It’s a new year and a brand new winter season. Time to make sure our immune systems are functioning at their best, particularly the lymphatic system - the main system to filter fluids and white blood cells that help fight infection, illness, and stagnation throughout our body. The key to a well-functioning lymphatic system is circulation. There are lots of ways to stimulate the manual drainage of the lymph and boost your overall immune system. Below are a few of our favorites.
Gua Sha - Gua Sha is an ancient practice derived from Traditional Chinese Medicine. The basics of Gua Sha entail using a flat tool (often made of semi-precious stone) to apply gentle or vigorous pressure to targeted areas of the body to achieve benefits. The health benefits are varied, but the practice is great at circulating blood and lymphatic fluid. For more info on Gua Sha and how to create your own at-home practice, check out one of our previous blog posts. Plus, our branded Gua Sha Stones are 50% off right now!
Dry Brushing - Increasing circulation speed of the lymphatic system decreases additional work for the body. And one of our core self-care routines, dry brushing, is perfect for doing just that. Use a lymphatic dry brush starting at your feet, then move upwards towards the heart in wide circular motions. Afterwards take a cool to cold shower to stimulate circulation and remove dry skin and apply moisturizing body oil afterwards on damp skin. (Our Rose or Cypress oils are perfect for this.)
Massage - Did you know there’s a specific massage just for the lymph nodes? Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage (MLD) is a gentle massage concentrated on the lymph vessels in order to stimulate the flow of lymphatic fluid. The gentle pressure applied around the lymph nodes helps “decongest” them, so to speak. This creates an easier flowing system, as well as an increase to the speed lymph fluid travels throughout the body. Certified massage therapists will be able to offer this service if they are qualified--be sure to ask in your area to find this modality.
Restorative Yoga or Light Stretching - The gentle, concentrated movements of these practices are great for circulation. Light stretching in particular is ideal for anyone with mobility that limits them from advanced yoga or heavy cardio exercise. Plus, incorporating these calming practices into your daily routine reduces stress and improves mood.
Hydrotherapy - Perhaps the most accessible suggestion on this list, increasing circulation can easily be incorporated into your daily shower. Hot water opens up (dilates) lymphatic capillaries, where the lymph fluid is distributed through the body. Cold water then constricts the same capillaries. Alternating between the two temperatures helps create a pump-like effect - ideal for the flushing lymphatic system. Read one of our previous blogs for more info on hydrotherapy.