What is the lymphatic system? In very basic terms the lymphatic system filters out harmful bacteria and any other potential dangers from the body so that you don't get ill.
Lymphatic fluid flows all over your body. It is present in all your tissues. The lymphatic fluid moves around the body within the lymphatic vessels, destroying harmful bacteria and foreign matter as it goes.
Unlike the circulatory system (the system that moves blood around your body) the lymphatic system doesn't have its own pump and relies on body movement to get the lymph fluid moving. This movement can as subtle as the small peristalsis of the blood vessels or whole body movement like walking which gets muscles and circulation moving which in turn moves the lymph.
People with stagnant lifestyles, certain diseases or mobility issues may find that they have a sluggish lymphatic system. This may mean that they tend to get ill more often than most as the immune system is struggling to keep up.
If you would like to improve your lymphatic health there are lots of things that you can do to help the flow of your lymph fluid!
~ Stay hydrated! This feels like my answer to everything, but it really does help! If you start to feel thirsty you are already dehydrated. Ideally you would never feel thirst.
~ Walk every day. It doesn't really matter how far or how fast. Regular movement is key here.
~ Dry brushing. I think I will write more fully about dry brushing in another post as it is a really interesting topic but for now have a look at this video for more info.
~ Deep Diaphragmatic Breathing. Take a few deep, diaphragmatic breaths from your belly up to my heart to activate the largest lymph vessel in the body.
The video below gives a really good explanation of how the lymphatic system works in a bit more detail. It also shows you how to give yourself a lymphatic drainage massage to help boost your lymphatic health. It's definitely worth a watch.
~ Get a Manual Lymphatic Drainage treatment. This is often thought of as a massage, but uses very light touch working solely on the lymphatic system. The therapist gently pushes the skin to help open the lymphatic vessels and allow lymph fluid into flow in. This gentle, relaxing treatment helps to promote whole body health by encouraging the lymphatic system to work optimally.
~ Try your own Lymphatic Drainage Massage. Your body will benefit most from regular treatments so you may want to try giving yourself a daily lymphatic massage. The video below gives a really good demo on how to do this. It also explains the lymphatic system really well at the beginning so it's well worth a watch.
If this has peaked your interest and you'd like to find out more about Lymphatic health and in particular how you can help improve your lymphatic system using self massage I'd recommend reading The Book of Lymph by Lisa Levitt Gainsley.
This is a really accessible guide to self massage for lymphatic health. It lays out step by step guides for routines for specific health reasons. There are routines for easing headaches, menopausal symptom relief, calming anxiety, improving sleep and many more.