Our lymphatic system is a complicated network of fluid-filled nodes, vessels, glands and organs, this system touches almost every part of the body. Although we may not feel or see it, it’s one of the most important however often forgotten systems of the human body.
The lymphatic system’s main function is to detoxify your body, and protect against harmful invaders. It works by carrying our body’s waste away from the tissues and into the bloodstream. Through lymph nodes and the lymphatic network, your immune cells can travel around fighting pathogens, such as bacteria and mold, and preventing disease and infection.
The problem is that, unlike blood, lymph does not have a pump. It relies on the relaxation and the contraction of the muscles and joints to move it. The good news is that keeping the lymph moving doesn’t take much – and when the lymph is working well, we stay healthy; and if we’re ill, it helps us to regain our health again.
LEMON – Lymph is about 95% water, making water essential for its health. Stay hydrated by drinking half your weight in ounces of water a day. Without adequate water, lymphatic fluid cannot flow properly. And one of the most common causes of lymph congestion is dehydration. Water, and only water, can adequately re-hydrate the body, but if you want to expedite the process, add lemon to your water. Lemon is an alkaline fruit that helps to mineralize the body and lymph. Try sipping on warm lemon water throughout the day, but don’t forget your straw! This protects the teeth’s enamel from the lemon.
MASSAGE – We all love a good massage, and here’s just one more reason why. Lymphatic massage is a special form of massage that specifically targets the flow of lymph in the body. It uses a specific amount of pressure and rhythmic circular movements to stimulate the lymph, encouraging its movement towards the heart for the drainage of fluid and waste. Lymphatic massage has shown in studies to push up to 78 percent of stagnant lymph back into circulation. This mobilizes toxins for clearance, lessening the burden on the lymphatic system.
DRY SKIN BRUSHING – Dry skin brushing is our favorite practice. It’s a technique commonly utilized in Ayurveda for assisting in lymphatic flow and boosting circulation. You simply take a dry brush with coarse bristle and brush the skin towards the heart. This stimulates the sweat glands, opens pores, and gets rid of dead skin cells. It also encourages the movement of lymph and blood in underlying organs and tissues of the body, which helps clear built-up toxins. As a result, it can be beneficial in improving skin conditions and reducing cellulite.
RAW FOOD – Incorporating raw foods into the diet is an easy way to keep the lymphatic system healthy on an ongoing basis. Raw foods offer high levels of naturally occurring enzymes that break down toxic buildups and promote the clearance of harmful substances in the body. Eating foods raw, in particular fruits and vegetables, is also a great way to boost the water levels in the body. Finally, raw foods are primarily alkaline, which help neutralize harmful pathogens, lessening the burden on the lymph
YOGA – Yoga works in multiple ways to increase the flow of the lymph, relieving congestion and encouraging its detoxification. To start, inversions such as handstands, headstands and shoulder stands, and even placing the legs up the wall, reverse the effect of gravity. Much like the inversion table, this helps to drain the lymph towards the heart, escalating the rate in which it’s cleaned and filtered. Twists are also a great way to stimulate lymphatic flow. Through the practice of twisting the abdomen, the organs and muscles are squeezed, forcing the lymph out of the tissues. Finally, the natural dynamic flow through the yoga poses cause the muscles in the body to contract and relax, which is the primary way lymph moves through the body. This allows for a free flow of lymph, which prevents its stagnation and accumulation of toxins. Check out our Yoga classes here.