Lymphatic System and your Health

Posted on February 28, 2010 by

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Inactivity leads to disease.

But if that isn’t enough to motivate you, think of the lymph system. While mainstream medicine often ignores the lymphatic system, natural health experts say that its vitality is crucial to the health of the immune system, which will keep winter colds and flu at bay.

Lymph system

The lymphatic system includes a vast network of vessels and various lymphoid tissues and organs throughout the body. This system works to collect and eliminate toxic waste and bacteria from the tissues. It also returns filtered and cleansed fluids to the bloodstream. In fact, our bodies are designed to move about 50% more lymphatic fluid than blood. Unlike the circulatory system, in which the heart acts as a pump, the lymphatic system relies solely on muscle movement and breathing to flush and filter waste-filled fluids. Without movement the lymph system becomes clogged, backed up, and “blah.”

Movement keeps our lymphatic system functioning properly and it is our primary defense against bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Movement is an excellent preventive against a long list of diseases that can be attributed to a sluggish lymph system including; allergies, menstrual cramps, arthritis, prostate disorders, breast lumps, cancer, cellulite, sinus problems … the list goes on. 

Movement affects every organ and cell in your body.

The lymph fluid moves through “vessels” that are filled with one way valves, so the lymph always moves in the same direction. The main lymph vessels run up the legs, up the arms and up the torso. Without adequate movement, the cells remain in their own waste products and starve for nutrients. This situation contributes to arthritis, cancer, and other degenerative diseases and to aging at a cellular level. Vigorous exercise is reported to increase lymph flow by 15 to 30 times.

There are several ways that you can increase the efficiency of your lymphatic system.

Yoga: You don’t have to perfect the lotus position or stand on your head to benefit from yoga. Many simple asanas (poses) will help to stimulate your lymphatic system. The added benefit is that yoga only requires your time and an inexpensive mat. Just a few minutes each day will do wonders. Check this site out for some excellent guidance on getting started.

Rebounding: This is a form of exercise performed on a rebounder (like a mini-trampoline). Rebounding (up & down) motion stimulates all internal organs, moves the cerebral-spinal fluid, and is beneficial for the intestines. The vertical movement and the forces imposed increase the activity of immune cells. Click here for information on Rebounders

Walking, Cycling, Using the Stairs: When you are engaged in any of these activities, pump your arms and take long strides (or try the stairs two-at-a-time). This will stimulate the circulation of lymphatic fluid.

Seniors: Rocking chairs also help to keep the lymph fluid moving. Another exercise for anyone less mobile: while sitting, raise and lower your arms, as high as possible, over your head. Also, lift one leg off of the chair at a time, about 12 to 15 times each side.

Women: Burn your Bra!
Wearing a bra is directly related to lymphatic health. The more often and longer you wear a bra, the more damage you will do. Any restrictive clothing will inhibit lymphatic fluid flow and bras top the list. Even if you have large breasts, do not wear your bra to bed! Studies have indicated that your chances of breast cancer may decrease by 5 times and more if you wear your brassiere for 12 or fewer hours each day.

Another bonus to shedding that garment? Firmer breasts! Since wearing a bra actually weakens the supporting muscles, by foregoing it as often as possible you’ll help to strengthen those muscles.

One more note on this: Every day, when removing your bra, bend over from the waist, let your arms hang down to your toes, and swing and shake them vigorously. This will help release and stimulate the flow of lymphatic fluids trapped by your bra.

So jump up and down, chase the cat, run up some stairs, or wave your arms around. I promise you’ll feel better. Take a walk, play a sport, or set up a routine of movement that you will like and stick to. Put some action into these winter months. You’ve got nothing to lose but the blahs.

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