Firstly, let me introduce you to the lymphatic system! The lymphatic system consists of tissues that produce, store and transport white blood cells. It is a complex network including your spleen, thymus, adenoids, tonsils, lymph nodes, vessels and ducts. Your lymph nodes contain lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) which can identify and help to remove disease-causing pathogens and toxins.
This system runs through your entire body removing waste products from your cells whilst helping to regulate your immune system. Lymph fluid needs to flow freely throughout your lymphatic system to prevent a build up of toxins and waste products in your tissues. It essentially drains and filters waste and toxins from your body, so when it isn’t working properly it can lead to a weakened immune system and a variety of health conditions.
So now you may be wondering what causes lymphatic congestion? One of the causes is the major health epidemic of the 21st century … STRESS! (argh!)
You may be aware that stress causes inflammation which can cause cell injury and create free radical waste products that congest the lymphatic system. The sympathetic nervous system (our fight or flight response) is activated during times of stress, and this also has an impact on the lymphatic system.
Another factor leading to congested lymph is your gut health, particularly if you have a leaky gut or a bacterial imbalance, both of which can be brought on by stress!
The majority of your lymphatic vessels actually surround your gut, known as Gut Associated Lymphatic Tissue(GALT). A healthy GALT helps to maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria, whilst supporting the integrity of your intestinal lining (helping to prevent leaky gut). It also helps to absorb the nutrients from the food you’ve eaten whilst filtering out harmful toxins and disease-causing pathogens.
So the health of your gut can have a a huge impact on your lymphatic system, how well you detoxify and your immune health!
So you may be wondering if you actually need lymphatic drainage? Well if you suffer with any of these symptoms then the answer is likely to be yes!
- brain fog
- stiffness (especially in the morning)
- muscle and joint pain
- water retention
- breast swelling during your cycle
- itchy and dry skin
- brain fog
- stubborn weight gain
- swollen glands
- cold hands and feet
- chronic sinusitis. colds, sore throats, ear issues
- skin problems
How many did you answer yes to?
8 ways you can help to make sure that your lymph is flowing freely … helping to detoxify your body of waste products and harmful chemicals so you can feel healthier and lighter!
1. Heal your gut: I offer an excellent Gut Transformation Course which helps to remove any toxins lurking in your gut, rebalance any bacterial imbalances, heal leaky gut and help to support optimal nutrient absorption which is great for your overall health! If you would like to find out more about this, please get in touch! firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Stay hydrated: drinking enough water especially lemon water, helps to clear lymph congestion. Aim for 1.5 to 2 litres of filtered water daily.
3. Eat raw red foods like beets, pomegranates (I have these in my fruit bowl now!), cherries and cranberries can hope to support healthy lymph movement. You can juice these or add them to salads.
4. Lymphatic massage is a focused form of massage which helps your cells to release toxins, clear any lymph congestion and help flush excess water retention from your cells. If you live in Jersey (or are visiting one day!) the lovely Claire Mcauley owns a really welcoming salon at Sparitual in the Hotel de France and she offers lymphatic drainage massage. I’ve had the blissful experience a few times now and can highly recommend her, she can be contacted on 07797 748115 or email@example.com.
5. Breath practice: deep breathing helps to support lymph movement and detoxification. Did you know that your lungs are one of your major organs of detoxification?! Breathe deep into your belly for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 4 and hold for a count of 4. Repeat for a few rounds throughout the day. This also helps to reduce your stress levels.
6. Exercise and rebounding: this helps to support healthy lymph movement and reduce toxin accumulation. It also helps to deliver more oxygen to your cells. No greater excuse to take up running!
7. Alternating between hot and cold showers for around 30-60 seconds each helps to boost your circulation and support lymphatic movement.
8. Dry skin brushing: invest in a good quality bristle body brush and brush every morning from your extremities towards your heart, clockwise over your tummy. There are plenty of YouTube tutorials showing you exactly how to do this, I recommend watching one!