Reduce Leg Swelling, Air Travel Tips & More for Lymphatic Health

How to reduce leg swelling and air travel tips for lymphatic health

There are many reasons why body swelling can occur: sitting or standing for long periods of time; being cramped inside ultra-dry airplane cabins as well as dehydration. These (and other reasons) cause the body to hold onto excess water, with arms and legs retaining more fluids and becoming swollen.


Here are a few of my favorite remedies to combat leg swelling, especially before and after air travel.


Put Your Legs Up Against a Wall For 10 Minutes

Due to the law of gravity, when we sit or stand for extended periods of time, our lower extremities get blood and fluid pooling. The result of this is foot, ankle and leg discomfort, and possibly pain. By elevating your legs, you reduce gravitational pressure on the veins in your lower body. Putting your legs up against a wall for 10 minutes causes your blood to flow toward your heart and thereby prevents fluid buildup.


Drink Plenty Of H2O

Dehydration is a common occurrence, especially during long-haul flights, and causes swelling and fatigue. When you are traveling, drink water regularlyand even more when flying above 30,000 feet. The Aerospace Medical Association suggests drinking about 8 ounces of water for every hour you're in the air. Your after-flight recovery will be much quicker if you stay hydrated.


Sweat Inside A Sauna

Saunas induce sweating and help reduce temporary fluid retention. The higher temperatures inside a sauna also prompts blood vessels to expand and enhance blood circulation. This moves waste and surplus fluids from tissues, which reduces bloating and discomfort.


Walk For 30 Minutes (At Least)

Walking is not only one of the greatest movement exercises in general, but the best remedy to reduce leg swelling. Adding the motion of walking involves both a rhythmic contraction and relaxation of muscles, which acts as a natural pump for blood and lymphatic fluid. The contractions help push excess fluid back into circulation.


Avoid Processed And High-Sugar Foods

We know of the dangers of processed foods to our health in general, and that is due in part to their high levels of sugar and sodium. They’re also responsible for creating fluid retention and contributing to overall body inflammation. Focus instead on nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains.


Book A Lymphatic Drainage Massage

A lymphatic massage (whether done professionally or at home through self-massage) has a direct influence on increasing tissue oxygenation, eliminating toxins and increasing the absorption of nutrients through the digestive tract. In other words, your intestinal absorption improves, as well as the urge to eliminate toxic waste from your body. Its also responsible for reduced edema, improved hydration, cellular nutrition and faster wound healing (due to better blood supply). If you’re planning a trip, do a pre-flight lymphatic drainage massage to help stimulate your blood and prevent fluid buildup. Then repeat the lymphatic self-massage post-flight to help reduce swelling and leg heaviness. 


Other Tips To Overcome Leg Swelling

Make it a habit to stand up, stretch your legs and walk whenever possible. You can also try alternating leg kicks—i.e., quick and simple movements to alleviate that heavy leg feeling. These are effective ways to improve circulation, prevent fluid retention, and maintain healthy legs.

When you travel, use compression socks. The gentle leg pressure of the socks helps prevent blood clots and keeps your legs feeling lighter and less tired. 

And as always, take good care your body, get adequate rest and drink plenty of water.