The lymphatic system is a key immune response, responsible for dealing with inflammation and detoxifying your body from some 3 pounds of toxins each year. As the lymph system breaks down waste products it also recycles usable materials so that the body can use them for growth and repair. When the lymph system becomes congested, the body’s ability to detoxify and heal is seriously impaired. Clogged lymphatics have been linked to auto-immune conditions, infection, anxiety and depression as well as other imbalances. ⠀
One of the first things done in a foot zone is the opening of some key lymph drains. My drawing is rough, but you can see the location. When pressing a fingertip or knuckle into these locations, you will feel a softer spot between the bones and muscles. If this spot does not feel pliable and hollow, gently use your thumb or knuckle to massage it. As the drain starts to open, you will feel the area hollow out. It may be tender. This can take a few minutes if the lymph system is congested or if it has been working hard due to illness or disease.⠀
If you just have a mild cold or allergies, opening these three drains may help your body to get things moving. Sometimes your body just needs a little extra help. Your nose may even start running shortly afterwards! ⠀
If there continues to be puffiness or tenderness in these drains, however, you might need to do a little more. If you have a bug that you can’t shake, if you have swelling in your hands or feet, or if you have an infection, inflammation, or an auto-immune condition, there are many more locations that lymph is drained throughout a foot zone so a full foot zone can be really helpful. ⠀
In between zones, Dry Brushing is one simple thing that you can add to your daily routine that can help keep the lymph system flowing.
What is Dry Brushing? It is exactly what it sounds like. Each morning, before showering, use a natural bristled brush on your skin. Brush from the ends of your limbs in to your armpit or groin, and from those areas to your heart. This pulls all the surface lymph in the proper direction and gets it moving for the day.⠀There are additional benefits to Dry Brushing, such as increased circulation, skin exfoliation, increased energy and possibly a reduction in the appearance of cellulite.⠀
Besides Dry Brushing, here are five other things you can do at home to keep your lymph system happy.
In a nutshell, the lymph system likes movement. The lymph system doesn’t have a pump; it relies on your muscles to pump lymph back to the heart when you move. Exercise of any type keeps lymph flowing, particularly exercise that gets the limbs moving consistently – cycling, running, zumba, even walking. Pick your favorite!
Even at a relatively low intensity, jumping on a mini trampoline or balance ball can give a quick boost to your lymph system.
If you are familiar with tapping techniques, EFT, or acupressure points, these can also be used to encourage lymphatic drainage. As a bonus, you can get some stress relief along with some sinus drainage! Just Google “tapping for lymphatic drainage,” and many explanations and videos will pop up.
Citrus essential oils, lavender, and rosemary can be beneficial for lymphatic circulation, and they are inexpensive and enjoyable. Dilute well, and massage onto the feet. Spend some time really working in the oil and enjoy a mini self-massage!
Additionally, staying hydrated is necessary for the flow of lymph and other body fluids. Try adding a squeeze of lemon juice to your water and reap the benefits of both! Your body and immune system will thank you.
Take care of your body so it can take care of you! ⠀