9. Detox Your Lymph
The main function of the lymphatic system is to cleanse toxins from the body and protect against harmful invaders. The lymphatic system touches almost every part of the body and although we may not see or feel it, it is one of the most important systems in the body and yet is often completely ignored.
The lymphatic system works by carrying our body's waste away from the tissues and into the bloodstream, making it a key detoxification pathway. This is why keeping your lymphatic system functioning properly is directly related to your overall health. The problem with the lymphatic system, however, is that it does not have a pump and so can easily become stagnant, particularly when overwhelmed with toxic debris. This in turn can lead to impaired immunity, disease, cellulite, edema (fluid retention), chronic pain and fatty deposits. A sluggish lymphatic system can be the root cause of swollen glands, eczema, arthritis, sinus and ear infections, throat problems, colds, tonsillitis, bronchitis and even pneumonia. The good news, however, is that it doesn't take much to keep your lymph moving. Here are some tips:
- Rebounding. Rebounding is jumping on a trampoline for a few minutes a day. This passively moves the lymph while stimulating circulation. Rebounding requires very little space and no special equipment beyond the rebounder itself. Rebounders, also known as mini-trampolines are easy to purchase online.
- Massage. We all love a massage and lymphatic massage specifically targets the flow of lymph in the body. Studies have shown that lymphatic massage can push up to 78% of stagnant lymph back into circulation.
- Dry brushing. This is a simple 'at home' method of getting your lymph moving. You simply take a dry brush with course bristles and brush your skin, before your daily bath or shower, always moving in the direction of your heart. Over time this not only stimulates your sweat glands, opens pores and gets rid of dead skin cells but often reduces cellulite.
- Practice yoga. Yoga, with its inversions such as handstands and head stands, shoulder stands etc helps drain the lymph towards the heart. Twists and other yoga poses cause the muscles to squeeze, contract and relax, stimulating the natural flow of the lymph through the body, relieving congestion and encouraging detoxification.
- Aim to drink 8 glasses of water a day. Lymph is about 95% water. This is one of the reasons staying hydrated is so important. Without adequate water, lymphatic fluid cannot flow properly. One of the most common causes of lymph congestion is dehydration. To rehydrate the body we need water and only water (not coffee, tea, alcohol, juices etc).
These are several tips to help you get your lymphatic system working, particularly if you are chronically ill. When the lymph is working well it is easier for us to stay healthy. If you are unwell, getting the lymphatic system functioning properly will help immune cells travel around your body to fight bacteria and other infections, resulting in a more reactive immune response.