The Lymph nodes are linked by Lymphatic Vessels in the circulatory system and are part of the immune system. They allow lymph fluid to pass to and from the lymph nodes but sometimes they get blocked or only allow fluid to drain in one direction, often as a result of localised inflammation.
In some cases you don’t want the drain to go too far spreading such things as cancer, and in other cases they drain continuously causing an area to become enlarged and effectively fill up inflaming and damaging the tissue causing fatty or fibrous accumulation in the damaged area.
In either case the best option is to constrict the amount of lymph flow, but not at a level that will cause infection to accelerate. Quite often especially in the case of lymphodema pressure bandages are used.
Most pressure bandages work on the principle of pressing on the outside of the skin, which then applied all round pressure on the inner part of the skin, which then presses on the areas farther internally that you want to receive the pressure. Putting on tight bandages have a number of disadvantages though, possibly causing the areas that are pressurised to show signs of inflammation and make the problem worse, especially if the wrong areas are constricted or the bandages are unevenly wrapped, allowing for sores to develop.
You could get around this problem by using inflatable sleeves similar to the ones used to measure blood pressure, but longer and rather than inflating to record, inflating to a set pressure for treatment, or if of a multi chamber band type design using a caterpillar type pressurising and depressurising along its length in a programmable cyclic pattern. This would simulate the forms of massage that are uses to stimulate lymph flow and would be a much gentler form of pressure therapy.
You could also have a set of major outside pressure outside cells with smaller variable pressure cells inside to allow for a more consistent and less mechanically wearing spread.
An alternative could be to use pressure in something like a bariatric chamber.
Most medicine is about getting the body to heal itself. Quite often around an artificial part that you want the body to ‘grow’ onto. In a hyperbaric chamber it is often an attempt to get the increased oxygen level to invigorate and increase the healing powers, but if you are using pressure rather than oxygen that does not immediately transfer into the body. For a while the outside and inside pressures are uneven, quite often causing a partial deflating until they even up. This causes an inward pressure on areas such as the circulation and lymphatic system that can reverse constricted flows.
We are aware of the opposite, where pressure is too quick, causing the bends or nitrogen narcosis, but there may be an advantage to this in increasing pressure treatments to revert lymph flows.
This could come in three forms. One could be a sleeve that is multi layered at both ends to give a pressure cuff, but allows you to increase the pressure in the central area that is open to the skin. The skin being semi permeable to air would press on the outer areas, with the internal parts of the skin trying to equalise the pressure, absorbing the extra air, oxygen or nitrogen depending on the therapy and pressurising the inner areas, presumably while the limb is raised.
The second is to use an outer chamber that covers the whole of the area to be treated that provides the overall base pressure, but the inner areas are multi chamber like a caterpillar filling and deflating in a programmed manner to cause a massage type effect along the sleeve.
The third is to use a large bariatric chamber with the limb similarly raised to perform the same, but it would be on the whole body.
Using various gasses, nitrogen, air or oxygen both could possibly be used for accelerating healing of various complaints, or fluids such as water, but in low oxygen content use, you would need to use a mask.
We already have pressure sleeves for checking blood pressure at a very small cost, sometimes as little as £10. A multi chamber system could possibly be created using similar components, but designed for a longer lifespan for 20-50 times that cost, certainly not much more. If such a system could be created, you might find a lot of the complications with those ailments long term could be mitigated or reversed.