Let It Flow: Tips For A Healthy Lymphatic System
Mobilize Your Body’s Essential Filtering System
What do you know about your lymphatic system? Not much? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Despite its critical role in our health, this system is not often given a lot of thought.
Your lymphatic system acts like your body’s garbage collector. It’s not the most glamorous job, but certainly one of the most necessary. It’s responsible for filtering and removing waste products from your body’s cells, tissues, and organs.
The lymphatic system works by moving lymph – a fluid containing infection-fighting white blood cells – through your body’s network of cells, tissues, and organs. Lymph also contains proteins, minerals, nutrients, and other substances which your body needs to be healthy. This amazing fluid keeps the good stuff flowing in while carrying away the bad stuff such as damaged cells, cancer cells, bacteria, and viruses.
Bean-shaped organs, known as lymph nodes, operate as filters for the lymph fluid. Some lymph nodes are situated just under the skin in areas such as the neck, armpits, and groin. These can be easily felt with your fingers, particularly when they are swollen. Others are located deeper inside the body, for example, in the abdomen, pelvis, and chest.
Symptoms of A Sluggish Lymphatic System
When the lymph fluid isn’t moving freely, harmful materials are not being removed from your cells, tissues, and organs. Instead, they are backing up, contributing to a wide range of symptoms such as:
- Headaches or brain fog
- Mucous build up
- Ear popping and ringing
- Frequent colds, flu, or sore throat
- Constipation or sluggish bowel function
- Inability to lose weight
- Soreness or stiffness in the morning
- Bloating, swelling, or heaviness in extremities
- Pain, pressure, or stiffness
- Acne, dry skin, or other skin issues
If nothing is done to improve your lymphatic system’s flow, serious health issues can occur, including swelling, infection, and inflammation. The good news is that you can get your lymphatic system working optimally with some easy lifestyle changes.
Your Lifestyle and Your Lymphatic System
Lymph travels in one direction – up – toward your neck. This is different than blood which circulates in a continuous flow around the body, powered by your heart. Unlike your circulatory system, the lymphatic system doesn’t have an automatic pump, so it needs a bit of help. Moving your body causes muscles contractions that help this system transport lymph through your cells, tissues, and organs. Deep breathing also helps this process work efficiently, so exercising is a great way to keep your lymphatic system operating well. Think of breathing as your lymphatic system’s pump and take a few deep breaths every time you think of it.
Dry Skin Brushing
Dry skin brushing is another good way to promote a healthy lymphatic system. Lymph vessels are thin-walled tubes that carry the lymph fluid. They sit just below your skin, so dry brushing can help encourage the movement of this important fluid through the lymph vessels. Here’s our step-by-step guide to dry brushing and our favorite dry brush to get you started.
Massage can help encourage the movement of lymph fluids too. Special massage techniques promote lymphatic drainage, including long, gentle, rhythmic strokes and soft pumping movements toward the lymph nodes. If you’re interested in massage in Breaux Bridge, Lafayette, and the entire Acadiana area, contact Nature’s Link Wellness Center. Before your massage, let your therapist know about any concerns you may have regarding your lymphatic system.
Staying hydrated is important for so many of your body’s vital systems, and the lymphatic system is no exception. Your lymphatic system is made up of about 95% water. Dehydration can lead to poor lymphatic drainage as lymph becomes thicker and less mobile when you are dehydrated. Staying hydrated is crucial for the proper functioning of this system, so make sure to drink approximately eight 8-oz. glasses of fluid per day.
Everything you eat influences your health, so there’s no doubt that eating a diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients is good for the lymphatic system as well. Vegetables and fruits, soybeans and tofu, and some nuts, seeds, and legumes are alkaline-rich and there is some evidence that eating a diet filled with these foods may be beneficial for the lymphatic system. Processed foods will slow your lymphatic system, so avoid these whenever possible.
Managing stress with techniques such as yoga and meditation will help protect your lymphatic system in two ways. First, they help reduce the acidity in your body caused by stress hormones which can contribute to lymph congestion. Second, these practices will improve your breathing – your lymphatic system’s pump. Yoga and meditation will teach you how to breathe for maximum benefit and give you exercises you can use daily to improve your breathing. Every Wednesday afternoon from 12:30 to 1:30pm, get started with Hatha yoga class in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana.
Natural Health Consultations
There are many lifestyle factors that can affect the health of your lymphatic system. Natural health consultations in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana focus on improving your overall health through a balance of proper diet, hydration, fresh air, sunlight, exercise, and rest. All recommendations are tailored to your individual needs and goals.
To find out more about care of the lymphatic system in Breaux Bridge, Lafayette, and the entire Acadiana area, call 337-332-2705 or reach us online.