Swelling, or the accumulation of fluid, is easy to identify when it comes to a sprained ankle. The fluid accumulates around the site of the injury and is resorbed over a few days. But what about the accumulation of fluid that is happening around your tissues and organs that you can’t necessarily see, let’s say after having eaten the standard American diet for years? What is this fluid? And what can you do to help reduce this swelling and encourage healing? Unlike the sprained ankle, you can’t just throw a bag of frozen peas on your organs.
The lymphatic or lymphoid system is a system made up of tissues, organs, lymph nodes, ducts and vessels to move LYMPH, a colorless water-like fluid, back into your circulatory system. The lymphatic system is part of the circulatory system as well as the immune system. It helps protect our body from invaders and rid the body of toxins and waste that accumulate in the lymph fluid due to catabolic processes (breaking down molecules into smaller one). If the system is overwhelmed or not functioning properly, the system gets backed up. Many people have symptoms of a backed up lymphatic system and don’t even know it!
What are some signs your lymphatic system is backed up?
Swollen lymph nodes or tonsils
Recurrent sore throats
Mucous, especially in the morning
Fullness or fluid in the ears
Ear popping or ringing
Inability to lose weight
Sore or stiff joints, especially in the morning
Swelling or heaviness in the extremities
Pins/needles in the arms or hands while sleeping
Pressure or stiffness along the spine and shoulders while sleeping
Breast swelling with your menstrual cycle
Itchy and/or dry skin
Improving lymphatic drainage encourages the removal of toxins and waste. So in order to decrease inflammation and increase the removal of toxins, how do we increase lymphatic drainage?
Here is a list of at home techniques to increase lymphatic drainage:
This opens the valves within the lymph vessels to encourage lymph fluid through the vessels and back into the circulatory systems
This helps to exfoliate and stimulate the skin to open the pores for elimination of toxins as well as encourage drainage of lymph fluid when strokes are swept in the direction of the lymph nodes
Yoga – Feet up the wall & shoulder-stand poses
This reduces gravitational pressure in the extremities, redirecting blood flow back to the heart for circulation, as well as bringing lymph fluid to the armpits and groin for lymphatic drainage by the lymph nodes
This manual massage technique moves the lymph fluid to the most concentrated lymph node areas of the body (neck, armpits, and groin) to accelerate the process of removing the accumulated liquid and waste.
Lymphatic drainage is extremely important to maintain a high functioning immune system. My favorite is the feet up the wall pose at the end of the day.
If you are struggling with any of the symptoms above and are interested in additional guidance to rebuild your health, book an appointment today. I’m here to help. Reaching out for help is a sign of strength, not weakness!