When we think of cleansing, we tend to instantly think colon cleansing or liver cleansing. We don’t really think about the lymphatic system and its role in cleansing our body.
This is our built in, disease fighting, internal cleansing system. This is the system of vessels, lymph nodes and ducts that filters and carries away poisons, toxins and waste products. Therefore knowing lymphatic drainage techniques can be invaluable!RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
What is our lymphatic system?
It is a network that interacts with every tissue and organ in our body. It is responsible for immune function and fighting disease through the production and circulation of the ‘rock star’ of immunity, the white blood cells.
Lymphatic vessels carry lymph fluids. This fluid transports substances throughout the body and then removes the nastiness from our tissues. It is basically the trash man of the body systems. A properly functioning lymphatic system makes for a healthy body.
However, if the fluid is not freely moving and transporting and removing waste, it builds up and becomes toxic. Just like a river. If it is running freely, it is full life, but if it becomes stagnant, it becomes polluted and toxicity begins to rule.
This toxicity can then leak into the blood stream, infection can set in and sickness is inevitable. This can be a factor in aging, degenerative disease, cancer and even early death simply because of chronic inflammation.
So how do we know if your lymph isn’t functioning properly?
We know if the lymph isn’t working properly by some pretty basic indicators.
Stress is one of the biggest causes of lymphatic stagnation which causes inflammation.
From this inflammation, you can see weight gain, water retention, swelling of the hands and feet, joint pain (particularly in the hands and feet) headaches, dry and itchy skin, swelling and tender breasts around menstruation, sore throat, cellulite, lethargy, ovarian cysts, fibromyalgia and many more are related to a stagnated lymphatic system.
So what can we do to get the lymph system moving?
The lymphatic system does not have its own pump, so the only way to effectively pump the lymph fluids around the body is movement – specifically the contraction of skeletal muscle, especially the rib cage.
There are multiple ways we can create this pumping effect to charge the lymphatic system. The exercise that has been popularized and somewhat butchered by mainstream personal trainers is trampoline workouts.
These type of workouts have their own benefits, but the original exercise is called rebounding. Rebounding (or gently bouncing on a mini trampoline or rebounder) was designed to create an antigravity affect to where the rib cage and diaphragm would expand and contract to open and close the valves of the lymphatic system creating a pump which would then drain the lymphatic system and keep the river full of life versus a cesspool of stagnation.
Hopefully you are doing a bunch of these already, but here are some other techniques you can use to drain the lymphatic system:
– Massage of the lymph nodes
– jumping rope or skipping (* see jump rope articles here in WatchFit as also skipping workouts in the Plans)
– yoga (especially twisting poses that can wring out toxins)
– laying on your back and performing nasal and diaphragmatic breathing
– alkalizing the body through naturally occurring cycles of the harvest (nuts and seeds in the winter and berries and greens in the spring)
– hydration (hot and cold water)
– avoiding processed foods that are full of chemicals
– cutting back on red meats and shellfish
– reducing dairy and white flour and using organic fruits and vegetables.
Most of these techniques are ones many of us probably already incorporate into our daily lives, at least I hope so, and yet many of us don’t necessarily know why.
Now you know at least one good reason why and you have another excuse to exercise and eat healthy!
Connect with WatchFit Expert Michael Keane