Lymphatic Self Care at Home
Increasing relaxation and healing takes only a few minutes a day. Incorporating lymphatic self-care is simple. You don’t need massage tables or massage oils. No special massage tools are required. As part of our Home Massage series, we’d like to share some easy tips for restoring lymph flow to support your immune system.
The lymphatic system is a complex network of organs, tissues, nodes, ducts, capillaries and vessels that cleanses and protects the body. Lymph is a clear fluid that contains white blood cells, lymphocytes (cells that attack bacteria) and chyle (intestinal fluid containing protein and fats). Lymph nodes make immune cells that fight infection and filter lymph to eliminate infected or diseased cells. The lymphatic system is a major player in the immune system and fulfills an important role in carrying nutrients to, and removing toxins, waste and pathogens from, the cells. Lymph only moves in the same, one-way direction. If the lymphatic system becomes blocked or clogged, the stagnation can cause fatigue, edema and disease.
There are several simple ways to care for your lymphatic system at home. Identify a room that is quiet and tranquil. Put on soothing music or infuse the air with your favorite essential oils to create a relaxing ambience. Choose a comfortable position or use bolsters or pillows to be sure you’re supported.
Simple lymphatic drainage (SLD) is a gentle, self-administered massage intended to encourage the natural circulation of lymph throughout the body by stimulating lymphatic vessels. SLD can help the lymphatic system process more fluid, increase filtering and produce lymphocytes. The technique is extremely gentle with little to no pressure. Rather than sliding over the skin, SLD strokes lightly and slowly stretch the skin to pump lymphatic capillaries attached just beneath the surface. You will stretch the skin for three full seconds towards the heart, and then completely release your touch for three seconds. There are many varying techniques and methods for SLD.
Belly breathing from the diaphragm for 10 minutes a day will effectively circulate lymph. Take a deep breath in through your nose, very slowly and deeply, and let your belly expand, to a count of 10. Release the breath through your mouth, again very slowly and completely to a count of 10, and feel your stomach pull back in. You should feel this in your abdomen versus your chest. The alternating pressure on lymph ducts from deep breathing encourages lymph to enter the bloodstream at the subclavian veins at the bottom of the neck and back into the main pulmonary circulation.
Mild exercise and movements can also release lymph blockages and promote the healthy cycling of nutrients and cellular waste. Rebounding, or jumping on a mini-trampoline, increases lymph flow. You can also gently bounce on your toes. This vertical movement stimulates the lymph system to drain away dead and cancerous cells, viruses and heavy metals. Inhale and slowly rotate your head to the right while counting to five, hold for a second and exhale, returning your head to the center at the same rate of five; repeat to the left side, five times on each side. Raise both shoulders up towards your ears as you inhale and release shoulders back to a neutral position as you exhale; repeat five times.
From allergy to pain relief, illness to digestive disorders, many professional massage therapists use SLD, belly breathing and movement as part of a daily self-care ritual to relax, detox and heal. Keep yourself healthier and happier this spring with lymphatic self-care at home. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health provider before starting any treatment.
Please visit the Educational Corner for our collection of current and past educational articles. The archive includes five categories: Health & Wellness, Massage & Bodywork, Product, Home Massage and Business. From massage research, product spotlights and detailed techniques to DIY self-care and business tips, browse our varied list and learn more.
We offer monthly newsletters to our valued customers. Each issue features new products, exciting releases, the latest news, educational articles and special exclusive offers. It’s easy and FREE. Please sign up here.