It is especially important to take care of the lymphatic system during the holidays. It’s a time where most of us indulge in food and drinks (which can lead to extra inflammation), travel frequently (which can cause swelling and overexposure to germs), and experience heightened stress levels (that may or may not stem from visiting certain family members). These factors combined are reason enough to take extra measures to support the lymphatic and immune systems.
We recently caught up with Lymphatic Health expert Lisa Gainsley to get some of her best tips to boosting immunity and improving lymphatic health throughout the holiday season. This is what she recommends…
1 | Lymphatic drainage massage, lymphatic self-massage, and lymphatic facials —
Meghan Markle made lymph facials famous during her wedding prep, but the power of a simple lymph massage must not be overlooked. They do for the entire body what facials do for the face. Manual lymph drainage uses gentle, rhythmic strokes, creating a wave-like sensation in the body that follows the paths towards the lymph nodes where toxins are then filtered out. The specific pumping strokes circulate immune cells through the body and can reduce inflammation. A simple lymphatic self-massage sequence a few nights a week can help reduce breast tenderness and improve digestion.
2 | Movement —
The lymph system depends on muscle movement to pump and decongest stagnant lymph fluid, acting as a natural lymph flush. In other words: exercise is key to lymphatic health. Yoga is a great way to get your movement on because it utilizes your entire muscle network, which pumps lymph through the one-way vessels. Additionally, inversions encourage lymph flow back to the heart and twists are terrific for moving lymph through the abdomen. Also great is jumping on a rebounder and swimming in a salt-water pool (the water pressure acts like a compressant to the lymph vessels).
3 | Use clean skincare, and reduce environmental and emotional toxins —
A large percentage of what you put on your body gets absorbed into the lymph system, and chemicals in household products should be avoided whenever possible. You can lighten the lymphatic processing load by choosing non-toxic, clean beauty products for your body and home. Check out The Fullest’s SHOP for some of the newest and cleanest products on the market.
4 | Make healthy food choices —
Gut health = lymph health! Eating an anti-inflammatory diet rich in antioxidants and vegetables is optimal. Reduce salt and alcohol intake, find a healthy food plan you can maintain, avoid chemicals in diet foods, and consult with an herbalist about herbs and probiotics to boost your gut health and immunity. Holistic nutritionist and lifestyle cleanse expert Elissa Goodman is extremely knowledgeable on the highest grade supplements on the market.
5 | Hydrate —
Our bodies are aquariums. You can increase fluid flow and flush out toxins and pathogens by bathing fluids in antioxidants. Additionally, drinking plenty of water with lemon and electrolytes throughout the day will help circulate and nourish your lymph cells. Simples Tonics in Los Angeles has a gently brewed tea that’s specifically designed to support immunity and is super hydrating.
6 | Support the parasympathetic nervous system —
Infrared biomats offer light, heat, and crystal therapy designed to be a natural detox and pain reliever. The deep cellular relaxation received from lying on a biomat set to your own body temperature supports the body to drop into the parasympathetic system where healing occurs. Meditation, deep breathing, breathwork, and laughter can also help counter stress and support the nervous system.
7 | Dry brushing —
Dry brushing is an excellent way to remove dead cells from the surface of your skin so your lymph system doesn’t have to process the extra cellular waste. Brush lightly and towards your heart, but if you have radiated skin or open wounds, avoid the area completely until you’ve consulted with a trained lymphatic practitioner.
To learn more about Lymphedema, visit these sites: LE&RN (Lymphatic Education & Research Network) and the NLN (National Lymphedema Network). These organizations are the backbone of the lymphatic community and work to support legislation, raise awareness, and fund current scientific breakthroughs on the lymphatic system.
The information in this article is intended for educational use only; it’s not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with questions you have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.
Lisa Gainsley is a certified lymphedema therapist, holding a double certification in Lymphedema Therapy. She utilizes her 25 years of vast knowledge of the lymphatic system to address the specific needs of her clientele, whether they are interested in maintaining health, reducing inflammation in their body, are at risk for lymphedema after cancer treatment, or are recovering from an injury or surgery. Her mission is to spread “The Lymphatic Message” and properly educate people on the importance of lymphatic health. She hopes that someday lymphatic practitioners will be as commonplace as acupuncturists, chiropractors, and dentists.