Lymphatic Drainage: What You Need To Know

lymph_systemThe lymphatic system is, as you may have guessed from its important-sounding name, an integral part of the immune system and has several functions. It works to reduce catarrh (a buildup of phlegm and mucus), toxins and waste from the body in order that they do not collect and lead to possible autointoxication. It also serves as your body’s own warning system that disorders are starting to build up. This can be noticed when you have ‘swollen glands’ – around the neck or ankles, particularly. Its other role is to transport fats to where they are needed in the body.

The lymphatic system has no circulation of its own and requires movement to help prevent a blockage. If this movement is compromised, it can become sluggish and coagulated with a buildup of fluid. This is where the Ultratone machine can help! It stimulates a pumping and deep massage action to help encourage movement of the fluids around the body, reducing puffiness, thickened ankles and tired legs.

Diet can play a crucial role in continued lymphatic health, with some foods and groups being beneficial, while others hinder its flow and contribute to mucus build up.

Generally speaking anything that constricts your body or limbs, such as tight-fitting clothing, will impede the body’s lymphatic system.

Aftercare Tips

In terms of diet, by far the best thing you can do for your lymphatic system is drink water, and lots of it! Staying hydrated is the easiest and most effective way to help lymphatic motility. Anything you do to move your body will keep the lymph moving, too, so plenty of exercise is important. We’re not saying you have to sweat it out at the gym five times a week, but make a conscious effort to move around more during the day. If you can walk somewhere in 15 minutes, then do it! The fresh air will help clear your head and leave you focused and more productive.

We would recommend reducing or eliminating problematic foods: yeast and dairy products, as well as refined, sugary foods are known irritants and contribute to excess mucus buildup within the body. Try to eat as many unprocessed, fresh foods as you can, with plenty of cruciferous vegetables, leafy greens and wholegrains to keep your digestive system going like clockwork. Start with a good probiotic every day to boost the immune system and help to replenish your gut’s army of good bacteria – we highly recommend Mightidophilus, but this needs to be refrigerated and many people find the shelf-stable Acidophilus more convenient.

Body Brushing

This simple procedure can aid detoxification and stimulate movement within the lymphatic system.

Before bathing or showering, take a long-handled brush and working in gentle, circular, sweeping strokes, work from the feet up the legs, from the hands up the arms, in clockwise strokes around the back and stomach area and finish with the chest area. Don’t scrub yourself raw – be gentle and use a dry brush. Don’t rush, either – this should be a mindful experience, a moment just for you. The very basics of self care begin with taking the time to relax, be mindful and aware of your body.

Focus on your breathing, allow your muscles to relax as you brush over each area. In addition to its benefits to the lymphatic system, dry brushing helps to remove dry and dead skin which can clog pores, giving your complexion a dull and weathered appearance.

Epsom Salt Baths

Epsom salts are of excellent benefit to the lymph system, particularly if you are feeling itchy or headachey. They provide magnesium and draw out excess sodium which can reduce puffiness, water retention and dehydration. Try a bath twice a week, to begin with, then reduce to once a week.

Have a nice cup of herbal tea whilst you run the bath, then add a large mugful of Epsom salts hot (but comfortable) bath water. Get in and gradually add more hot water to increase the temperature – but stay within your comfort zone! Don’t burn yourself. Stay in the water up to your neck for 10 – 15 minutes. Do not rinse but simply pat yourself dry so the salt stays on your skin. Wrap up warmly and go to bed, staying as warm as possible to encourage perspiration, for at least 2 – 3 hours or overnight. Afterwards, gently rinse your body in tepid water.

Again, make this a pleasurable and relaxed experience. Dim the lights if possible, light a few candles or burn some aromatherapy oils. Combine with a gentle body brushing session, as described above, beforehand to increase therapeutic effects.