If you missed our earlier blog explaining the big deal about your lymphatic system and why you want to keep it healthy, you can find it here.
This is my top 10 list for boosting your lymphatics naturally. This list can help improve energy, kick illnesses and keep you fighting fit by supporting your lymphatics to detox your body and support your immune system. So here they are, in no particular order:
1. Dry Skin Brushing
Dry skin brushing is an Ayurvedic technique that I love, love, love! Its a powerful yet gentle cleansing technique. You literally brush your skin. That might sound weird, you can read more about it here. You see, your lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump, it relies on the movement of your skin, body and muscles so body brushing is a way of gently sending it in the right direction if it’s gotten a bit sluggish.
2. Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)
Now this is a little more specialised. As I said above, there is no pump for your lymphatics so it can be helpful to manually move your lymph yourself! Yes, you can actually do that. Mostly, your lymphatics lie just under the skin so you only need a gentle touch. Generally speaking you’re always stroking towards the heart. Start with some diaphragmatic breathing and work backwards to the limbs stroking your skin using a similar pressure to what you would use to stroke a cat. You’re trying to stretch your skin as much as possible to enhance the drainage (the lymphatics attach to the skin). If you would like more info on this one don’t hesitate to get in touch or book a lymphatic massage with me.
Elevating certain body parts can help if they are swollen. As well as the movement of muscles and your body, gravity also helps to move lymphatic fluid around your body. So this can be used to our advantage. If you have ongoing swelling I would recommend seeking some medical advice as it could be a sign of something that requires more attention, however, puffy feet at the end of a long day may be eased by just elevating them above the heart. Couple that with some MLD as talked about above and they’ll be down in no time.
4. Skin Care
This might sound a little far fetched but being your largest organ and a gateway to the lymphatics, skin care is super important! Try and limit the amount of chemicals used on your skin to reduce your toxic load, exfoliate dead skin cells and keep your skin hydrated and in tact with a good quality/low toxin moisturiser.
5. Supplementation / Essential Oils
Essential oils that may be of benefit are wild orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, cypress and lemongrass. You can apply these oils topically (beware of citrus oils promoting photosensitivity) or add citrus oils to your water. Not all essential oils can be used internally! I only use doTERRA essential oils.
6. Adaptogenic Herbs
This is another area for your chosen health professional to guide you for further info but three herbs that help alleviate inflammation and congestion of the lymph nodes and vessels are Goldenseal, Echinacea, and Astragalus. These herbs also help support immunity, particularly the Echinacea.
It can seem a little backwards that you need to drink more water if you are feeling fluidy, but that’s exactly how it works! Our bodies are largely made up of water and lymph fluid is about 95% water. Adequate hydration is required to keep it flowly freely.
- Garlic boosts immune function and combats harmful microbes. It improves circulation and aids in the cleansing of toxins.
- Turmeric helps reduce inflammation, thins blood, and improves circulation.
- Citrus fruits aid hydration, carry powerful antioxidants, enzymes and help cleanse the lymphatic system.
Like I’ve said a few times now, the lymphatic system has no pump. It relies on our movements to keep it flowing. Therefore exercise is hugely important! It doesn’t call for high impact or high heart rate (heat actually causes the body to produce more fluid) – just movement and light resistance can be beneficial. So based on that, my top 3 recommended types of exercise for lymphatic flow are rebounding (on a trampoline), Pilates and swimming. That being said, whatever gets you moving and puts a smile on your face while you do it is going to be beneficial.
Compression is only really required for areas that are swollen. It’s another gentle way of pushing the fluid back to your main circulation to be processed. This may be useful with acute injuries. People with lymphoedema (an impaired lymphatic system) can wear compression lifelong. It is useful to note but not something most of the general population would need to consider in boosting their lymphatic function.
Support your lymphatic system in these simple ways to keep it working optimally for you and you’ll feel the benefits!