The lymphatic system is known as our sewage removal system as it clears out cellular waste from our body. This makes the lymphatic system one of the most important systems in our body because of how prevalent stress, inflammation and toxins are prevalent in today’s society. In this blog I’m going to talk about how you can improve your lymphatic system and cleanse your body naturally through optimising your lymph.
In my previous blog on digestion I spoke about how if you took out all of your digestive cells it would take up a full basketball court… if you took out all of your lymph vessels then it would be over 160,000km… that’s long enough to circle the entire world four times!
You have almost double the amount of lymphatic fluid in your body compared to blood! The 10 liters of lymph in your body at all times is 90% water and 10% cellular waste, protein and hormones.
- Lymph carries proteins and hormones which means that if your lymphatic system isn’t working efficiently then you won’t be building as much muscle, burning as much fat or having a good balance of hormones!
Your lymphatic system has a deep connection to your immune system. Your immune system and your gut work closely together. If your lymphatic system isn’t working effectively then your bodies ability to fight off infections and heal will be impacted.
- If you break your leg for example, a properly function lymphatic system will help you recover that leg faster!
The last fun thing about the lymphatic system is that there are only two things that move your lymph…
Diaphragmatic breathing and Movement
Yes, that’s right… breathing! One of the many amazing things that breathing does it that it can help you clear out toxins.
Why diaphragmatic breathing and not normal breathing?
When you breathe into your diaphragm, it pushes down and out. One of the muscles that the diaphragm pushes into is the thoracic duct. The thoracic duct is the LARGEST lymphatic vessel in the body! So, when you move your thoracic duct, you’re creating a vacuum effect which pulls lymph through the bloodstream.
The next thing that moves lymph is movement!
Movement is also another great way to reduce stress! I have spoken about how movement is the pump for your heart that will provide nutrients to the rest of your body and clear out toxins.
Movement will clear out toxins by activating the lymphatic vessels that are everywhere in your body. Once you activate your lymphatic vessels it promotes lymph to flow around your body easier. Going for walks, playing sport, dancing, yoga etc. My favourites for moving lymph specifically are jumping rope and bouncing on a trampoline. Your calves are one of the biggest pumps and can hold a lot of lymph. Has anyone seen or experienced themselves having swollen ankles when they’re sick or have just been on an airplane? That’s your legs filling up with lymph (toxins)! To get it moving, jumping up and down in a vertical motion seems to be more effective at pumping lymph then walking.
In summary, your lymphatic system controls more then you think and you should have daily habits to help your lymph flow better! Lymph is linked to cancer, chronic fatigue, muscle gain, fat loss, immune system and poor movement.
Work on creating daily habits that will help your movement and breathing. An awesome side effect of improving your breathing and movement is that you will also reduce your stress and inflammation!
Simple things you can do:
Do breathing drills, meditation, mindfulness yoga/tai chi, mindful walking. Anything that makes you focus on breathing into your belly! Training your diaphragm will also give you other benefits of a smaller waist, better blood flow, stronger core and better posture. The easiest and most effective way that I train my diaphragm is to do it 8 hours every night… yes… I tape my mouth shut, wear a nose strip and sleep!
Go for as many 10-minute walks as you can as many times as you can! Or just simply move more by taking the stairs, or walking up and down your house an extra 1 (or 100) times. Move in different ways, grab a kettlebell or a bosu ball, get up and down off the ground! I love to do gymnastics and incorporate weird things in my warmups. Another great tip is to get a small trampoline in your house or buy a skipping rope, set a timer for 1-2 hours to remind yourself to go outside and move for 1 minute!
Hopefully I gave you some useful advice that you can start to apply right now!
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