7 Proven ways to drain your lymphatic system
Have you been feeling sluggish or experiencing brain fog lately? Or do you wake up feeling stiff and sore with swelling and inflammation? If so, your lymphatic system could be backed up.
The lymphatic system is a critical part of our bodies, but one that is often neglected. It works to remove toxins and unload chemicals from our bodies. You’re probably wondering, then, why it’s not put at the forefront of our health. For starters, there has been a lack of understanding and data related to the role of the lymphatic system. But we’re here to clear everything (including your lymphs) up.
So if you have been neglecting your lymphatic system, this is your reminder to give it the treatment it deserves.
What is the lymphatic system?
The lymphatic system is the largest circulatory system in the body and is made up of tissues, vessels and organs that work in unison to transport a fluid called lymph, around your body. Lymph carries away and flushes out any substances that are not good for the body. Its job is to also maintain healthy levels of bodily fluids by collecting any excess and redepositing them into the bloodstream.
It’s made up of:
- Lymph nodes
- Lymphatic vessels
- Bone marrow
- Lymphatic tissue
What is lymphatic drainage?
At times, your lymphatic system isn’t able to function at its best. This means that it’s backed up or clogged. It could be a result of an infection, inflammation or swelling of the lymph nodes or an injury. When this happens, the system needs a reboot to get your systems back to normal again.
There are several ways to do this, but the main focus of lymphatic drainage is to gently help the lymph get moving again. This involves working the lymph vessels to promote movement.
What are the benefits of lymphatic drainage?
Since the lymphatic system is part of the immune system, its main role is to protect the body from foreign invaders like bacteria, viruses and fungi. It’s important that the lymphatic system is continuously working optimally and so lymphatic drainage is important.
It will also ensure that your body is functioning well by helping with the following:
- Lower chances of rheumatoid arthritis and reduce symptoms
- Chronic venous insufficiency
- Absorbs fat from the digestive tract
- Transports and removes waste from the body
How to improve lymphatic drainage
1. Lymphatic drainage massage – this is a gentle massage that encourages the movement of lymph. It also helps relieve the swelling that can cause blockage in your lymphatic system. Before you start your massage, take a few minutes to take deep breaths and centre yourself. When massaging, be careful not to apply too much pressure. Use gentle strokes to stretch the skin in an upward motion. You can perform this technique on any part of the body.
2. Hydrate – dehydration is a common cause of a clogged lymphatic system. This is because lymph becomes thicker and isn’t able to move around easily. Make sure you stay hydrated by drinking lots of water daily. You’ve probably heard the rule of drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day and thought it was nonsense. But, it’s true. Another tip is to sip warm water throughout the day. It will not only keep you hydrated, but also promote good circulation.
3. Use a dry brush – take a minute before you shower to dry brush your skin with a natural bristle brush. This will refresh the skin, reduce cellulite and improve immunity as it encourages lymph movement. A dry brush is great because it’s gentle and stimulates the lymphatic system which is close to the skin’s surface.
4. Jump on a rebounder – a rebounder, or small trampoline, is a very efficient way to reboot the lymphatic system. It can reduce congestion and improve lymph flow because of the gravitational pull that causes the lymph valves to open and close. This helps the lymph flow better. Not only does it take just two minutes of light jumping to clear any lymphatic blockages, rjumping on a rebounder is also a low impact exercise that has many other benefits.
5. Stretch or do yoga – these movements can effectively get the lymph circulating and remove toxins straight away. Try incorporating movements where your head is below your heart as the gravity will drain the lymph, sending it back to the lymph nodes for cleansing. Inverted yoga poses like downward-facing dog, child’s pose, leg up the wall and forward fold pose are great for unclogging your lymphatic system.
6. Eat healthy – we’re all guilty of reaching for a bag of chips or a slab of chocolate as our go-to snacks, but try switching these for whole foods, foods rich in healthy fats, fruits and vegetables and see how much better you feel. Processed and sugary foods cause inflammation which leads to lymphatic blockage. Opting for healthier snacks will ensure that your lymphatic system is performing at its best. Try incorporating green veggies into your diet, as chlorophyll purifies the lymph. You should also include nuts and nut seed oils for added benefits.
7. Have a cup of herbal tea – specific herbs can help boost the functioning of your lymphatic system. These include fenugreek, ginger, goldenseal, olive leaf and red clover. Steep them in some hot water to make yourself a cup of vitality. You can have a cup several times a day, or fill up a thermal flask and sip from it throughout the day if that’s easier for you.
Don’t forget about your lymphatic system
Now that you’ve learnt about how important your lymphatic system is, and how to treat it well so that it doesn’t get backed up, we hope you’ll give it some time and care in your day. It doesn’t take much to keep your lymphatic system happy and doing so will make all the difference to your health.