Do you love your lymph? We bet you don’t! Some of you might not even know what your lymph is or what it does. Time for a very swift biology lesson.
While blood races round the body pumped by the heart, lymph (sometimes known as ‘white blood’) moves less dramatically relying on the force of gravity and the contraction and relaxation of our muscles to push it through the network of tiny channels. When it reaches its destination in the lymph nodes (primarily concentrated in the groin, behind the knees, in the armpits and under the chin) white blood cells get to work to clean out the waste and attack any dangerous bacteria.
A fully functioning lymphatic system not only boosts your immunity and improves overall health, it makes your whole body look brighter and better. Skin appears clear and unblemished; eyes are bright and shiny; wounds heal quickly and easily and colds are rare and more easily combated. Regular lymphatic massage can help scars fade and even cellulite finds it hard to get a foothold if the lymph is flowing freely.
So now you see why we reckon your lymph needs some loving!
Here are five easy ways to keep your lymph happy:Image Source
Move it! Exercise acts as a powerful pump for the lymph and the good news is that you don’t have to take it to the max. Swimming, walking and yoga are all perfect lymph-helpers (yoga twists squeeze the lymph while inversions also help it move). Rebounding (on a small trampoline) is the very best of all because it changes the force of gravity in your body which stimulates the lymph. Finding it tough to get started? Dab on some of our Motivation
Up the H2O. Keeping hydrated with plenty of water is good for your health altogether but it’s a special boon to your lymph. Sip throughout the day and make sure you have more if it’s hot or you’re exercising.
Skin brush. Simple but oh so effective, regular skin brushing moves the lymph and softens any impacted lymph mucus from the nodes. Use either a natural bristle brush or a damp flannel with a bicarbonate and salt mixture and brush smoothly, always moving from your extremities (toes, fingers) towards the heart.
- Make it MLD. All massage helps the lymph but the real superstar is MLD (Manual Lymphatic Drainage). Seek out this gentle yet madly effective treatment if you possibly can. Your therapist will show you home moves so you can continue the good work yourself. Find a practitioner worldwide via the Vodder School: http://www.vodderschool.com/
- ‘Most essential oils are immune supportive one way or another but some stimulate lymphatic circulation in particular and help with the efficient elimination of toxins,’ says our founder Zena Hallam.
This oil blend not only has profound therapeutic effects, but also smells wonderful. ‘Cypress and cedarwood oils have many wonderful qualities but, in particular, they are decongestant and astringent – they contract and tighten tissues and so squeeze out areas of excess fluid in a sluggish lymph,’ says Zena. ‘Lemon oil stimulates immune function – it is high in compounds known as monoterpenes which can increase the total white blood cell count and stimulate antibody production. Bay leaf (Laurus nobilis) is another strong decongestant.
Lymph-supporting massage oil
- Cypress - 9 drops
- Cedarwood virginiana - 6 drops
- Lemon - 6 drops
- Bay leaf (or pink grapefruit) - 3 drops
- 30ml carrier oil (jojoba is ideal but you could also use sweet almond, baobab seed or apricot (or a mix of any of these).
Mix well and bottle.
Smooth into the skin, working from the extremities (ankles and hands) and moving towards the groin and armpits.