The lymphatic system may not be one of the largest systems in the body, but it certainly plays a huge role. This particular system is responsible for circulating lymphocytes, or white blood cells, through the body. These cells filter out unwanted materials such as cancer cells and bacteria that, left unchecked, can result in illness and disease. Unfortunately, if the lymphatic system gets clogged or backed up, the lymph fluid cannot make its way back through the lymph nodes where it needs to go to be filtered, and cells created in the lymph nodes to help boost immunity cannot be circulated throughout the rest of the body to fight off infection.
When lymphatic obstruction occurs, there is a buildup of fluid. This can result in swelling in part or all of a limb, discomfort or sense of heaviness, tightening, thickening of the skin, limited movement, cold extremities, scattered thinking, and an increased chance of infections.
Fortunately, there are techniques that can be utilized every day to ease the problem. Here are a few ways you can increase lymphatic drainage and get your immune system back on track.
Inverting parts of the body can greatly assist in lymphatic drainage. The poses of the Asana principal where the head is lower than the heart allows the lymphatic fluid to reach the lungs and other parts of the respiratory system to fight germs entering the body. In the following poses where you are once again upright, the fluid can flow back towards the nodes for much needed filtering. Poses where the legs are upright as if along a wall, are also helpful. This reverses the flow of lymphatic fluid with the help of gravity and encourages drainage in the lower part of the body.
The only thing more peaceful than engaging in Patanjali Yoga? Practicing Patanjali Yoga near Palm Beach where the stunning views of the lush Amrit property add to the sense of being one with nature. With a system such as the lymphatic, which has a heightened stress response, the serenity of the natural environment can work wonders.
The pressure placed upon the body during a professional massage can stimulate vessels, helping fluids move through more easily. A massage therapist can focus on pressure points that are specifically helpful in stimulating the movement of lymph fluid. Massage can also reduce stress while also decreasing inflammation in the body, both of which are damaging to lymphatic health.
Manual Lymphatic Drainage
Manual Lymphatic Drainage, or MLD, also falls under the category of massage but is much more focused. This method is done by a massage therapist who is specially trained in the technique of MLD. The therapist moves hands lightly over the body, identifying potential problem areas where blockages may be present. The therapist then utilizes a technique where he or she very gently moves a hand or finger over the area to ease the clog and get the fluid moving once again. The touch is very light as too heavy of motion can flatten out the vessels that carry the fluids, reducing movement even more. Too much pressure can also irritate and inflame the vessel. In addition to drainage, MLD offers the benefit of stimulating detoxification, relaxation, and tissue regeneration.
Water is an integral tool in flushing toxins out of the body, so it’s not surprising that staying hydrated is imperative for lymphatic health. However, that is not the only way water can assist with the system. Hydrotherapy can help increase lymphatic drainage by stimulating circulation, muscle contraction, pulling toxins from the body, and aiding relaxation. Amrit’s array of hydrothermal experiences, including hydro-reflexology, steam and sauna rooms, and replenishment pools, can be beneficial in lymphatic drainage.
The lymphatic system does not have a major organ pumping the fluid through the body, so this means the contraction of muscles plays an important role in moving the lymph fluid from one place to another. What is better way there to get muscles contracting than exercise? Spend time on the walking trail to get blood pumping and muscles contracting. Strength training and resistance-focused exercises are also beneficial as they help improve muscle mass, which in turn creates more efficiency during circulation.
Deep breathing promotes lymphatic drainage by expanding the diaphragm and temporarily creating pressure, which helps the flow of fluid throughout the body. Pranayama, yet another principle of Patanjali Yoga, comes into play as it can help you gain more control over your breath. Spend time in Amrit’s Meditation Studio to learn how to be intentional with your breathing and learn breathwork techniques that can assist you in fully utilizing your diaphragm.
Lymphatic blockage can be a very serious problem that, left unchecked, can lead to many other secondary issues. If you think this might be a problem, meet with one of Amrit’s onsite medical personnel and take steps to begin drainage and working your way back to lymphatic health.