top of page
  • Writer's pictureMin Jeon

Edema: Leave the Swelling Sensation in the Past and Get Moving to a Newfound Passion for Life

Have you ever noticed swelling in your body that just won't seem to subside? This swelling, medically known as edema, can be a sign of underlying health issues or a response to various factors. Edema is a condition characterized by the accumulation of excess fluid in the body's tissues, resulting in swelling and discomfort. In this blog, we’ll explore what edema is, its causes, symptoms, and examine how acupuncture may potentially offer relief.

Understanding Edema

Edema occurs when fluid leaks from tiny blood vessels into surrounding tissues, leading to swelling and puffiness. It can affect any part of the body, but commonly manifests in the ankles, feet, legs, and hands. While mild edema is often temporary and harmless, chronic or severe cases may be indicative of an underlying medical condition. Edema is a prevalent condition that affects people of all ages. According to medical studies, millions of people globally experience edema-related symptoms each year. The prevalence varies depending on factors such as overall health, age and gender.

Potential Causes of Edema

Edema can stem from a multitude of factors, both medical and non-medical. Some common causes include:

Lifestyle Factors:

Prolonged periods of sitting or standing and a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to fluid retention.

Heart Conditions:

Congestive heart failure and other cardiovascular issues can impair the heart's ability to pump blood efficiently, leading to fluid accumulation.

Kidney Problems:

Kidney diseases can disrupt the body's fluid balance by impairing filtration and fluid balance regulation by the kidneys, resulting in edema. Nephrotic Syndrome is a kidney disorder that can cause edema.

Liver Disease:

Liver cirrhosis can impede blood flow through the liver, leading to fluid buildup in the abdomen and extremities.


Certain medications, such as calcium channel blockers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can cause fluid retention.


Hormonal changes and pressure on blood vessels from the growing uterus can cause edema during pregnancy.


Inflammatory conditions like arthritis can trigger fluid accumulation in affected joints.

Lymphatic Obstruction:

Blockage of lymphatic vessels can cause lymph fluid buildup.

Poor Circulation:

Poor blood circulation in veins can cause fluid leakage into tissues.


Inflammatory response can result in localized or generalized edema.


Immune reactions can trigger fluid accumulation in tissues.


Damage to blood vessels can cause leakage of fluids.


Protein deficiency can disrupt fluid balance and lead to edema.

Thyroid Disorders:

Hormonal imbalances can affect fluid regulation.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT):

Blood clots can obstruct blood flow and cause swelling.


Tumors can impede lymphatic or blood flow, causing edema.

Hormonal Changes:

Menstrual cycles and hormonal fluctuations can lead to edema.

High Altitudes:

Reduced oxygen levels can contribute to fluid retention.

Malfunctioning Valves:

Malfunctioning venous or lymphatic valves can lead to edema.

Autoimmune Diseases:

Conditions like lupus can cause tissue inflammation and swelling.

Certain Foods:

Excessive salt intake can lead to fluid retention.


Increased pressure on veins and lymphatics can cause edema.


Injury to blood vessels due to burns can result in swelling.

Potential Symptoms of Edema

Recognizing the symptoms of edema is essential for prompt diagnosis and treatment. Common signs include:


The most noticeable symptom of edema is swelling, where the affected body part becomes visibly enlarged and may feel tight or stretched.


The affected area may appear puffy or bloated due to the accumulation of fluid.

Skin Changes:

The skin over the swollen area might appear stretched, shiny, or discolored.

Weight Gain:

Edema can lead to a sudden increase in body weight due to fluid retention.

Reduced Mobility:

Swelling in the joints or limbs can result in decreased range of motion and difficulty moving the affected body part.

Skin Indentation:

When you press on the swollen area, it may temporarily leave an indentation that takes time to return to its normal shape.

Pain or Discomfort:

Edema can cause discomfort or mild pain, especially when the swelling puts pressure on surrounding tissues.


Swelling can lead to a sensation of stiffness in the affected area.

Difficulty Wearing Jewelry or Clothing:

Rings, watches, or clothing that fit snugly may become tight or uncomfortable due to swelling.

Impaired Circulation:

Edema can put pressure on blood vessels, potentially leading to reduced blood flow in the affected area.

Shortness of Breath:

If edema occurs in the lungs (pulmonary edema), it can lead to difficulty breathing, coughing, and a feeling of heaviness in the chest.

Abdominal Bloating:

Edema in the abdomen (ascites) can lead to a bloated and distended abdomen.

Swollen Extremities:

Edema can affect the hands, feet, legs, or even the face and eyelids.

Decreased Urine Output:

In cases of severe fluid retention, there might be a decrease in urine production due to the body's attempt to hold onto fluids.


Systemic edema (generalized swelling throughout the body) can lead to a feeling of fatigue or overall discomfort.

High Blood Pressure:

Edema can be associated with conditions like hypertension, where fluid retention contributes to elevated blood pressure.

Remember that the severity and specific symptoms of edema can vary based on the underlying cause and the part of the body affected. If you suspect you have edema or experience persistent swelling, it's best to consult a medical professional.

Finding Relief with Acupuncture

Acupuncture is gaining popularity as a comprehensive approach for treating edema. Acupuncture is known to promote natural healing processes and many individuals have reported improvements in edema symptoms through acupuncture.

Benefits of Acupuncture for Edema

Enhanced Circulation:

Acupuncture may promote blood circulation, potentially helping to reduce fluid buildup in affected areas.

Stress Reduction:

Stress can exacerbate edema symptoms. Acupuncture is known to induce relaxation and reduce stress levels.

Lymphatic System Support:

Acupuncture may potentially help optimize the lymphatic system, responsible for draining excess fluids from tissues.

Kidney Function:

In TCM, the kidneys are considered a key organ involved in fluid regulation. Acupuncture points related to kidney function may be targeted to potentially improve fluid balance and reduce edema.

Inflammation Reduction:

Acupuncture has been reported to have anti-inflammatory effects. Since some forms of edema are linked to inflammation, acupuncture's potential to reduce inflammation may potentially help treat certain cases of edema.

Neurological Influence:

Acupuncture may potentially stimulate nerve pathways and release certain neurotransmitters. This may have an impact on how the body regulates fluid and manages edema.

Individualized Treatment:

Personalized treatments based on an individual's needs and condition and a comprehensive approach help to address not only the symptoms, but also the underlying causes of edema.

Edema, with its swelling and discomfort, can disrupt daily life and signal potential health concerns. Acupuncture offers a comprehensive approach to treating edema by targeting underlying imbalances, promoting circulation, reducing inflammation, optimizing body function and alleviating stress. While individual experiences may vary, the growing popularity of acupuncture as a potential treatment for edema speaks to its potential benefits. If you're seeking a natural and comprehensive approach to address edema, acupuncture may be a step towards relief.

If you are interested in acupuncture as a treatment for edema, we warmly invite you to contact us at Acupuncture and Wellness Clinic. Through years of dedicated practice, Dr. Min K. Jeon has helped numerous patients experience great improvements in their edema symptoms. Dr. Min utilizes a comprehensive approach that combines the power of acupuncture with complementary therapies to achieve optimal results. If you would like to schedule a free consultation to sit down with Dr. Min one-on one to allow her to evaluate you, discuss your concerns, and share a potential treatment plan customized to your specific needs, contact us at Acupuncture and Wellness Clinic.

Take a step towards potential relief by reaching out to us. Our team is passionate about helping you regain your health and well-being. Your path to potential relief and rejuvenation awaits—let's walk it together!

18 views0 comments


bottom of page