In this day and age we are constantly reminded about the importance of a healthy heart, watching what we eat, weight training, cardiovascular workouts and getting regular check ups. However, most of us forget about the very important and significant, lymphatic system.
The lymphatic system is a circulation system for transport and ‘drainage’. We are talking about a major body system, larger than the blood system that is responsible for removing excess tissue fluid and wastes from around the cells. This helps to balance fluid levels and maintains a healthy state in the body’s tissues.
Involved in the body’s immune process, its lymph nodes separate and break down waste product, disable antigens and filter the tissue fluids. Credited as the system responsible for the integrity of the soft tissues, the healthy functioning of the lymphatic circulation is imperative to good general health and wellbeing.
Responsible for the transport of immune-defending white blood cells and the removal of toxins and cell waste, sometimes the lymphatic system isn’t perfectly efficient and harmful substances get left behind. Because this system doesn’t have a pump like the heart, if you have weak lymph flow in your body these toxins can build up and wreak havoc on your general wellbeing. The main causes of a weak lymphatic system are inactivity, stress and shallow breathing.
There are several natural ways that you improve the function of your bodies “drain”. These methods include the following.
Deep Breathing and Movement- Even normal breathing moves Lymph as the pressure of your lungs filling up with air massages the largest and main duct the Thoracic Duct to do it’s job and if you breath deeply it enhances the effect greatly. As well as this, physical exercise increases Lymph movement but many aerobic exercisers don’t breath deeply enough – from the belly- to get the optimal bellows effect of mindful deep breathing. This could be as little as 10 minutes a day. You can get this effect easily in activities such as power walking, swimming and Yoga.
Healthy Poses- Yoga is an ideal too for Lymphatic health. The powerful feeling of peace caused my yoga and meditation releases hormones that dilate the vessels and increase toxin clearance. Yoga breathing and many yoga positions open up the chest cavity, while poses like shoulder stands, enlist gravity to help lymph fluid get where its’ going.
Massage – The many forms of massage and touch therapy will help improve Lymphatic flow. One in particular is a very specific type of treatment called “Manual Lymphatic Drainage”.
Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) is a precise and light pressure massage therapy technique that works on the lymphatic vessels. This gentle technique rhythmically stimulates and enhances the flow of lymph throughout the body by a manual stretching and release of the skin as performed by skilled, certified therapists. Clients find the techniques soothing and relaxing with minimal to no side effects.
• Removes metabolic wastes, toxins, bacteria and foreign substances from the tissues by increasing lymph flow.
• Decreases pain.
• Reduces stress.
• Enhances the function of the immune system.
• Helps the body to heal more quickly from injury and surgery.
• Reduces edema (swelling)
Amber Johnston-Chalmers is a Remedial Massage Therapist that is trained in the Vodder Technique of Manual Lymphatic Drainage and is available for appointments at Kundalini House on Monday through to Thursday.
Please note: Manual Lymphatic Drainage treatments are 90 minutes in duration.
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