Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the authors to review on The Lymphie Life. All opinions expressed here are my own honest impressions.
There are a growing number of books out there on lymphedema, each one incredibly well-researched and informative. Although these books touch on multiple facets of lymphedema care, they usually tend to focus primarily on one area, such as nutrition or treatment.
Enter The Complete Lymphedema Management and Nutrition Guide: Empowering Strategies, Supporting Recipes and Therapeutic Exercises, by Jean LaMantia, RD, and Ann DiMenna, PT, CDT. DeMantia is a registered dietitian with expertise focused on cancer survivorship, and DiMenna is a certified lymphedema therapist; together, their combined expertise provides a unique perspective on which to build the book.
Touted as the first book on lymphedema to be co-authored by a dietitian-physiotherapist partnership, The Complete Lymphedema Management and Nutrition Guide is a comprehensive resource on all things lymphedema. It’s around 290 pages, neatly organized into four parts:
- Understanding Lymphedema
- Includes chapters on the lymphatic system, lymphedema, and lymphedema risk reduction.
- Self-Care for Lymphedema
- Includes chapters on skin care, manual lymphatic drainage, multilayer compression bandaging, compression garments, pneumatic compression pumps, lymphatic taping, and decongestive exercises.
- Nutrition for Lymphedema
- Includes chapters on body weight and lymphedema, lymphatics and the digestion of dietary fats, reducing chronic inflammation, dietary recommendations, supplements, and meal planning.
- Recipes for Lymphedema
- Offers thoughtfully curated lymphedema-friendly recipes.
The appendices include a reference guide on the pH levels of skin care products, a BMI table, and a useful directory of various supplements, their lymphedema-related claims, and evidence of effectiveness.
The book closes with a glossary of terms and online resources; there’s also a collection of before-and-after photos and personal stories from actual lymphedema patients sharing their experiences.
The authors sent me a digital copy of the book; scrolling through it, I was impressed. It’s hands-down one of the most in-depth, thorough books about lymphedema that I’ve seen.
I appreciated the opening chapters on the pathophysiology and causative factors of lymphedema. So much of the burden of care lies on us, the patients — being able to actually understand the mechanisms of the lymphatic system and lymphedema itself seems crucial to successful symptom management. (For example, I’m much more likely to be compliant in wearing my garments if I understand how the compression helps me.)
The book seems to cover it all as the four sections progress seamlessly into the next: after Part One’s more technical lesson, we get an overview of the different therapeutic options in Part Two, the role of nutrition in the management of lymphedema in Part Three, and nutritional recommendations in Part Four.
Each chapter ends with a summary of the section’s biggest takeaways. I liked this a lot: it provides a nice recap on what I just read, and keeps the info fresh in my mind.
What really sets The Complete Lymphedema Management and Nutrition Guide apart for me is the use of graphics and call-out boxes throughout the book. The call-outs feature topics like FAQs, “Did you know?”, and other tips; this visual chunking of content made it more digestible and put what would otherwise be a dense amount of information into useful context.
Because I don’t have a physical copy to photograph, here are some images from the Amazon.com listing to illustrate the page layouts:
I felt the photos, charts, and call-out boxes gave the book an easy-to-read “instruction manual” feel, which is appropriate: this is truly like a lymphedema user’s manual!
The perspectives of authors LaMantia and DiMenna within the context of their professional experiences make for a well-rounded book. It addresses almost everything a patient or loved one may want to know about lymphedema and its treatment, and would be a great read for caregivers and medical professionals as well.
I learned a lot from reading this, and feel it’s a resource I’m going to continually refer to in my lymphedema life. I can’t wait to get a physical copy to add to my growing lymphedema library!
Where to purchase
Interested readers can purchase The Complete Lymphedema Management and Nutrition Guide through Amazon or Barnes & Noble; you can also purchase the book directly from Jean LaMantia’s website or get more information from the publisher, Robert Rose Books.