Updated on: Sunday, October 24, 2021, 09:32 AM IST

Simply Sujok: From symptoms, types to treatment options, here's all you need to know about Edema

Swollen feet, ankles, legs and sometimes other parts of the body could be a sign of Edema, a condition that occurs due to trapped fluid in tissues. Know how self-healing tips can help solve the problem

Swelling in the lower legs – known as “lower extremity edema” in medical terms – is a problem that often affects older adults. The good news is that most of the time, it’s annoying, but not terribly dangerous.

However, in other cases, swelling in the feet, ankles, or lower legs can be the sign of a new health problem, or a worsening chronic condition. We notice edema when our shoes are too tight, or we get marks on our ankles from our socks. But what’s really going on inside the body?

Edema happens when fluid moves outside of blood vessels and into what’s called the interstitial spaces of the body. These spaces are also sometimes called the extravascular space (which literally just means “outside of blood vessels”), and is basically the moist space between cells, organs, and body parts.

Although you might think of blood vessels as being “waterproof”, physically they are more like a semi-permeable membrane, made of blood vessel cells that usually stay close together, and it’s normal for small quantities of fluid to pass back and forth. If more fluid than usual passes out of the blood vessels, and this happens in the legs or near the surface of the body, it looks like a swollen or puffy area under the skin.

Fluids can move into the interstitial spaces and cause edema for a few different reasons. The most common causes are:

1. “Leaky” blood vessels: Sometimes the blood vessel cells don’t stick together as tightly as they should. This can allow fluid molecules to slip through the connections between the blood vessel cells (like gaps between the bricks in a wall). This can happen due to severe infection or inflammation, among other things.

2. Low levels of protein in the blood: Proteins, such as albumin, help keep fluid inside blood vessels. This is because protein molecules in the blood exert an “osmotic” pressure (also called “oncotic pressure”) that helps retain fluid inside a blood vessel. If protein levels fall in the blood vessel, even if the membrane of the blood vessel is intact, fluid moves outside of the vein or artery to equalise the osmotic pressure across the membrane, and this creates edema. Some causes of low albumin levels in the blood include certain types of kidney disease, liver disease, and malnutrition.

3. Fluid overload: If there’s more fluid than usual in the blood vessel, it becomes “overloaded.” The extra fluid will then end up pushed across the blood vessel wall because of high hydrostatic pressures.

Normally, our kidneys regulate body fluid levels by adjusting the amount of water and salt that is excreted or retained. But if those mechanisms fail or are overwhelmed, edema is often the result.

When we look at common causes of edema, keep these different mechanisms in mind. The cause of the edema will play a major role in deciding on the best course of treatment. Although edema can affect any part of your body, you may notice it more in your hands, arms, feet, ankles and legs. Edema can be the result of medication, pregnancy or an underlying disease — often congestive heart failure, kidney disease or cirrhosis of the liver.

Taking medication to remove excess fluid and reducing the amount of salt in your food often relieves edema. When edema is a sign of an underlying disease, the disease itself requires separate treatment.

Signs of edema include

● Swelling or puffiness of the tissue directly under your skin, especially in your legs or arms

● Stretched or shiny skin

● Skin that retains a dimple (pits), after being pressed for several seconds

● Increased abdominal size

Mild cases of edema may result from

● Sitting or staying in one position for too long

● Eating too much salty food

● Having premenstrual signs and symptoms

● Being pregnant

Edema can also be a side effect of some medications, including

● High blood pressure medications

● Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

● Steroid drugs

● Estrogens

● Certain diabetes medications called thiazolidinediones

Types of edema

Peripheral Edema: When there is swelling in the hands or legs, it is usually referred to as peripheral edema. It may be due to cellulitis, lymphadenitis, heart failure, liver failure, or the side effects of antihypertensive medicines.

Pulmonary Edema: When there is fluid retention in the lungs, it is called pulmonary edema. This is a serious condition and is often a result of another medical problem, like heart failure or lung injury.

Cerebral Edema: This usually happens when there is an obstruction in the flow of fluid in the brain. This is also a critical condition and requires an immediate check-up. It may be seen after a head injury or infections, like viral encephalitis, dengue, and malaria.

Macular Edema: When there is a fluid obstruction in the macula of the eyes, it is referred to as macular edema. The macula is a part of the eyes that is responsible for enabling detailed vision. It may be associated with diabetes or hypertension.

Natural treatments include:

Green tea: It has stimulating and excess water removal properties. This may help in metabolising extra fluids in the body.

Grape seed extract: It possesses antioxidant properties.

Celery seed extract: Scientifically referred to as Apium graveolens, is a diuretic with anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

Massaging: It improves blood circulation.

Turmeric: It contains a compound called curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties. These properties may help in treating the swelling and pain associated with edema.

Vitamins: Balance salt levels in the body and are anti-inflammatory. Thus, they may be used in treating edema and its symptoms. However, there is no scientific research to prove these effects.

Hot compress: It increases blood flow to the affected area. This reduces the pain and inflammation associated with edema.

Flax seeds: They are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. These fats can help in eliminating toxins from the body and ensuring that the organs are functioning properly. Hence, flax seeds may help in treating edema by addressing its root cause.

Mustard oil: It contains allyl isothiocyanate, which was found to reduce inflammation in animal studies.

Acupressure or Sujok: Application of pressure on identified energy meridians has several solutions for edema.

One who has been reading my articles will surely know how to trace these meridians on the front and back side of our hands and feet. The place for these is given in the figure.

Treatment: One must take a Jimmy / Probe or a pencil with its lead point broken and smoothened. Without applying much pressure move the blunt point in the area shown on the skin of fingers and toes. The affected point as shown will be very painful. Stimulate it, by turning it clockwise and anticlockwise for a minute or two. One will generally feel some relief instantly. Paste tiny Byol magnets for about eight hours preferably before sleeping. If the point has an arrow up, please use a magnet with yellow side touching skin and if arrow down then white touches skin. The points are to be stimulated three to four times in daytime and magnets attached at night. Repeat the treatment till the problem is over.

Sujok Treatment: Paste a plaster made of raw rice and paste it on corresponding area of hand or foot as per Sujok therapy.

Ayurvedic Acupressure Treatment: Apply light blue colour around the first joint below nails of Index fingers of both hands.

Acupressure Treatment:


Sudden edema of face and eyes. Does not like cold., Muscle pain. Pressure points: Lu 7, Li 4, 6, 19, Tw 5, UB 12, 13, St 36, CV 17, GV 26 Sedate all ↓ or Li 4, 11, K 6, GV 26, GB 41, St 36, Sedate all ↓

Edema of legs or whole body, scanty urination, swollen tongue with sticky coating. A feeling of heaviness. Pressure points: CV 12, UB 20, 21, St 36 Tonify all ↑, CV 6, 9, Sp 6, 9, UB 22, St 28, Sedate all ↓

Edema of legs & abdomen, Scanty urine, dark urine, yellow sticky coat on tongue, chest oppression, breathlessness etc. Pressure points: Sp 6, 9, CV 9, UB 22, St 28, Li 11, Sedate all ↓


Edema of any part of body, sores, carbuncles, furuncles. Pressure points: CV 9, St 28, UB 22, Sp 9, Lu 7, Li 11 Sedate all ↓ Sedate all ↓ CV 12, UB 13, 20 ↑ Tonify all.

Sudden edema of face and eyes & muscle pain: Pressure points: Lu 7, Li 4, 6, 19, Tw 5, UB 12, 13, St 36, CV 17, GV 26 Sedate all ↓ or Li 4, 11, K 6, GV 26, GB 41, St 36, Sedate all ↓

Edema of legs or whole body, scanty urination, swollen tongue with sticky coating or feeling of heaviness. Pressure points: CV 12, UB 20, 21, St 36 Tonify all ↑, CV 6, 9, Sp 6, 9, UB 22, St 28, Sedate all ↓

Edema of legs & abdomen, dark urine, yellow sticky coat on tongue, chest oppression & breathlessness. Pressure points: Sp 6, 9, CV 9, UB 22, St 28, Li 11, Sedate all ↓

Edema of any part of body, sores, carbuncles & furuncles. Pressure points: CV 9, St 28, UB 22, Sp 9, Lu 7, Li 11 Sedate all ↓ Sedate all ↓ CV 12, UB 13, 20 ↑ Tonify all,

Edema of legs, edema is pitting on applying pressure, edema of abdomen, loose stools, oppression in chest and abdomen, Swollen tongue with teeth marks. Pressure points: CV 9, St 28, UB 22, ↓ Sedate all, Sp 6, St 36, UB 20, 21, CV 6, 12, ↑ Tonify all.

Edema of whole body, cold back and legs, scanty or profuse urine, pain in back and knees. Pressure points: K3, 7, CV 4, 6, GV 4, UB 23, 47, 20, St 36, ↑ Tonify all, UB 22, St 28 ↓ Sedate all.

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Published on: Sunday, October 24, 2021, 09:32 AM IST