Our bodies are ENTHRALLING. Our bodies are POWERFUL. Our bodies are WISE. Hidden amongst and under our highly intelligent and discerning skin are layer upon layer of intricate compositions; systems and structures functioning in ways we aren’t even aware of. As captivating, intelligent and sophisticated as our bodies are, we can often times compromise their innate awesomeness with some of our own short-sighted indulgences.
Earlier this month Jared touched on the dangerous and baseless trend of detox dieting. In Jared’s post he notes that our bodies are always engaged in detoxification by way of lungs, kidneys and liver. Another incredible system we humans utilize for detoxification is the Lymphatic-Immune System.
The lymphatic system is a fairly complex circulatory system with many crucial and admirable jobs. Through a network of lymphatic capillaries, vessels, organs, and nodes excess fluid is moved back toward the heart regulating blood volume, blood pressure and preventing swelling of tissue. This system also plays a critical role in protecting the body against infection; the filtering action of lymph nodes and organs provides immunity and destroys pathogens and impurities. Lymphatic fluid carries nutrients from the foods we eat, oxygen from the air we breath, but also moves bacteria, poisons, cholesterol and viruses away from the cells in our body. As a key transporter of both essential nutrients and metabolic wastes, a healthy functioning of the lymphatic system is imperative for long term health and wellness.
Unlike the cardiovascular system, lymph can only be moved through external manipulation; ie: muscle contraction, pressure changes created by breathing, or massage. While not everyone is suffering from acute disease due to a stagnant lymphatic system, everyone can benefit from conscious, routine, stimulation of lymphatic flow.
So, the first way we can encourage a prime lymph system would be to simply move; walk, dance, play, stretch, exercise. Secondly, we can breath…obviously, if you are reading this, you are breathing, right? But are you breathing fully? Becoming more aware of our breath, and choosing to take slow, full, deep breaths (can you feel your ribs expand?) when we do become aware is a very simple but fierce way to get that lymph moving. Thirdly, we can manipulate with touch. That’s right, I’m talking about massage.
Just a few general benefits of Lymphatic Massage:
- General detoxification of the body
- Relief of chronic pain
- Healing of fractures, torn ligaments, sprains
- Reduction in fluid retention and swelling
- Regeneration of tissue
- Reduces swollen ankles and legs during pregnancy.
- Relieves congestion, from sinus and allergies
- Helps with some forms of constipation
- Reduces puffy eyes and “bags” under the eyes
- Increases energy levels
- Reduces stress
Lymphatic massage, unlike most relaxation or rehabilitative massage techniques, is a systematic, rhythmic and supremely gentle modality. Rather than pointlessly suffering through the deprivation, and stress of maple syrup and cayenne lemonade or other “cleansing Kool-Aids” you can use Lymphatic Drainage Massage along with healthy eating and a regular exercise program to encourage your body to naturally cleanse and heal itself.