Save Your Life?
Firstly, from all of us at Presscription, we hope that all of you reading this are safe, well, symptom free and settling into lock-out life with not too much boredom and frustration. The purpose of this post is to, again, provide you with information that you might not be seeing in the mainstream media and that gives you the tools to prepare your body for what is sounding like some degree of inevitable infection by covid-19.
Today we’re going to talk about a system in the body that’s usually spoken of in terms of weight loss, water retention and detoxification: The Lymphatic System. If dry brushing and lymphatic drainage massages are two things that come very highly on your “wellness absurdities not to be trusted” list, then I’m here to put the record straight.
Firstly, before I begin, it might be worth going back and reading our blog post on ‘Eating for Immunity,’ as I explain in depth how the immune system works. What I didn’t add in that post is how the interconnectedness between the Lymphatic System and the Immune System work to support each other.
The Lymphatic System is like a dating app for antigens and the Immune System - a place that facilitates the likely meeting of two things that work well together but need help to meet. So when the Lymphatic System is working properly the chances of having an effective Immune response are greatly increased, and chances of defending against, and also recovering from, a viral infection are much better.
What is the Lymphatic System?
The Lymphatic System is a complex network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins by transporting lymph, a fluid containing infection-fighting white blood cells, throughout the body. The Lymph transports these immune system cells to lymphoid tissues where they can interact with lymphocytes and initiate an adaptive immune response. That being said, you can see how the lymphatic system is an absolutely crucial part of our overall immunity and, at a time such as this, we should all be at home furiously supporting and encouraging the adequate flow of lymph around the body (as well as, you know, washing your hands a million times a day).
So, how do we optimise the Lymphatic System?
1. Work your diaphragm
Here’s where I get to talk about one of my favourite things - breathwork! I’ll leave the dry body brushing for now and explain why breathing is a great form of self-lymphatic massage. The diaphragm is a huge muscle and, when used properly, has far reaching benefits above and beyond just sucking in and expelling air. Because it’s so huge the diaphragm can move the lymph around the body, but most of us don’t breath with our diaphragm.
As a breathwork coach I’m pretty hot on this topic so here’s an exercise you can do to make sure you know what it feels like to breathe from your diaphragm.
1. Lie on your back on the floor with your knees up.
2. Place one hand on your stomach and one on your chest.
3. Take a deep breath in through your nose and focus on making the hand on your stomach move first as you expand into your stomach, followed by the hand on your chest.
4. Exhale through the nose or mouth, it’s normal for both the chest hand and the stomach hand to fall simultaneously here, and that’s fine.
5. Repeat the same exercise but place one hand on your side and the other on your chest.
Feel that your diaphragm expands through 360 degrees of movement when you breathe into your belly like this, and try and keep that up through your day and breathe more consciously.
Take advantage of all the amazing free content online at the moment and join a breathwork class that’s happening online, I’m a huge fan of @thebreathguy
2. Dry body brushing
The Lymphatic system is different from the cardiovascular system in that it doesn’t have a muscle, the heart, pumping blood around the veins all day long - the lymph is moved via muscular contractions and you can support this by externally massaging your body from the outside. Lymphatic drainage massages aren’t available to us right now, #quarantinelife, but you can order yourself a dry body brush and help stimulate the lymph that way. A simple google of “how to dry body brush” will do you right, but essentially brush along your limbs towards the heart and pay special attention to those areas that contain a high volume of lymph nodes such as the groin and the armpits. `
3. Gentle movement
Yoga is particularly good for lymphatic circulation, especially when it involves lots of yummy twists. Now is actually the perfect time to up your yoga game with an online 30 day yoga challenge. I’m a huge fan of Yoga With Adriene via youtube, but you can also tune in on Instagram live with your favourite yoga teachers that have transitioned to teaching in a studio to teaching from home during the Covid-19 outbreak
So, what do you think? Ready to take your Lymphatic System to the next level to help ward off viruses? We hope so! Learn about how the gut impacts the immune system in this recent post, and, if you're ready to take your gut health to the next level then jump on board one of our Gut Cleanses - formulated with key ingredients to support gut health like probiotics, aloe vera and anti-inflammatory foods such as turmeric and ginger.
The Presscription Gut Cleanse 1 has been designed by renowned nutritionist, best selling author and gut health expert Amanda Hamilton. It contains a combination of powerful ingredients that focus on assisting and supporting the microbial balance in the gut. Order your cleanse here.