid may cause edema. Six factors can contribute to the formation of edema:
  1. Increased hydrostatic pressure.
  2. Reduced oncotic pressure within blood vessels.
  3. Increased tissue oncotic pressure.
  4. Increased blood vessel wall permeability e.g. inflammation.
  5. Obstruction of fluid clearance via the lymphatic system.
  6. Changes in the water retaining properties of the tissues themselves. Raised hydrostatic pressure often reflects retention of water and sodium by the kidneys.
Hydrostatic pressure within blood vessels tends to cause water to filter out into the tissue. This leads to a difference in protein concentration between blood plasma and tissue. As a result the oncotic pressure of the higher level of protein in the plasma tends to suck water back into the blood vessels from the tissue. Most water leakage occurs in capillaries or post capillary venules, which have a semi-permeable membrane wall that allows water to pass more freely than protein. If the gaps between the cells of the vessel wall open up then permeability to water is increased first, but as the gaps increase in size permeability to protein also increases with a fall in reflection coefficient.
Changes in the variables can contribute to the formation of edema either by an increase in hydrostatic pressure within the blood vessel, a decrease in the oncotic pressure within the blood vessel or an increase in vessel wall permeability. The latter has two effects. It allows water to flow more freely and it reduces the oncotic pressure difference by allowing protein to leave the vessel more easily. A rise in hydrostatic pressure occurs in cureardiac fail. A fall in osmotic pressure occurs in nephritic syndrome and liver failure. It is commonly thought that these facts explain the occurrence of edema in these conditions.
Causes of edema which are generalized to the whole body can cause edema in multiple organs and peripherally. For example, severe heart failure can cause pulmonary edema, pleural effusions, ascites and peripheral edema. Although a low plasma oncotic pressure is widely cited for the edema of nephritic syndrome, most physicians note that the edema may occur before there is any significant protein in the urine (proteinuria) or fall in plasma protein level.
Fortunately there is another explanation available. Most forms of nephritic syndrome are due to biochemical and structural changes in the basement membrane of capillaries in the kidney glomerulae, and these changes occur, if to a lesser degree, in the vessels of most other tissues of the body. Thus the resulting increase in permeability that leads to protein in the urine can explain the edema if all other vessels are more permeable as well. Edema will occur in specific organs as part of inflammations, tendonitis or pancreatitis, for instance. Certain organs develop edema through tissue specific mechanisms.
The movement of water in the body involves all of the organs; starting in the Stomach and ending in the Urinary Bladder. Water is moved and controlled by an invisible organ in Chinese Medicine called the San Jiao or Triple Heater or Burner. It is the San Jiao's responsibility to move water throughout the body and any disruption of this can lead to edema. When the San Jiao is working properly water moves freely between organs and freely in and out of the cells. Also, edema in Chinese Medicine comes in two varieties; Qi Edema and Water Edema.
Types of edema well treated with Chinese herbs:

The Chinese Medicine treatment of edema generally involves arriving at the appropriate TCM diagnosis or pattern. This pattern within the individual is what treatment is based on not the general condition (see treating the cause and not the symptoms).
The following patterns may represent the underlying contributing factors for the development of edema:

Edema - Acupuncture Protocols

The treatment of conditions with acupuncture can be a complicated endeavor that should only be undertaken by individuals with a deep understanding of the underlying Chinese Medicine theory (and/or whatever system being used for treatment). There are many approaches, but generally speaking few viable approaches are involved on a point to condition basis. Rather using proper diagnostic procedures the patients diagnostic pattern is ascertained and that is what is treated. The protocols listed here exemplify some of these clinical approaches.
The following Acupuncture Treatment Protocols May Be Used With Edema

How Does Massage Therapy Work? 

Massage therapy works by directing pressure at the skin and muscle areas affected by edema. The lymphatic system is activated during the process and the fluid drains away naturally. 
The activation of the lymph nodes is the key to getting the body to naturally drain away the excessive fluid accumulation that causes edema.

Lymphatic Massage Therapy for Edema

Lymphatic Massage involves a light touch massage therapy which helps in enhancing the functioning of the lymphatic system. It is also known as Lymphatic Drainage Massage or Manual Lymphatic Massage. If there is a problem in the functioning of the lymphatic system, then it leads to swelling, headaches, cramps, fluid retention, fatigue, lethargy, joint pain, and repeated cold and flu infections.
The lymphatic massage technique involves stimulating the lymphatic drainage system. This helps in encouraging the drainage of accumulated fluids and helps in restoring the normal function of the lymphatic drainage system. Lymphatic massage technique involves gentle touch with the massage strokes directed towards the heart (direction of the lymphatic flow). Preferably one finger should be used to perform these massage strokes. The massage strokes should be short and in one direction beginning with the affected limb lying closest to the trunk.

Leg and Foot Massage for Edema

  • Using a single finger, start the massage using gentle and light strokes on the affected leg nearest to the trunk of the body.
  • Make sure the massage strokes are in upward direction.
  • Slowly move downwards along the limb using similar strokes. These massage strokes help in encouraging the fluid drainage through the pathway. The reason for beginning from the trunk is to remove any obstructions that could be blocking the normal flow of lymphatic fluid towards the heart and preventing lymphatic tissue damage.
  • This massage should be done in the proper manner by a qualified massage therapist. Each massage session could last for over 30 minutes.


Sonia Shokeen said...

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Dr. David Maklan said...

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