Lipoedema? What is Lipoedema?



What is lipoedema? Lipoedema is commonly known as the syndrome of the fat legs. Lipoedema is a fat disorder in which, for unknown reasons fat cells grow and multiply abnormally. Today, lipoedema is under diagnosed and has not received attention from research experts.  It’s considered a genetic or hereditary condition. It runs in families. It affects about 15% of women, though this number can be larger due to undiagnosed cases.


Dr. Foldi (Foldi’s Textbook of Lymphology) defines Lipoedema as a chronic disease primarily affecting women, which accompanies a symmetrical increase in adipose (fat cells) tissue in the legs. This pathological fat tissue begins in the hips and extends to the ankles. It also involves a hormonal disorder of pituitary-thyroid or pituitary-ovary, according to this iconic pioneer of the Lymphatic System.


Lipoedema is like having disproportionally larger legs and buttocks as compared to the trunk. Both legs look heavy and swollen and they keep swelling throughout the day. They also are very sensitive to touch. They hurt. The flesh feels very soft with a rubbery like texture. There is a tendency to have bruises and bleeding from minimal traumas. The skin has a nodular appearance and feeling. Usually feet and arms are not affected. During my training with Dr. Foldi, she also mentioned that depression is another characteristic of lipoedema.


Today, lipoedema is understood as a progressive disorder of fatty tissues. It generates an accumulation of fat deposits that also are resistant to any type of diet! So diet or even fast barely affects this pathological fat.


Studies show that fatty tissues are not irrigated by lymphatic vessels. However, the accumulation of fat caused by lipoedema progressively compresses the lymphatic vessels. This abnormal deposit of fat reduces the transport capacity of the lymphatic fluid. Over time, there is alteration of the initial lymphatic vessels and the lymph fluid formation is reduced. As a result of lipoedema, swollen tissues, fibrosis and, in later stages necrosis may occur,


Untreated or undiagnosed lipoedema usually evolves to lymphedema.


How to Deal With Lipoedema?


Though diet barely affects lipoedema fat, a controlled diet is important to prevent  gaining additional weight.


Up to now there is no cure for Lipoedema. MLD and compression stockings are recommended. Liposuction can be a palliative.The best approach is to exercise and keep moving. For Lipoedema, gentle exercise and breathing techniques are  recommended.


Today, pool exercises, gentle walking and, Yoga are recommended for this condition. Yoga is the only form of exercise that involves both gentle exercises and deep breathing techniques.


Lymphatic Yoga, however, has superior additional results. Rather than moving the lymph in a random way – as in a general yoga class – Lymphatic Yoga motions and breathings are designed to obey the anatomic sequence of lymphatic flow! This makes all the difference. Try it!


Lymphatic Yoga Exercise for Lipoedema


I have bellow a simple and effective Lymphatic Yoga exercise you can do everyday, as you wake up. It’s going to help your lymph motion. Remember be gentle with yourself, no forcing or quick motions. Make sure to use the proper diaphragmatic breathing. Please, also let me know the results you have. Go ahead and begin now!


a) Breathe in, slowly open your arms at shoulder height, bring your shoulder blades close to each other and lift your chin progressively towards the ceiling. Also place your hands back as far as you comfortably can.  Keep your arms open for 2-3 seconds while you hold your breath.


b) Breathe out, slowly and hug yourself as you separate your shoulder blades and simultaneously gently lower your head – chin in towards the space between the collar bones (clavicles). No forcing, do a little less. Keep the position without air for about 2-3 seconds. The motion should be conscious and slowly coordinated with your breathing. The entire exercise should take about 15 seconds. Repeat from 5 to 10 times.


London Conference – MLD UK Conference Celebrating 20 years – May 10-11, 2014

I was kindly invited by Sharie Fetzer  – Research Coordinator for Lipoedema UK – to participate in the MLD UK Conference in London this weekend (May 10-11).


For this conference, I also just shot a short video with Paige Roberts, in Orlando FL at Yogamatrix Studio! The video contains a short and special sequence of Lymphatic Yoga for those with Lipoedema, as my friend Sharie asked me to do.  The Lymphatic Yoga for Lipoedema video should be available soon, to all members of Lipoedema UK. YAY!


Hope to chat with you and answer your questions this weekend in the Lipoedema UK stand, in London. I’m so excited about the growing interest in and awareness of Lymphatic System and its misunderstood conditions – lipoedema and lymphedema. It’s great! Going to the airport now! Love you all!

Love, life and lymph,


* In the US, lipedema is the term commonly used, in the UK it is referred as lipoedema.

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