Supporting Your Lymphatic System
The lymphatic system breaks down and removes dead and damaged cells by way of one-way valves located behind each joint in the body. When these valves “back up” it causes inflammation and pressure to build in the area behind the valve, and allows bacteria and other pathogens to multiply in the stagnant matter. Read on to find out how you can best supp
a name=’more’> Lymphatic massage will assist in removing damaged cells and in reducing swelling at the injury site. Always massage from the affected area toward the heart, as the lymph moves in that direction. Firmly massage the inside of the closest joint between the area of concern and the heart, moving toward the torso with a smooth, firm, “milking” motion. You may feel anything from tiny “grains” like rice or split-pea sized knots to lumps larger than a shooter marble. They will reduce quickly as you milk the area and support the drainage of the nodes. Follow with the remaining intervening joints to ensure complete lymphatic drainage.
Swelling or “inflammation” in any area often indicates lymphatic congestion. For example, use lymphatic massage in the groin with a swollen prostate gland, under the armpit with a breast node, between the ribs for a chronic cough, under the mastoid bone (at the back of the skull) and jawbone for an earache. The lumps will reduce quickly but may recur quickly as well; continue to do the massage every 20-30 minutes where this occurs.
Injuries will cause the production of lymphatic fluid to increase, which is often the cause of localized swelling. Use direct light massage at the injury site where possible, and moderate pressure massage in adjacent areas. Topical preparations containing essential oils, especially Roman Chamomile, Cajeput (a variety of Tea-Tree), and Lemon, will enhance circulation and reduce inflammation even if direct massage is impossible or cannot be maintained, as in under dressings, casts, etc. Remember that
surgery creates an injury, and you may benefit from lymphatic massage around the site of the incision.
Large movements are essential to increase lymphatic circulation. Big arm circles, deep knee bends, etc., encourage the body to filter and remove waste elements effectively. Motion also maintains good blood flow, ensuring the transport of oxygen and nutrients to the area.
“Riding Horse” is a Qi Gung exercise that builds lymphatic function. Stand with feet shoulder width apart and the knees flexed. Begin to “bounce” lightly, gradually increasing the amount of movement. (The body will do this quite naturally.) Allow the arms to bounce as well; they will tend to fall into loose fists which will lightly beat on the thighs. Gradually move them to beat on the groin, then move them one at a time up the body, to the armpit, out the arms, and back in. Continue around the neck and down the sides, ending with going down and back up the legs. Maintain the bouncing throughout the entire time; the whole process should take 8-10 minutes. Follow with plenty of water!