Many people suffer from problems caused by weak or ineffective circulation, some of the more common and less serious symptoms of poor circulation are consistently cold hands or feet during periods of inactivity, but other circulation-related conditions are much more serious. Effective circulation is essential for the vascular and lymphatic systems.
The lymphatic system works throughout the body to fight infection, remove excess fluid from tissue, and return interstitial fluid to the bloodstream. When the lymphatic system doesn’t work properly, this fluid becomes trapped, and lymphedema can develop. Lymphedema is a chronic condition that causes localised swelling of the soft tissue in a body part, usually in the arms or legs, giving the affected limb an enlarged, swollen appearance, sometimes with noticeable discolouration. The affected tissue also has a much higher risk of infection and further medical complications.
Controlling lymphedema is difficult and, left untreated, the condition can worsen. The two main types of the condition are primary lymphedema and secondary lymphedema. Primary lymphedema is hereditary, caused by faulty genes, but the condition may not develop until later in life. Secondary lymphedema is developed after the tissue is damaged, inhibiting the movement of fluid. This damage can be caused by infection, injury, limb inactivity or as a result of cancer treatment.
Lymphedema is a progressive disease, but the symptoms can be combatted by treatments that encourage and facilitate the movement of fluid through the affected area – mimicking the function of a healthy lymphatic system. Regular exercise, a healthy diet and taking care of the skin can all help to improve blood circulation but, when it comes to controlling lymphedema, more localised treatment is often necessary. Specialised massage and compression treatments work to mobilise all trapped and excess fluid, providing the benefits of a working lymphatic system. One such compression treatment is the NormaTec system.
NormaTec systems use compressed air to slowly and carefully massage the muscles and mobilise fluid, starting in the extremities and then moving up the affected area until the entire limb has been treated. Regular use of a compression system allows the limb to remain active when traditional exercise is made too painful or difficult by the symptoms of lymphedema. The attachments of NormaTec systems also mould to the shape and size of the limb, so any increase or reduction of swelling will not affect the fit of the attachments or the effectiveness of the massage.
What sets NormaTec apart is the Pulse Massage Pattern technology, which goes one step further in simulating the proper function of veins and the lymphatic system. The Pulse Massage Pattern uses hold pressures to stop any fluid from being forced in the wrong direction, much like the one-way valves in functioning vascular and lymphatic systems, and once there is no more risk of backflow, these hold pressures release, giving the muscles the maximum-possible rest time, which is hugely beneficial in controlling lymphedema.
Good circulation is essential to transporting all the nutrients, oxygen, and blood cells to the different body parts, and any restriction to these systems, like the problems caused by lymphedema, can cause lasting health problems. The earlier these conditions are treated, the better they can be managed to reduce harmful symptoms.