This was published as my Holistic Outlook column.
Did you know you have a second circulatory system, in addition to your blood? In fact, your blood relies on it for cleansing, it’s crucial to immune function… and you’re probably neglecting it.
But unlike blood, even though it’s twice the volume, this system doesn’t have a pump.
I’m talking about your lymphatic system, comprised of lymph glands, lymph nodes, the spleen, thymus gland, and tonsils.
Do you have any of these symptoms?
- stiffness in the morning
- edema (fingers, hands or feet get swollen with fluid)
- skin issues, including dryness and itching
- “brain fog”
- tenderness behind your ears, around your groin, or under your arms
If you do, your lymphatics might be congested.
Fortunately, I can help with some simple solutions. After all, you are designed to heal. All you need is the right information, guidance and support.
So let’s get started.
- Rebounder. You know that feeling when an elevator lurches up or down? That sensation is a lymphatic flush, and you can mimic it with a mini-trampoline, or rebounder. I recommend starting slowly, or you may detox faster than comfortable. To start, you can even sit on the edge and bounce gently.
- Inversions. Whether you can ace a headstand, or just put your legs up against the wall, letting gravity reverse itself for a bit each day moves lymph in a productive way. Another of my favorites? an inversion table, which supports and suspends you upside down.
- Breathe. That’s right, just remembering to breathe deeply each day helps everything flow better, including lymph. Make sure to both inhale and exhale through your nose, not your mouth. Breathing through your mouth raises stress hormones. (Remember this for exercise, too.)
- Let the girls breathe, too! Tight bras, especially with underwires, constrict flow of blood and lymph, and may increase your risk of cancer. It IS possible to find pretty, comfortable, attractive bras without wires. In fact, avoid tight clothing in general! (I recommend wire-free bras from here)
- Don’t block sweat! Are you still using anti-perspirant? I hope not, because it not only clogs natural lymphatic drainage in your underarms, but the aluminum in them has been strongly linked to Alzheimer’s. In my practice, I recommend a nighttime detox deodorant, which pulls out toxins while you sleep. Most people find if they use it they no longer need an anti-perspirant during the day.
- Just move! My February column addressed the importance of movement throughout your day, and simple ways of incorporating it. That’s essential for lymph, too. Walking while vigorously swinging your arms improves lymphatic flow.
- Yoga squeezes and flushes organs and muscles, wringing out toxins and increasing lymphatic flow. (and see #2)
- Hydrate. Since lymph depends on fluid, it benefits from good hydration. Each morning, drink a glass of water with a squeeze of fresh lemon, and then drink water constantly throughout the day – but not at meals. Aim for half your weight in ounces daily.
- Dry Skin Brushing This is a simple process of brushing your skin up towards your heart, i.e. against the normal flow, similar to inversion. Use a soft natural brush – you don’t want to hurt yourself!
- Massage If you can indulge, massage is a direct physical way to improve lymphatic flow. You can ask your LMT if they specifically do lymphatic drainage, but any massage will help.
Bonus: High Tech. Got access to an infrared sauna or vibration plate? These are great ways to improve lymphatic flow and overall health. I feel so strongly about it I make mine available at a very reasonable fee. Read more here
Keep it flowing! Your health will thank you!
Disclaimer: information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to take the place of consulting with a qualified health practitioner.