The lymphatic system doesn’t get much press in comparison to other body systems. However, it should as it’s equally important!
So, what is the lymphatic system? It is a network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of waste, toxins and other unwanted material. Its primary function is to transport lymph, a fluid containing infection-fighting white blood cells, throughout the body.
It consists of lymphatic vessels, which are similar to the veins and capillaries of the circulatory system. These vessels are linked to lymph nodes, where the lymph is filtered. Organs such as thymus, adenoids, spleen and tonsils are all part of the lymphatic system.
Unlike blood circulation which is propelled by the pumping action of the heart, the lymphatic system has no pump of its own and must rely on the movement of the body’s musculoskeletal system to circulate. It is also worth mentioning that the lymph flows in one direction only – upward toward the neck.
Given the sedentary nature of our lives our lymphatic system doesn’t get nearly enough ‘exercise’ as it should. Following are two self-care practices, which are highly beneficial for the lymphatic system.
1) Dry skin brushing aka garshana
Garshana / dry skin brushing is an ancient Ayurvedic practice which stimulates the lymphatic system and skin, enhancing blood circulation and the release of toxins. It’s best done in the morning before you shower because toxins are released and build up during sleep.
Start with brushing the soles of your feet and brush in upward strokes towards the heart. Move onto your legs, arms, buttocks, back and belly, chest and neck. Be gentle when brushing your belly, chest and neck as those areas are quite delicate.
Ideally, you want to make this a daily practice as it only takes 3 minutes and has such a positive impact on your lymphatic system.
Which brush? Look for a natural-bristled brush (I personally use Japanese body brush made from sisal, which you can purchase in some health food stores or online); avoid nylon and synthetic brushes because they can scratch and irritate your skin. You might want to get a brush with a long handle as that way it’ll be easier to brush your back or you might want to ask your partner to brush your back for you! 😉
2) Trampolining – an excuse to reawaken the child within you!
Here is to a happy and healthy lymph!
Jana of Vibrant You Ltd.