Move Your Lymph
Most everyone is familiar with the cardiovascular system that helps to pump blood to the body’s tissues. Did you know there is another series of vessels that carry a clear liquid called lymph? It’s important to move your lymph to improve your health.
Move Your Lymph
While nutrients and oxygen are delivered to the body through blood, lymph has the task of collecting waste, toxins, and debris while also distributing immune cells through the body. Keeping your lymph flowing smoothly is critical for your body’s wellbeing.
Your lymphatic system is a network of vessels and lymph nodes working together to carry fluids from your tissues to your blood. It is basically your body’s inner drainage system.
Have you ever noticed when you were sick that you had a lump in the side of your neck, just under your jawline? That was one of your lymph nodes that acts like a station to receive fluid from the vessels. When bacteria or foreign matter is detected in the lymph, they are trapped, and white blood cells are created to handle the infection. This may cause the lymph node to swell.
The lymph system also helps to keep body fluids in balance so that gravity doesn’t cause collection of fluid in your lower extremities. When you notice swelling or fluid build-up, it may be in response to injury or a sign that your lymph system is congested.
What Contributes to Lymphatic Congestion?
All of these can contribute:
Chronic stress contributes to many health issues. Your body’s response to stress results in free radical waste that must be collected by the lymph system and can build up in the lymph nodes.
Inflammation that persists increases white blood cell production to fight the microbes. These, along with the debris that is collected by the lymph, can fill up the lymph nodes causing swelling and congestion.
Poor digestion has a negative influence on lymph flow and detoxification since these systems are heavily intertwined.
What flows better, a thin fluid or a thick one? Dehydration causes both blood and lymph to be thicker. This is just one more reason to drink more water.
A sedentary lifestyle will slow the flow significantly. Since the lymph system has no pump, it relies on muscle movement and breathing to propel its fluids.
How to Get Things Moving
While it is important to know what contributes to congestion, you may be more interested in how to get lymph moving again. There are several simple ways:
Deep breathing – not only helps reduce stress but also moves the rib cage.
Drink more water – aim for half your body weight in ounces.
Move your body – walk, dance, practice yoga, or use a rebounder … just move.
Try dry brushing your skin before your shower or sauna.
Massage is a great way to improve drainage, relax and reduce pain. If congestion is significant, seek a practitioner with experience in lymphatic drainage massage.
Your body is amazingly complex. While many of its systems seem to function automatically, it still needs your support. The choices you make each day in what you will eat and drink and what you will do will either work in favor of your body or against it.
Choose life! Make choices that work for your body and you will thrive.
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