Our body has several channels of elimination. These are: sweating, respiration, urination, bowel function, and lymph. All of these are vital for the body to clean itself and maintain optimum health.
Over the next few months, we will consider each of these in turn with suggestions of how to love and support each system. This month, we will focus on the lymph system.
The Lymphatic System
Our lymph system can be found in our entire body (even our brain, confirmed in 2015) and serves three major purposes:
- It moves tissue fluid back to the blood
- It interacts with specialized cells in our small intestine to influence absorption of fats and fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E)
- It helps the body defend itself from foreign invaders (aka, it helps the immune system)
Pretty important stuff! However, unlike our cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system does not have a mechanical pump moving it through the body.
So how does it actually move? It is moved two ways: intrinsically through contractions of skeletal muscles when breathing and exercising (rebounding is especially helpful for moving lymph) and extrinsically through externally being pumped as in what happens with a Lymphatic Drain session or via body brushing.
There are some great videos on how to body brush and exercises to help move lymph (rebounding, yoga, etc). So we are going to focus on Lymphatic Drain bodywork.
Moving that lymph fluid has many benefits to the body, including:
- Improves hormone delivery
- Improves oxygenation in the body
- Helps distribute nutrients and oxygen to the cells
- Influences the immune system (notice the organs involved in the lymphatic system are prime immune organs)
- May help decrease chronic inflammation
- Removes the body’s garbage, wastes, and toxins
That is a hefty list! I am sure it is obvious how important moving our bodies and getting that lymph flowing properly is now.
What can I do at home? Along with good body brushing and exercising, there is a “lymphatic dance” that can be helpful. It consists of the following steps:
- Rub the K27s (located below the collar bone near where your suspenders would be)
- Rub and jiggle the armpit area
- Rub from behind your ear down to your collar bone
- Rub your K27s again
- Rub, lift, and jiggle the breasts (yes, men, work your pecs too)
- Rub along your intestine (starting at sigmoid colon towards exit, then to descending colon towards exit, then to transverse colon towards exit, then to ascending colon towards exit)
- Rub the inside of your thighs in your groin area (around your pubic region)
- Rub and jiggle your knees and rub the insides and outsides of your thighs
- Rub your booty (shake, jiggle, and enjoy your amazing body)
- Rub your groin area one more time
- Finish by rubbing your K27s again
This can be quickly and easily done in the shower even.
At the season changes, and sometimes earlier, it is very helpful to visit a professional and receive a Lymphatic Drain. These are focused bodywork sessions to help your body let go of stagnant fluid and really jumpstart your ability to eliminate through your lymphatic system.
Do you do anything else to help keep your lymph system healthy?
If you need any help with your health, consider scheduling your Lymphatic Drain session or other consultation today.