March 1, 2018
Move your LYMPH. Your what? Your lymph! A critical ‘to-do’ for glowing skin and optimal wellness!
But would we ever recommend a new to-do that you can’t manage amongst your already vast task list? Nope, we would absolutely not.
But first, the quick, hard facts:
WHAT’S LYMPH? Think of your lymphatic system as a crazy large network of vessels that’s in contact with almost every part of your body. It carries lymph, a fluid who’s key roles are to deliver nutrients to the cells and bring cellular waste to the bloodstream in prep for elimination. It’s a key detoxification pathway for toxins introduced externally (via that toxic red lipstick you threw out last month and swapped out for this at Shop Good!) and internally (via metabolic waste). Just because we don’t see or feel it, doesn’t mean our lymph shouldn’t have our attention.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE DON’T MOVE THE LYMPH? Unlike our blood, the lymph doesn’t have a pump. It counts on us to move it around, and when its stagnant, it can compromise our immune system and become overburdened with toxins. When the lymph is backed up, you can see symptoms like:
- Swelling of the fingers or puffy eyes
- Brain fog
- Digestive issues
- dry/patchy skin
- Excess weight or development of cellulite
- Chronic fatigue
- Cold hands and feet
- … the list can go on.
OK, SO WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE LYMPH IS MOVING EFFECTIVELY?
- Youthful, clear skin
- Boosted immune system
- Increased circulation
- Less water retention
- Reduced Inflammation
- Improved stress management capabilities
- Clearer thinking
- Stronger defense against bacteria and mold
- Better sleep
- …the list can go on here as well.
Got it. How do we keep this VIP bodily system moving, grooving and draining? Not going to lie, exercise is key here. But we know some early AM’S or post-9-to-5 plans may not always include hitting the gym or putting tennies to the streets. We’ve put together 8 simple, multitasking, low-effort and mostly free techniques to keep your lymphatic system slow dancing all day long.
Drink to Activate. Herbal teas are a safe and effective way to call the lymph into movement and are known to help cleanse lymph fluid. Red Clover is known to help increase lymph flow and support detoxification. Ginger acts as a “natural scrub” of the intestines and a boost to the lymphatic system as a whole. Other lymph movers and shakers are cleavers, goldenseal, indigo root, astragalus and fenugreek. Drink a few cups a day of your herbal tea of choice for best results.
Shrug your Shoulders. Can’t take a walking break at work? Some quick shoulder work serves as a great shortcut! It’s a simple action you can do at your desk to fire up that good lymph flow, whenever. Inhale while drawing up both shoulders to your earlobes, and as you exhale, bring your shoulders back to neutral. Do this five times.
Breathe Deeply: When we take cleansing breaths, we not only act as the pump for the lymph, but we support it in clearing out toxins from the body.. To ensure a true cleansing breath, forget breathing shallowly into the chest (leads to constant lymphatic congestion). Instead, breathe into the belly by filling it with air for 4 seconds, hold it for 7, and on the outbreath, watch the belly deflate while you blow air out through the mouth for 8 seconds. Do this just 5 to 10 times for lymphatic activation, again, wherever, whenever! Winning: do this ten times, three times per day. Tony Robbins and Dr. Andrew Weil would be pleased!
HYDRATE. Sorry, you thought you were getting away without us shouting about hydration. Since lymph is made primarily of water, the lymph fluid can become sticky and stagnant without optimal hydration. An interesting technique we found (aside from just plain old drinking water throughout the day…) is challenging yourself to take sips of hot water every 15-20 minutes throughout your day. This lymphatic rehydrating technique is known to stimulate lymphatic drainage and relieve symptoms of a sluggish immune system.
Brush Your Skin! One of our most glorified self-care rituals that takes 2 minutes and a $10 investment in our favorite brush we own. Dry brushing exfoliates the skin by sloughing off dead skin cells, brighten and clears the skin’s appearance, energizes the body, decreases stress, lifts brain fog and improves digestive activity. Carve out just 1-2 minutes right before your shower. Use light pressure while beginning at your feet and using circular motions to brush your skin, moving up towards your heart.
See our Holistic Estheticians for a Lymphatic Drainage Massage at Shop Good. Activating the lymph via massage helps more rapidly move our toxic waste out of the body, helps reduce swelling and inflammation, and supports faster cellular turnover and tissue regeneration after surgery or injury. We will work to send the fluid flow in the right direction, focusing on areas of stagnation and inflammation. Yes, this one takes a bit more time and planning, but we can’t tell you how critical it is to carve out time for some pampering and TLC! Choose the 75 minute facial to receive the royal lymph treatment. Can’t come to our wellness spa? See here for a DIY version.
Use Clean Products. A no-brainer at Shop Good, but whenever you are in the process of swapping out for clean ingredients in your skincare and beauty arsenal, know that additional toxins layered upon your skin are then absorbed into the bloodstream (about 65% of them!). This toxic intake adds to the workload of the lymphatic system, and can make it harder for your body to process the overload of toxins. Plus, think about what you may be slathering on your skin every single morning, over and over again. This exposure adds up! Want support here? San Diegans know where to go.
These varied and simplified ways of getting things going can end up making a huge difference in our toxic load aka you may receive comments such as “Your skin is glowing!” and “Tell me your secret!” Now, as the lymph experts you are, what ways are you committed to moving today? Comment below or join in on the conversation here!