Exercise improves a lot of things. Magazines, newspapers, the news, and your family doctors and health practitioners are all shouting the benefits of exercise. I will be no different and will be taking the next few months writing about the benefits of exercise for various health conditions. In this article, I’d like to talk about Exercise for your Lymphatic system.
The lymphatic system is an amazing system of toxic waste collection, nutrient delivery, and front line bacteria attackers. How it works is that a Cell excretes waste into the extra-cellular fluid (ecf); goes to the lymph nodes (around 500 nodes) to destroy antigens (example of an antigen would be a virus); the lymph duct carries it to the subclavian vein (under collar bone), a main vein that circulates material back through the blood; and the blood excretes it out of the body through sweat, urine or feces.
Lymph nodes are not dispersed evenly throughout our body. They congregate in the spleen, thymus gland, intestine and tonsils and around the groin, abdomen, chest, throat, and arm pits. The whole body, especially these areas, require good lymphatic drainage flow. If this flow is impaired, the fluid becomes thick and toxic. The parts of the body that rely on it for elimination become less efficient and sluggish as they fill with their own waste. This otherwise life-sustaining system now becomes a breeding ground for infection. When the fluid enters the bloodstream, as is part of the normal process, infection can now spread to any organ or part of the body. Many viruses, bacteria and parasites stay locked within the lymphatic system when these conditions are present and often develop as swollen glands.
Therefore, its very important to promote healthy conditions for the lymph to flow. Because the lymph doesn’t have its own pump, we have to move our bodies in order for the lymph to move – yes, EXERCISE. Rebounder or trampoline is excellent for the lymph. But really, any exercise that moves our bodies in different directions and gets our circulation going will move the lymph. Make sure to include nice big movements around the areas mentioned above, groin/hips, abdomen, chest, throat, arm pits, knees and elbows.
Another great way to move lymph is with massage. Because lymph vessels are in the skin, brushing the skin or massaging the skin up toward the collar bone will help the lymph to move. If you do a self-massage, use light pressure as you massage the skin with upward strokes. See the diagram to see where the lymph flows and simply follow that flow both at the front and the back of the body. There are also massage therapists that specialize in lymphatic drainage massage.
Take the time to care for your body. It does so much for us that we don’t even know about. A great way to start is to exercise. Watch for more great reasons to exercise coming up in future articles.
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