My massage therapist Elaine Smith taught me about edema. Edema is observable swelling from fluid accumulation in body tissues. Edema most commonly occurs in the feet and legs, where it is referred to as peripheral edema. The swelling is the result of the accumulation of excess fluid under the skin in the spaces within the tissues.
The tissues of the body are made up of cells and connective tissues that hold the cells together. This connective tissue around the cells and blood vessels is known as the interstitium. Most of the body’s fluids that are found outside of the cells are normally stored in two spaces; the blood vessels (as the “liquid” or serum portion of your blood) and the interstitial spaces (not within the cells). In various diseases, excess fluid can accumulate in either one or both of these compartments.
Elaine told me that she could see the edema in my feet and legs. She explained that we all need to walk, move around every hour to keep the blood flowing through our legs, whether we have MS or not. Elaine also said when we are sitting; working or traveling, we need to put our feet up when possible. and get up and walk around every hour.
Since Elaine told me this, I’ve created a way to elevate my feet with boxes under my desk and I’ve set my timer to go off every 50 minutes to remind me to walk. After only a five days of moving and elevating my feet I had another appointment with Elaine and she could see an improvement. Elaine said my feet, ankles and legs were looking much better.