In last weeks blog post I covered why it is important that we detox and cleanse the body, so to follow on from that I thought this week it would be good to share my favourite ways to support the body, specifically the lymphatic system, during the detox/cleanse process – this basically helps ensure that any toxins or other unwanted substances get properly removed out of the body.
Firstly, I shall cover what the lymphatic system is! In summary it is a delicate network of vessels that run through the body, connecting the lymph nodes together and transports the lymph fluid. It is best to visualise it as your body’s filtration system!
Lymph fluid is made up of a clear, plasma-like fluid and white blood cells called lymphocytes. It is effectively the collection of excess fluid from the tissues in the body, which drains into and flows through the lymph vessels and gets filtered through the lymph nodes which then drains back into the blood stream. The lymph can contain other substances such as proteins, minerals, fats, nutrients, damaged cells, cancer cells and foreign invaders – this is why it is important for it to get filtered properly, as we do not want some of these things staying in the body.
The lymph nodes monitor and cleanse the lymph fluid as it passes through. This is where the harmful ‘other substances’ mentioned above get filtered out. There are clusters of nodes found in the neck, armpits, groin, and abdomen whilst some exist on their own – but there are about 600 nodes in total in your body!
The lymphatic vessels are a network of capillaries and tubes located throughout your entire body and work to transport the lymph away from your tissues. The lymphatic vessels collect the lymph and filter it at the nodes, moving it towards the larger collecting ducts that then returns the lymph to the bloodstream via the subclavian vein.
So, after that very brief science lesson, here are my favourite ways to support the lymphatic drainage and keep this wonderful filtration system doing its thing!
- My all time favourite is exercise. The lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump, so heavily relies on the contraction of muscles to assist. Anything from gentle walking or pilates to running or CrossFit help get the lymph moving well around the body, relieving congestion and encouraging detoxification.
- Dry body brushing is also a great way to boost circulation and lymphatic drainage, helping to rid the body of toxins via the skin. Ideally you brush in the direction of the lymph flow and towards the heart. It also encourages the movement of lymph in the underlying organs and tissues, which help clear built up toxins.
- Spending some time in the sauna (especially infrared saunas) – this helps your body sweat out toxins, limiting the stress on the system whilst also encouraging deep breathing. You can supercharge this too by having some activated charcoal beforehand to help bind to any toxins ensuring they are more easily removed from the body.
- Castor oil packs are also great for increasing circulation of lymphatic fluids and drainage, reducing inflammation and improving digestion. Place a castor oil pack on the lower right abdomen, over the liver by taking a cotton cloth, folded in several layers saturating it with cold pressed castor oil – keep this in place for an hour or even overnight if you can..
- If it is accessible to you; going for a lymphatic drainage massage. This type of massage consists of light rhythmic movements that stimulate the lymphatic system, it doesn’t involve any pressure or deep tissues massage (like you would have in a typical massage). It encourages the lymph fluid to move easily through the nodes and tissues, ensuring it doesn’t get trapped anywhere.
We incorporate lymphatic system support in all of our programmes and group cleanses so we will help properly support you when you join us 🙂