Do you know about the Lymphatic System? If not, it’s time to change that- here’s what you need to know about it, and why it’s essential for us to take care of it.
Our lymphatic system is made of thin tubes called lymphatic vessels that travel with the nerves, arteries, and veins. These vessels collect lymph fluid, a clear, colorless, watery fluid, from different parts of the body, and take them back to the bloodstream. Lymph fluid is rich in white blood cells (lymphocytes) that help to protect the body against infections. They are stored in bean-sized collections of cells known as lymph nodes, which are scattered throughout the entire body.
The Lymphatic System plays a vital role in regulating our immune system, in addition to maintaining fluid balance in various parts of the body. It’s also the body’s “sanitation department”, helping to clean the debris left by our cells and other systems. This is done through urine, sweat, and stool. So think of it as one big drain!
What’s interesting about the body is that it has NO pump to move our lymph. Which is crazy, since we have 3X more lymph fluid than blood! In fact, when it starts to fail or malfunction, we’re at a high risk of developing autoimmune disease, cancer, chronic inflammation, and a host of other compromised conditions. And even if it’s still in motion, a lot of things can go wrong when it starts to become congested.
How do we know if our lymph is becoming congested? Some signs include:
- Chronic Skin Problems (acne, eczema, etc)
- Worsened Allergies
- Food Sensitivities
- Cold lumps
- Headaches and Migraines
- Joint Pain
- Poor Immunity
- Breast Soreness, Tenderness
- Muscle Cramps
That last in particular should be taken care of ASAP by a doctor, as it’s a sign of other diseases or conditions. Lymphedema is the swelling of arms, legs, or other areas of the body. It should not be ignored! Which is why prevention is key.
Now, our body is really clever- even though the Lymphatic System doesn’t have a pump to move things along, it doesn’t need us to do anything drastic to make sure it’s well maintained.
The solution is very simple- exercise. Yes! You read that correctly- exercising daily helps to keep our Lymphatic System running smoothly. When we exercise, we stimulate circulation in our body, which transports oxygen into our tissues and cells, as well as our lymph.
Staying inactive increases the chance of causing stagnation in our lymph. And it’s no wonder that a lack of exercise makes us feel sluggish, weak, and tired! Part of the reason this happens is because we’re not supporting our lymph. The two are connected- not exercising, and our lymph becoming stagnant. If we to be at our best- inside and out- then we have to realize that moving our body is not all about vanity. What’s the point of having a bikini body if it’s always sick, and feels like it’s made of wood? A good looking body should be a side effect of taking care of it. The better we feel, the more motivated we’ll be to stay consistent with our (healthy) habits.
So whether that’s adopting a regular exercise program (like at Technofunc), or following your own protocol, it’s important to get active everyday. Do something to get your lymph flowing! It can be gentle, intense, or somewhere in the middle. Just fit it in!
There also other things you can do to give your Lymphatic System some support. These include:
- Infrared Sauna
- Dry Skin Brushing
- Rebounding (using a mini trampoline or anything that gets you moving up and down; Jump Rope, Plyometrics)
- Deep Breathing
- Contrasting Hydrotherapy (taking a shower and alternating between hot and cold)
- Hanging Upside Down (Inversion Therapy or using Yoga Trapeze)
- Flexibility Training
All of these little, simple things add up to a bigger whole: a healthy Lymphatic System. So the next time you workout, think about what good it’s doing for your internal health.