Jackie Buchanan is a Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) specialist at Katie Bell Physiotherapy & Wellness, she provides expert treatment to reduce and allow you to take control of your symptoms and return you to optimum health. Here she gives us the Lymph low down, facts and top tips:
- There are approximately 640 lymph nodes in your body, 160 of which are in your neck
- Lymph nodes are an essential part of your immune system
- Lymph nodes contain the majority of lymphocytes which fight bacteria and infection
- If vessels become blocked, your lymphatic system will be impaired
- Healthy lymph flow clears away cell debris and excess fluid from all parts of the body
- It’s your natural detox system that helps clean up after almost all of the other systems in the body
- Unlike the blood circulation, the lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump to move fluid around the body. It relies on muscular movement and the pumping action of deep breathing
- If the lymph system gets blocked or overrun, lymph fluid backs up.
- Lymph blockage can cause symptoms such as: Headaches and migraines, sinusitis, joint pain and arthritis, menstrual cramps, frequent cold and flu like infections, muscle cramping, tissue swelling, fatigue, depression/mood irregularities, digestive problems and breast tenderness.
Top tips to achieving a healthy, fully functioning lymphatic system.
- Keep lymph flow moving. Because lymph flow moves slowly, inactivity or lack of movement can severely restrict the flow. Regular lymphatic massage (especially around the abdomen, axillary nodes and breasts) can be great for maintaining lymphatic health.
- Hydration. Drink 6-8 glasses of water daily to keep body fluids running properly
- Making healthier food choices reduces the toxic burden on the body. Cutting down or avoiding processed food reduces the load through the lymphatic system.
- Deep breathing exercises stimulate the lymphatic system. Breathe from the diaphragm, not shallowly from the chest – this also relieves stress.
- Regular physical exercise on a daily basis is a great way to get the lymphatic system pumping. Anything from running to walking, Pilates, yoga, swimming etc. will all assist the lymph flow.
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