SPRING CLEAN YOUR BODY
Spring is a time for awakening and cleansing. The type of cleaning we want to discuss is the cleansing and detoxing of our bodies and more specifically, cleaning the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is the body’s personal detox centre. This system cleans and filters toxins from your cells, organs, and tissues. The lymphatic system and detoxification pathways are imperative to healthy immune function, fluid balance, gut health, and overall vitality. As we mentioned in this previous blog post, if your lymphatic system is clogged and not running efficiently then you may be faced with many different health issues. The body’s response to a stagnant or clogged lymphatic system is inflammation. Symptoms such as constipation, frequent illness, headaches, feeling bloated, stiff joints, and low energy are just some of the many side effects. The lymphatic system is closely connected with your immune system and therefore your overall health.
Lymph nodes exist all throughout the body and have larger concentrations in certain areas such as armpits, behind the knees, and the groin. They are also found under the ears and along the sides of the neck. You can probably remember having swollen nodes at this same spot during sickness or a sore throat which was due to the nodes being inflamed and showing infection.
In order for the lymphatic fluid and blood to flow easily and freely, the lymphatic system needs a little extra support. The body does not have a lymphatic pump so it is up to us to aid the flow of lymph to prevent it from becoming stagnant or blocked. Keep reading to see some ways you can help Spring clean your lymphatic system.
–Spend a few minutes before your shower and use a dry brush on dry skin applying light pressure
–Start at the bottom and work your way up your legs, torso, and arms moving towards the heart in sweeping strokes
–On ankles, knees, hips, elbows shoulders, move in small circular motion
–On the chest lightly brush away from the heart
–On the belly move in a clockwise circular system in keeping with the intestinal pattern
–Use a long handled brush to reach your back
You will feel invigorated and exfoliated!
Hot/Cold Shower Therapy:
–Use contrasting temperatures in the shower
–Alternate the temperature to as hot as you can for up to 3 minutes, as cold as you can for 1 minute
–Do this for 3 rounds ending on cold
–Moving the body in ways that you enjoy have endless benefits
–Commit to walking and standing more to keep the fluid flowing
–Drink at least 2L water to help flush out toxins
Yoga and Tai Chi:
–Specific poses and movements are created to target the lymphatic system and help with the flow of lymph.
(Read all about Legs up the Wall Pose/Viparita Karani in this blog post!)
Lymphatic Drainage Massage:
–Visit a professional for a massage specifically designed and performed to drain and promote more lymph flow
–You can perform your own massage using your hands or a guasha tool or stone on certain lymph node areas
–For example using your hands or guasha starting under your ears and stroking downwards along the neck with a slight wiggle near the collarbone
–Rebounding is not only fun but is one of the most effective ways to get the lymph flowing
–Bounce on a rebounder (small trampoline) or sit and bounce on an exercise ball
–Sound therapy, chanting AUM/OM, and drumming
–Use a Vibrational Plate or Vibration Machine to stand on or perform small exercises on
–This apparatus reduces edema and really helps with circulation
–It has also been shown to help with pain and soreness in joints and the back
Intentional Deep Breathing:
–Breathing exercises will increase oxygen and blood flow
–This comes in handy during the Contrasting Shower Therapy, especially the cold part!
–This light and heat has been shown to help the body with detoxification and target toxins at a cellular level
–The body’s heat-stress response is effective at increasing immune health
–Practice your deep breathing in the sauna to enhance the experience!
–Castor oil during self massage or packs with heat over the lymph areas
–Foot baths with cottonwood oil or calendula oil
–Drink teas made with nettles, dandelion, cleavers
Benefits of a healthy lymphatic system include improved circulation, decreased inflammation (swelling, bloating, puffiness), increased energy, and a stronger immune system. Once you begin incorporating some of these practices into your wellness routine you will feel lighter and brighter!