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by Kathleen Helen Lisson

Pub Date: July 17th, 2023
ISBN: 9781732806689

A guide to understanding and alleviating stress associated with lymphedema from certified lymphedema therapist Lisson.

Drawn from a wealth of research studies, client cases, interviews with clinical authorities, and medical reference resources, this primer aims to reduce the stress that can compound a lymphedema sufferer’s discomfort. The author defines lymphedema as a rare, chronic, progressive disease, often the result of damage to the lymphatic network, that causes accumulation of interstitial fluid, leading to increasingly painful swelling and restricted mobility. This condition, she explains, can often occur as a side effect of cancer treatment, which may alter the genetic structures responsible for the lymphatic system’s development. Lisson’s practical guidebook focuses on the nervous system’s response to lymphedema and the ways stress, fear, and social pressures (“[t]he bottom line is that people with lymphedema don’t feel supported”) can further exacerbate a patient’s symptoms. Her information-rich text offers proactive strategies to calm the mind and body and effectively relieve stressors throughout a person’s trial with the disease. In lucid chapters addressing issues like impaired immune function and skin changes, the author never wavers from her core message of positive self-care and confident encouragement that relief is achievable. She shares techniques for stress management through targeted exercise methods, relaxation through yoga and deep diaphragmatic breathing, sensory mindfulness, meditation, massage, and the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system through touch. The importance of outreach is also emphasized—Lisson firmly advocates for lymphedema patients to investigate connected, community-based or online programs and resources for support (“Building a community reduces social isolation and working together as a community can empower us to advocate for lymphedema education and awareness”). With a focus on the promotion of positive healthful behaviors, readers will find support and solidarity with Lisson’s optimistic, hands-on approach to relieving everyday stress associated with lymphedema.

An inspirational, accessible handbook emphasizing self-compassion and effective stress reduction.