By Heather Ann Petrie
Owner Inspirational Bodyworks
Sluggish, Sick, Over Weight and Tired? Why It's Important to Know About Your Lymphatic System!
Did you know, in your body, that everywhere you have a blood vein you have a lymphatic vein? We all know about the lymph nodes in our neck, arm pit, and groin, however you have 500 – 600 lymphatic nodes in your entire body and this includes the neck, arm pit, groin, chest and deep in the abdominal cavity. Your lymphatic system is your bodies waste removal system. It bathes our internal tissues then carries away our ‘garbage’ such as free radicals, toxins and cellular waste; it is also closely tied to your immune system and the removal or placement of fatty globules, as well as the main support for homeostasis in your body. Homeostasis is the balance of all of your body systems, including the circulatory system, endocrine system (in particular the liver) and even your hormones! There are actually three types of lymph drainage failure; the first a direct obstruction of a section of the lymphatic system as a result of lymphatic node pathology (disease) or lymphatic vessel disorders caused by parasites, accumulation of proteins and cellular waste. The second, a significant increase in the volume of extracellular fluid, which can be caused by some diseases, injury or surgery? The third which is the most common type of slowed lymphatic movement is general or everyday swelling or bloating and will be the main discussion of this article. When you have swelling in your lymphatic nodes you may also have inflammation in your entire body, or ‘water weight’. This is the lymphatic systems response to a sedentary lifestyle (lack of muscle movement, muscle tone or equal muscle balance) and toxins; including environmental, medicines and foods, disease; such as auto immune, cancer or diabetes, injury, surgery or infection. Yes if you’re not moving your body or moving it properly (correct posture) your lymphatic system becomes slow or stagnate, because you’re not moving it enough or in a healthy way to help your body help itself move or pump your lymphatic system. Or if you’ve ever put something toxic on (environmental toxins) or in your body (medications/foods) that later make you swell like a balloon, you were most likely having an inflammatory response and your body goes into a type of emergency mode to grab a hold of that ‘toxin’ and move it through the liver, stomach, gut and finally in to the lymphatic system for removal through your kidneys, intestines, sweat, and breath. In the words of Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman, leading nutrition guru and author of several books including her newest Fat Flush for Life; “So, what does this mean for your waistline?...Water logged tissues can cause your body to swell up to two sizes- weighing in with an extra ten to fifteen pounds-yikes!” In general if you’re consistently not moving or moving properly and putting things on your body, (you’re skin is you’re largest organ and of course absorbs what you put on it or walk in, or is in the air), or in your mouth that are toxic, food, coffee, alcohol, drugs, medications the lymphatic system can become over whelmed resulting in sluggish, stagnate and slow moving lymphatic fluid which throw’s off your body’s homeostasis! Our current life style is bombarded with thousands of toxins daily and the rate of disease is climbing at an alarming rate! When your lymphatic system becomes bogged down with its many functions to keep you healthy it will send you into a general state of ill health. According to Dr. Perricone , (*7 Secrets to Beauty, Health and Longevity), the Father of living an anti-inflammatory life style…” inflammation has now made it into the accepted list of causative factors in aging and disease.”
How do you get your lymphatic system cleaned up and moving? Through exercise, diet and detoxification such as specific supplements, colonics, lymphatic massage, Infrared Sauna, dry skin body brushing, ion foot spa, and cleaning up the toxins we are exposed to in our homes and environment.
All exercise moves the lymphatic system; however the exercise programs taught through Inspirational Body Works, invented by Teresa Tapp, was created in part to specifically stretch, pump and move the lymphatic system. The workout is the most efficient and effective workout you’ll ever do…the technique’s unique sequence of comprehensive, compound, muscle movements work the muscles layer by layer, from the inside out, to cinch in, tighten, tone and burn fat better. It’s not uncommon for students at IBW to become emotional from hormone or toxin release or sometimes a little wave of nausea to pass by; however we know that’s just our bodies letting go of toxic or hormonal build up! If you really want to get your body working well to shed excess weight and cellulite, start a detoxification program in conjunction with your fitness plan at IBW, such as getting a Lymphatic Drainage Massage!
What is Lymphatic Drainage Massage (LDM) and what are its benefits? Because our lymph completes a circuit only 6 times per day (3 – 4 liters) or less if stagnate, Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage assists the lymphatic system in draining and moving lymph to become more ‘fluid’ and will assist the body in moving up to 30 – 40 liters in one treatment. The technique is a gentle rhythmic massage that should be done in a specific sequence on the body working with the physiological flow of the lymphatic ducts, nodes and veins. Also, a rhythmic pumping is done to create a ‘pulsation’ or a mimic of lymphatic musculature contractions, (also increasing nerve transmission) to drain the large lymphatic vessels and support drainage of the lymphatic system.
Who will benefit from LDM? Anyone in general ‘good’ health who wants to attain greater health through detoxification, attain weight loss goals, reduce cellulite, reduce muscle aches and pain from every day activities or physical fitness (LDM hugely reduces lactic acid build up), have a healthier appearance and reduce bloating. Those who have had an allergic reaction, cold, flu, injury or any type of surgery LDM will decrease acute swelling, healing time, scaring and bruising. Even those suffering from more serious health issues such as chemo/radiation treatments, auto immune disorders such as multiple sclerosis, or type 2 diabetes, the list goes on…
Sources: Medical Massage I, Ross Turchaninov, M.D., Connie Cox; Dr. Perricone’s 7 Secrets to Beauty, Health and Longevity, Nicholas Perricone, M.D.; Fat Flush For Life, Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS; Fit and Fabulous in 15 Minutes, Teresa Tapp with Barbra Smalley