Love Your Lymph
The lymphatics have been overlooked by Western medicine for a long time. Research has been pretty much non-existent until recently. There are images from books from decades ago that show and discuss the lymph, but since then it has been generally ignored. Interestingly though, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda practitioners have been working with lymph for centuries (whether they knew that or not).
It's important to start where you are, right here, right now and to listen to your body. Your body holds so much wisdom and when we learn to listen, we learn to understand. We then have a choice - ignore it or listen and take action.
I Am Jen Wilson, movement & health rebel here to help you move and feel better in your body. In today’s blog, we're going to look (on a basic level) at what your lymph system is, how your lymph affects your health, and what you can do to support your lymph to work better. Let's Go!
What Does Lymph Do?
Lymphatics affect every other system in the body. Effective lymphatics mean more nutrients and oxygen to work and feed the cells & nerves. Without this exchange, toxins can’t leave the cells for nutrients to get in, and the cells and nerves will be ineffective. When the cells and nerves don't fire, our bodies become sick.
One of my teachers believes that the lymphatic system is the most important, and the most neglected, system in the body. Lymph at its basic level influences all other systems in the body. No system works alone, everything is connected. The health of the inside of the body, relates to the health of the outside.
Lymph issues = liver issues = gut issues = health issues
Just because you are taking nutrients in, doesn’t mean that you are absorbing them. You could be consuming all the foods and drinks that you think are healthy but still not feeling good or getting the health results you expect. Toxins need to be drained away first to allow supply. An overloaded system is a toxic system.
Toxins = inflammation
Inflammation = autoimmune/chronic disease
The lymph gets rid of inflammation, which means that if you have inflammation, you have a congested lymphatic system.
Our waste removal systems include:
Lymph, liver, kidneys, skin, lungs, GI, tongue, fat - fat absorbs the toxins to help keep them away from your organs. Fat is an organ and does an incredible job - it’s not the bad guy, but like anything in excess, too much becomes a problem. Your body can’t/won’t burn fat when it’s full of toxins - that would be problematic, and would make you sick. So, even if you are on a calorie deficit eating plan and not losing weight, the suggestion would be that you are toxic, and your system needs assistance to unblock the drains so the shit can flush away (just like your toilet gets rid of your pee and poo).
How do we know if our lymphatic system is not working effectively?
If you experience things such as:
- Gut issues
- Morning tightness /stiffness/itching
- bloating/swelling (extremities/face/belly)
- Bad breath
- Slow capillary refill
- Skin (varicose veins, acne, blotching, spider veins, eczema, psoriasis)
- pain/tenderness on palpating lymph nodes
- Chronic pain/fatigue
- Poor sleep
- Brain fog/headaches/migraines
- Inability to lose weight
- Autoimmune conditions
- Easy bruising
These are just some of the things that you may notice going on in your body.
What Can You Do to Help Your Lymphatic System?
What we want to do is to clear the lymphatic system so the toxins can be removed and the nutrients can get in. Supporting the body into better health.
There are two really simple things that move your lymph - your breath and movement.
These two things are often the things we take most for granted and give little attention to. To get the most out of your breath, we should be spending time everyday giving attention to the breath to be full, to utilise the full capacity of the lungs which then creates movement within the body - without you having to do anything extra.
That being said, in addition to the movement we experience with the breath, we want to move your body every single day and as often as possible. All the joints in your body are there for a reason, if we don’t use them, they stiffen up which over time will cause imbalances and pain (and reduce the functionality of your lymphatic system).
The Lymph Draining Protocol
The system I was taught (and adapted for my clients) works on clearing the lymphatic system, from the lowest point of pressure. Just like if you are clearing your drain you would start at the plug hole and gradually work your way back. There are lots of different methodologies to clearing lymph, for me, this method has been the most effective. If you try this way but prefer an alternative method you know/have been taught, please do the one that feels right for you.
This method clears the nodes, starting with the point of lowest pressure - above the left collarbone. For the sequence, start with the assessment in the videos I have provided at the end of this post.
It’s important not to go overboard with the lymph work, particularly when you are first exploring it, and particularly if you have an underlying health condition. Start gently and tiptoe in. If you experience any kind of detoxification (chills, fever, headaches, sensation of hangover, vomiting) you must wait until that has fully passed (sometimes can be a week) before you repeat the process. Only when you get no reaction do you move on to the next stage. If you get a reaction at the next stage, you wait until that passes before you move on. Any setbacks, go back to the start.
It’s also important to not get over excited with the results and double up - I did this, I felt amazing and started going through the routine twice a day - I ended up being woken through the night with pain in my neck that was overloaded lymph shouting for attention and not feeling good at all.
When doing lymph work, it’s important to keep well hydrated. Water is key, making sure that your water will be absorbed into your body and not peed out within minutes is really important.
Tips for helping water to hydrate you:
- Room temperature (ice water, or chilled water will make you pee quickly)
- Structured water (adding a pinch of celtic sea salt, slice of cucumber, mint leaf etc)especially if the water is purified
- Small sips often
- Adding minerals
- Drinking spring water (not purified water)
- Herbal teas (some herbs are diuretic which make you pee more - notice which do that for you).
Keep it simple, get back to basics, listen to your body.
Love Your Lymph - Where to Start?
Start with the assessment video below, see how you get on and only move onto the daily routine when you feel good… Remember it’s not a race and your body will respond in different ways each time. If you have an underlying health issue, there will be toxins that need to be removed and you will feel a detox reaction.
To get my full Love Your Lymph Master Class, click here.
Check the videos out here...
An Introduction to Your Lympth:
Daily Routine for Lymph Drainage:
About the Author
I Am Jen Wilson, movement & health rebel here to help you move and feel better in your body.
I am an absolute geek (always learning) and a little bit obsessed when it comes to finding ways in helping you look after your body in a way that works for you - you don't like it, we don't do it.
I am top heavy on the qualifications... From a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science, PG Dip TQFE, Pilates, Yoga, Meditation, Massage, Personal Trainer, Barefoot specialist, Functional Movement Coach, nutrition coach, tutor, assessor, blah, blah, blah… As I mentioned, I am an absolute geek and I love learning about the body.
I drink a gallons of tea (mostly herbal blends I make myself, and grow lots)
I have been sober since Sept 2014
I get excited when I see animals
I love camping and paddle boarding
I live with a condition they call Crohn's
I have lived on the islands of Kos and Gran Canaria and in Australia, but there is no place like home, here in Scotland
Work With Me
I work with clients in online live Zoom classes, I have a subscription on demand classes, and work with clients one to one online or in person at my home studio in Springburn.
Click here to find out more about Jen Wilson and how she can help you.