Massage for Edema: 4 Techniques to Reduce Swelling

Here’s how to get rid of swelling in your feet and ankles…

Edema is a very common problem among pregnant women, but it can set in to anyone who has problems with fluid getting trapped in the body tissues. The human body is designed to eliminate excess fluid, but there are a number of things that can cause the water retention and swelling: kidney disease, liver damage, and heart disease.

If you’re noticing the swelling in your feet and ankles (the most common sites for swelling), you may want to try massage for edema. Massage won’t deal with the underlying cause of your problem, but it can help to drain some of the fluid from your feet and ankles and reduce swelling.

For truly effective results, you should get a massage for edema from a professional. However, you can try a few of the following techniques to self-massage or have a friend/partner/spouse massage you to drain the fluid:

  • Elevate the limb. Lift your foot or feet above the level of your heart. This will encourage blood flow back up the legs, as gravity will pull it back toward your heart. It will reduce swelling and make the massage more effective. Keep your legs elevated for a full 15 minutes before the massage begins.
  • Move upward. You have to think of the swollen foot or ankle as being the end of the line, and you want to send the blood flowing upward, back the way it has come. The massage should start from the feet and move up toward the calves and thighs. The upward strokes will help to draw the blood and fluid away from the ankles and feet to reduce the swelling.

READ MORE: 11 DIY Edema Treatment Ideas

  • Follow the lymph map. A lot of edema problems are the result of problems with the lymphatic system. To make the massage more effective, you should understand how the lymphatic system works and where the pathways are. Look at a lymph map to see the best way to massage the feet, ankles, and legs.
  •  Give it time. A properly effective massage will take at least 20-30 minutes, but you’re not going to see immediate results. There will be some drainage of the fluid, so the swelling will go down. However, the edema won’t disappear overnight. It’ll take regular sessions to completely deal with the swelling.

Massage for edema is a good way to treat the symptoms, but the truth is that you need to deal with whatever the underlying cause is. If you’ve got heart problems, kidney disorders, liver disease, or something else, you need to take steps to get healthy. That may mean visiting your doctor and getting the right medication for the problem.

If your edema is the result of your pregnancy, consult your OB/GYN and see what you can do to reduce the swelling. There are many non-medical options to consider to deal with the edema. Find out the most effective methods that are safe for your pregnancy.

Remember that exercise is one of the best things you can do to deal with edema. Regular exercise increases your circulation and prevents blood and liquid from pooling in your legs. Your health conditions may prevent you from doing high intensity workouts, but even a few hours of walking per week will do wonders for the underlying health problems. You’ll find that regular exercise is wonderful to improve your cardiovascular system function, making it far less likely that you will suffer from swelling and edemas.

andy.peloquin@gmail.com'
By andy

Some people get lucky and are born with fit, toned bodies. Andy Peloquin is not one of those people… Fitness has come hard for him, and he’s had to work for it. His trials have led him to becoming a martial artist, an NFPT-certified fitness trainer, and a man passionate about exercise, diet and healthy living. He loves to exercise–he does so six days a week–and loves to share his passion for fitness and health with others.


  • Hunsur Venkatanarasiah

    My creatinine is 2.9 & I have fungus infection in right foot little toe and the next toe : The nephrologist says it is CKD and has prescribed sodium bi carbonate 500 mg TDS: The foot is swollen & I am unable to walk : The chest X ray shows no water in lungs : How to reduce the edema?any special massaging? Please help me