The lymphatic system is still in the early stages of being fully understood, but learning more about it just may be the key to enhancing our health. New information about how the lymphatic system works is coming out every day, but what we already know is that you can drastically improve your health outcomes with just a little bit of knowledge on how the lymphatic system works, and some simple habits that keep your lymphatic system healthy.
The lymphatic system is a network of nodes and vessels that looks similar to the blood circulatory system. It is responsible for defence and waste removal that your body uses to make sure healthy functioning tissues aren't overrun by foreign pathogens, poisoned by toxic waste, or taken over by cancerous cells. The lymphatic system is literally your body's front line force in the defence against disease. If your lymphatic system is strong and available to respond when illness or injury comes your way, you can fight off disease much more effectively. This means quicker better resistance and quicker recovery for everything from illness to injury. There really is a difference between a lymphatic system that is clear and fluid compared to one that is congested and sluggish.
Symptoms of Lymphatic Stress
When a virus or bacteria attacks you immune system, your body has a systemic inflammatory response to the invasion. You may get increased white blood cells causing mucus or congestion, damaged throat and sinus tissues may be sore, bowel movements may become irregular, and a general feeling of malaise and disease takes over while your immune system fights off the pathogen. When your body is dealing with high levels of toxicity or dietary inflammation, similar immune related symptoms can persist in subtly different ways. Persistent anxiety, skin problems, cold sores, or fibromyalgia related symptoms can also occur. Poor lymphatic health generally has a negative impact on mood and life outlook, making it difficult to think positively and take optimistic actions. Ear, through, nose, and sinus congestion or irritation are also common. As well as joint and muscle pain. The simple way of describing the symptoms of poor lymphatic health would be to say is that any time you feel unhappy, unwell, or injured your lymphatic health should be a priority concern.
Take time to do the same things you would if you were sick as soon as you start to feel "off". You'll give your lymphatic system a boost, lifting your mood, and helping you to fend of that next illness that might be waiting to take advantage of your weakened lymphatic system.
A healthy immune system only rarely encounters stress. If the lymphatic system is fighting all the time, it will only be a short matter of time before it falls behind and there are long term health consequences. Your lymphatic system needs a break. If we are healthy, the lymphatic system can easily handle it's workload. The normal cellular waste and the occasional pathogen that gets into the body are easily dealt with and disposed of. A little bit of toxicity in the body, no problem. A cold virus every once in a while, no big deal. Some of Grandma's "so good it will kill you cake" once a year might be worth it, but just like you wouldn't want to expose yourself daily to the flue, indulgent eating every day might be constantly stressing out your immune system and slowly but literally killing you. The key is being honest with ourselves and knowing where to draw the line. Our body can handle a little bit of stress, but when enough is enough we need to actually stop and take care of our body.
The bottom line is that living in a state of chronic lymphatic system stress is not good for your health. If you knew how much ignoring your lymphatic health affected your mood or the longevity of your life I promise you would give it more focus day to day. Every cell is dependent on clear lymphatic channels to move away waste and toxins. If the lymphatic system is overwhelmed, lymphatic stagnation results and the lymphatic system cannot keep pace with the waste it needs to remove. Just like a traffic jam, if you keep adding waste and toxins to the system, eventually everything comes to a stop. Once the lymphatic system is backed up, all of the health and repair systems of your body are compromised. In order to restore vital lymphatic functions it is critical that you implement habits to move and detoxify your lymphatic system before more critical health problems arise. When dealing with a congested lymphatic condition, let's look at the first steps we can take to naturally support our lymphatic system so we can enjoy an active joyful life.
Top Habits for Improving Lymphatic Health
Movement Nutrition Water Toxins
There are 4 categories of your life that need balance in order to accomplish lymphatic health. Movement, Nutrition, Hydration, and Toxicity. Maintaining good habits in these categories will provide the foundations of lymphatic health that will get you on the path the higher energy, improved mood, and better physical health.
Your body requires some type of daily exercise or lymphatic movement practice, yeah that really means daily. If you are doing a minimum of 30 minutes of walking every day you are getting a pass, but that is the bare minimum. Lymphatic brushing can be done at home every day to boost lymphatic movement. A chi swing is also another relaxing lymphatic tools you can use at home. These self care practices are especially important if you are not getting your daily exercise. The simplest and most effective habit is to pair your lymphatic brushing with 30 minutes of simple yoga and 10 min on the chi swing each day, your body will thank you by feeling great.
Many people overlook food and nutrition as a factor in lymphatic health but it might be one of the most important. The quick route to lymphatic health and from a nutritional sense would be to cut out all foods that cause a high inflammatory response. Dairy, Grains, Legumes, and Nightshades are all known to cause immune irritation in some people. I take my clients through this step by step because every person is different and there are tests that can help inform this process. No matter how you go about it, finding the right nutritional plan is process that takes time but makes a world of difference for your health.
Drinking plenty of water is the easiest lymphatic health habit that we have but it plays a big role in make sure there are fluids available to flush waste and toxins from your body. Try to drink half of your body weight in oz of water each day. I weigh 150 lbs for me that would be 75 oz of water. This really is an easy one so there really is no excuse for failure on this one.
Avoiding environmental toxins is another often overlooked lymphatic tip. The problem here is that chemicals are all around us. You're not going to be able to avoid them altogether. Cleaning chemicals and bathroom products are among some of the worst offenders for containing chemicals that can be stressful to the lymphatic system. Avoid harsh chemicals like bleach and opt for more natural cleaners when possible. Use products that use essential oils for smell instead of artificial fragrances. It's also important to moderate smoking and alcohol consumption to make sure we are giving our lymphatic system a chance to rest and recover.
Do your best to incorporate these powerful habits into your day, they all benefit the effectiveness of you lymphatic system. You'll quickly start to notice the lightness that comes from a clear lymphatic system. It may take a couple months to get back on top of your health depending on how long you have neglected these concepts, but you'll notice drastic improvements with just a little bit of effort. If you need extra support reach out to us here at IMBTherapies and we will happy to help develop custom plans for improving your lymphatic health through massage or other home self care services.