Lymph: The Unknown Hero Of Our Drainage System
Puffiness, fluid retention, weight fluctuations, skin flares, brain fog, fatigue, mood issues…do these symptoms sound familiar to YOU?
If so, we need to talk about your Lymphatic System!
What is the lymphatic system?
The lymphatic system is a network of vessels that help with fluid balance in the body, facilitate immune function and even absorb dietary fat from the gut. They also function as a key waste network to carry waste products from ALL tissues and organs - to the liver and out of the body. The major way the lymphatic system performs these jobs is by moving interstitial fluid through its winding vessels that innervate almost every organ and tissue in the body.
What might be most interesting is the lymphatic system's role in our body's inflammatory response - aka our immune response - especially in the gut which can be a big contributor to digestive symptoms. Here at Above Health, we like to talk about the lymphatic system metaphorically as our dirty bathwater in the bathtub model and the best way to remove the dirty water from the tub, and away from the body, is by unplugging the drain!
The lymphatic system plays 3 critical roles in our body:
Maintain fluid balance by collecting waste from the tissues and body to deliver it back to the bloodstream and liver to be disposed of.
Absorb dietary fat in the intestine and transports BACK to the bloodstream to utilize.
Protects our body from infection.
A healthy and flowing lymphatic system is critical for a healthy gut and vise-versa. The production and movement of fluid through the lymphatic system is key to its healthy functioning - just like a river the lymphatic system needs to be flowing consistently to ensure the health of the tissues and organs in the body. Interestingly the lymph fluid formation in humans is approximately 1–4 liters/day, most of which (>50%) is formed in the GI tract - the gut is one of the richest lymphatic organs in the body which makes sense for why its health is so critical for gut health.
The lymphatic system and its specific mechanisms are still being understood in research, but what we do know is that when the lymphatic fluid doesn’t flow inflammation and ill-health symptoms occur.
Congestion to Lymphatic Drainage
What might lead to congestion or poor lymphatic fluid flow? Congestion in our drainage pathway!
When our drainage pathways become congested, our drainage organs cannot properly drain the lymphatic fluid into the lower drainage organs such as the liver and gut. This means that our “dirty bath water” remains stagnant in the body and when the lymphatic system can’t flow this causes a greater toxic burden. The body responds to this toxicity by producing more fluid in the lymph to dilute the toxins– “the solution to pollution is dilution” - which creates excess fluid leading to symptoms like fluid retention, puffiness and inflammation.
It is a method of protection but can be a very frustrating symptom to experience and the solution is… to restore the flow of the drainage system!
If you struggle with chronic puffiness under your eyes, face, abdominal bloating or distention, swelling in your ankles, hands or body or simply just feel inflamed and nothing seems to help - it's time to take a deeper look at your drainage system.
This is a MAJOR focus inside of NDD, we spend the whole first month supporting drainage to get quick wins and finally feel relief from these frustrating symptoms as well as set you body up for greater success moving forward!
If we don’t support our drainage system to keep the lymphatic system flowing and healthy, research has linked a variety of conditions to congestion in the lymph that contributes to these inflammatory conditions such as:
IBD: Crohn’s & Colitis
Suggested lymph roles also being explored in conditions such as:
Obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes but more research is needed
The lymphatic system is vital for maintaining optimal gut integrity and function and a system we want to learn how to love up on in our daily life!
One: Daily bowel movements! You’ve heard it from us so many times but here it is again…the gut in the base on the drainage pathway, if you are struggling with constipation there is no movement or flow in the drainage pathways - that means so flow to the lymphatic system which can lead to inflammation. So getting support to get daily BMs is key!
Two: The Big Six: Manual Lymphatic Massage: The lymphatic system has 6 major areas where the flow can get a little sticky, manually massaging those 6 areas daily is a great strategy to keep the lymph healthy and happy.
Those key areas are:
Front of neck
Front and behind ears
Above and below the Clavicle
Front of Groin
Three: Deep Breathing. the diaphragm helps to move the lymphatic fluid by changing the pressure in the central area of the body. This means that breathing exercises are a key strategy to help promote healthier lymph flow!
Four: Nervous System Support. The lymphatic system works most effectively when the nervous system is in a parasympathetic state or rest & digest state.Mediation, yoga nidra, journaling, rest are all tools to support the nervous system to move into its rest & digest state that promote better flow for the lymphatic system. Aim to establish a calming practice 1-3x per day everyday to help balance your nervous system - it's MUCH more impactful than it might initially seem!
Want more tools on how to navigate stress? Tune into on Your Body Has Your Back Episode 3 on Stress Resilience!
Five: Movement. Jumping, walking, and calf elevations are great ways to get the lymph moving! Below is a simple but impactful 15-min stationary walking workout to get your lymph majorly moving: 15-min Stationary Walking Lymph Workout
We highly recommend following @lymphloveclub to learn more about the lymphatic system!
Want to more Deeply Support your Drainage System?
he NDD program is an open enrollment program that is here for when you decide you are ready to step into the fullest version of yourself and your health!
When you are ready, we are here to help you heal your gut and eliminate your ill health symptoms for good!
Want to learn more, book a complimentary strategy call by clicking the button below to learn if NDD is the right fit for your health and healing goals!