Via Clarisse Mancion, MOMSc
The lymphatic system is an essential part of your immune system that is often forgotten about. It is made up of an intricate network of organs, vessels and lymph nodes that move lymph fluid from tissues into the bloodstream. It’s essentially an inner drainage/sewage system that helps remove toxins and waste products from the body’s tissues, fight infections and diseases, and balance fluid levels throughout the body… So it’s definitely worth caring for!
Signs you may be experiencing that could be an indication of lymphatic congestion:
- Stiffness, especially in the morning
- Itchy, dry skin
- Breast swelling with each cycle
- Water retention
- Brain fog
- Swollen glands
- Recurring colds, sinus infections, or ear issues
- Cold hands and feet
How you can look after your lymphatic system:
- Drink plenty of water – Dehydration is one of the most common causes of lymphatic congestion. Did you know that lymph fluid is roughly 95% water? Proper hydration is key to keeping this system flowing.
- A nutrient-rich diet – Prioritizing fresh fruits and vegetables and limiting processed foods and beverages can really help support this system. Ayurvedic medicine teaches that naturally red foods like berries, pomegranates, cranberries and beets keep the lymph moving freely. Adding potassium-rich foods like leafy green vegetables, broccoli, and Brazil nuts are great additions, too!
- Movement – Unlike the cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system has no central pump. Instead, it relies on the motion and contractions of our muscles to move lymph. In other words, physical activity is your lymphatic system’s best friend! In particular, rebounding or bouncing on a mini trampoline and yoga are great ways to get lymph moving!
- Wearing loose comfortable clothing – As we’ve just seen, the lymphatic system relies on unrestricted flow and natural movements of the body to keep it moving. So avoiding tight clothing is an easy way to prevent lymph stagnation, especially at night when the body is carrying out its complex and crucial detoxification processes. Those of us with breasts, maybe it’s time to consider a more comfortable alternative to your current underwire bras!
- Dry brushing is a simple and inexpensive way to stimulate your lymphatic system. Starting at the feet, using long, gentle, repetitive strokes dry brush the entire body, moving in the direction of your heart. Hop in the shower to wash away dead skin cells and you’re all done!
- Coping with stress through mindfulness – Our lymphatic system is also directly stimulated by fibres of our sympathetic nervous system, which are activated as part of the stress response. Having daily mindfulness rituals that help cope with daily stress can be very helpful. Two excellent ways to relax and boost our flow is through laughter and deep, diaphragmatic breathing. Other great methods to try are meditation, yoga, tai chi, etc.
- Lymphatic Massage is a manual massage technique that stimulates lymphatic circulation by moving lymph to the lymph nodes. These techniques are very slow, gentle, and subtle, and can be very helpful in alleviating swelling and puffiness.
How we can help support your lymphatic system here at Full Circle Health Network:
- Osteopathy: Osteopathic manipulative treatments can be applied to help restore, augment, or facilitate lymphatic flow and/or to stimulate immune system responses to aid in the recovery from illness and maintain normal body defence mechanics. In many cases, gentle pumping and rhythmical techniques can help achieve this alongside treatment to key lymphatic drainage sites.
- PEMF: Pulsed Electro Magnetic Field therapy is a safe, and non-invasive way to reduce pain and inflammation by stimulating and encouraging your body’s natural healing processes. It can be used to supplement and enhance currently existing healthcare modalities. Please contact us to book.
- Recovery Body Duo by Yina: This duo includes the Recovery Body Treatment and the Bian Stone for Gua Sha. Infused with a rejuvenating blend of Chinese Medicinal plants, the recovery body treatment balm helps to activate circulation, improve elasticity, boost repair, and balance the mind. When used together, it creates a powerful ritual to release tension, improve circulation, stimulate lymph flow, nourish skin, and promote relaxation. We sell this duo in-clinic – Take a look next time you visit us!
- Acupuncture: This modality can effectively stimulate blood flow as well as a lymph drainage, and can help target the specific areas in the body which are driving a chronic state of inflammation, while also aiding in detoxification. Our Acupuncturist, Carolyn, offers Acupuncture with Facial Gua Sha! It’s a 75-minute spa-like experience that includes a facial with acupuncture. Carolyn performs Gua Sha using the Yina Bian Stone and other Yina products like serums and balms, and accompanies it with hot towels, and acupuncture on the rest of your body (on an individual basis). Feel free to book one for yourself online, or contact us to book!