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by Christina Wilson

As a vital part of the immune system, the lymphatic system protects from infection and destroys old or abnormal cells your body doesn’t need. Think of lymph as a garbage collector, picking up waste and toxins from your body’s cells and carting them off for disposal. It’s the body’s clean-up crew!  Comprises a network of lymph nodes and vessels, the lymphatic system carries lymph fluid, nutrients, and waste material between the body tissues and the bloodstream. There are hundreds of lymph nodes found throughout the body. Clusters of lymph nodes are found in the neck, underarms, chest, abdomen, and groin.

Here are the best ways to support a healthy lymphatic system:

  • DIET
  • HYDRATION
  • EXERCISE
  • REBOUNDING
  • DEEP BREATHING
  • LYMPHATIC MASSAGE
  • DRY BRUSHING

 

DIET

A healthy diet is one of the best things you can do for your overall health, and it also helps improve your lymphatic system. The more nutrient-dense your diet and the fewer chemicals entering your body, the better your lymphatic system can work. Foods that put stress on the digestive, circulatory, and immune systems include sugar, refined vegetable oils, and processed foods that contain chemical toxins. Anti-inflammatory foods, on the other hand, supply much-needed nutrients and antioxidants while also lowering free radical damage (also called oxidation stress) that ages the body and reduces immunity. All-star foods to include in your diet are salmon, leafy greens, olive oil, and spices such as turmeric and ginger.

HYDRATION

Your whole body needs regular hydration in order to function correctly, and the lymphatic system is no exception.  The lymphatic system is made primarily of water, so you must get enough clean, filtered water to function. 


EXERCISE

Movement, movement, movement!  Exercising is the best way of increasing lymphatic function. It doesn't have to be vigorous exercise; the key is finding something you enjoy and doing it daily. There’s a reason why being stagnant causes you to feel more achy and stiff. Any type of regular exercise and movement (such as simply walking more) is suitable for keeping lymph fluid flowing. Some exercise seems particularly beneficial, including yoga (which twists the body and helps fluid drain).

Rebounding is growing in popularity and involves jumping a small trampoline that you can keep inside your house. It only takes up a few feet, and just five to 10 minutes of jumping can get your heart rate up and help keep your lymphatic system running smoothly.

Foam Rolling, also called self-myofascial release, is a type of self-massage many people do before or after exercising. Its purpose is to help tissue repair more efficiently and break up muscle and tissue adhesions that can cause tightness and injuries. Foam rolling also increases blood flow to your muscles and is used to help with quicker recovery and better performance. Roll from your ankles to your knees, then to your hip joint, then the upper body, all "towards the heart," which helps with the distribution of lymph throughout the body.

Lymphatic drainage massage is a specialized massage therapy that helps cells release toxins and breaks up lymph congestion. Studies have found it’s beneficial for lowering pain intensity, pain pressure, and pain threshold.  Massages can activate the lymphatic system and help flush excess fluid from within tissues. Some massage therapists are specially trained in manual lymphatic drainage, but any type of deep-tissue massage is also beneficial. You can even massage yourself to help reduce pain in swollen lymph nodes, muscles, or joints.

Deep breathing

Relaxed and deep breathing activates the lymphatic system. Focus on filling up your belly and noticing your diaphragm move upwards. Most people do not breathe deeply throughout the day. Try to be more in tune with your breath and avoid shallow mouth breathing. 


Dry Skin Brush

Dry brushing gently exfoliates the skin and encourages stagnant lymphatic fluid to move through the tissues. The coarse bristles of a dry brush encourage movement of the lymph and blood, which helps move out built-up toxins. Brush or massage your body gently, working toward the heart and paying particular attention to the head, neck, feet, breasts, and abdomen, where lymphatics are concentrated.

  


 

 

 

        

 

 

 


 

 


 

 


 


 


 

 


 

 

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Christina Wilson
Christina Wilson

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