On the bellicon®, lymph fluid does flow twice as fast

Prof. Dr. Nele Devoogdt, physiotherapist and coordinator of the lymphedema centre UZ Leuven
Foto von Dr. Nele Devoogdt

Results of a fluoroscopy test on the bellicon® at KU Leven (vascular center) in 2015:
To test the effects of movements on the bellicon® on the lymph system, walking on hard ground was compared with the movements on the mini-trampoline. The aim of the experiment was to test which training accelerates the lymph flow faster. The measurements were carried out on a healthy test person with a normal body fat percentage and a body weight of 65 kg.

At the beginning of the experiment, a contrast agent was injected into the feet of the test person in order to monitor the lymphatic transport using a special PDE camera. Then, the test person was instructed to walk at the rate of a metronome (92 beats per minute).

It was investigated how many sets of 10 steps each are needed until the lymph is transported up from the foot to the knee.

In the first phase, the right leg was used to examine how quickly the lymph reaches the knee. The test was repeated twice on the bellicon® and then once on normal ground. In the second phase, the order of the subsoil and the leg were changed to ensure that walking on the bellicon® has no long-term effects and possibly distorts the measuring result on the normal ground. The following table shows how many steps were required until the lymph reached the respective knee.

Results of measurements:

Right leg Left leg
Experiment 1 50 steps on the bellicon® 100 steps on the floor
Experiment 2 40 steps on the bellicon® 30 steps on the floor
Experiment 3 70 steps on the floor /

While walking on the bellicon®, significantly fewer steps are needed to allow the lymph fluid to flow through the lymphatic collectors. In this study, lymph fluid flew on the bellicon® twice as fast as on the ground. On the bellicon® mini-trampoline, fewer than half of the steps were necessary to remove the contrast medium from the foot.

The complete experiment has been published in the Dutch magazine Lymfologica.

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