There’s not a celebrity or wellness expert out there that isn’t currently lymphatic drainage obsessed... But why?
From toning muscles to detoxifying the body, the claims surrounding lymphatic drainage are nothing short of convincing. To help you navigate fact from fiction, this week on Wellness Wednesday we’re bringing all the expert knowledge from the topic to you.
Curious? Let’s dive straight in.
BUT FIRST… WHAT ARE LYMPHATICS?
Before we explain lymphatic drainage, we must first discuss lymphatics in general.
Described as a “subsystem” of the circulatory system, your lymphatics run around the entire body somewhat paralleling blood vessels and supporting immunity. Made up of a whole network of vessels and nodes, the fluid that runs through your lymphatics is (very fittingly) known as lymph!
So what is inside lymph?
Lymph is a colourless fluid that contains a mix of water, fats, salts, glucose, proteins, and white blood cells - aka the infection-fighting squad. The main function of lymph is to eliminate toxins, pathogens, and waste from the body, travelling in one direction only - towards the heart. Now you know when you’re told not to pop a blister, but do it anyway? Well, the clear liquid that oozes out is lymph!
THE “PAC-MAN” OF THE IMMUNE SYSTEM…
Wondering how on earth this water-like substance fights off anything? Let us explain.
Taking you right back to your days at the local arcade, white blood cells (aka WBCs) found in lymph are essentially the Pac-Man of your immune system. They more or less view bacteria, pathogens, and toxins the same way that Pac-Man viewed his snack pellets - with determination!! The WBCs in lymph work by gobbling up all these unwanted products in the body to undergo elimination.
This is where lymphatic drainage comes in...
LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE 101
With toxins and harmful bacteria at every turn, you can imagine our lymphatic system gets pretty overworked from time to time. Lymphatic drainage is said to speed-up this process by supporting the natural detoxification process of your system.
Signs that may indicate lymphatic congestion:
Compromised immunity & frequent sickness
Swelling & fluid retention
Cellulite & stretch marks
Dry or itchy skin
Tiredness & fatigue
Cold extremities (hands & feet)
Unexplained weight gain
HOW TO: DRAIN YOUR LYMPHATICS … THE MODERN WAY
Traditionally just used as a lymphatic drainage massage, nowadays, you can try out this super trend in every weird and wonderful fashion.
Certified lymphedema therapists use long, light-pressured, rhythmic strokes to physically aid the lymphatic drainage process.
2. Gua Sha
Used on the face and entire body, the gua sha is specifically shaped to get deep into all your body’s nooks & crannies so that it can help eliminate congested lymph. Always move towards the heart when doing this yourself.
Ready for your at-home lymphatic drainage session? Get your Gua Sha on here.
3. Jump on a trampoline … and no, we’re not kidding
Exercise at large is known to move lymph, but the trusty trampoline is said to do it best. The rapid up and down movement will get even the most stubborn lymph moving again. No wonder kids bounce back from being sick so quickly, right??
4. Dry body brushing
Ancient folk used this technique long before Pinterest had anything to say about it, and you know why - because it works a treat. Especially useful for skin-associated lymphatic issues, when using a body brushwork always towards the heart for 5-10 minutes a day.
Don’t have a body brush yet? We’ve got you covered. Grab yours now.
5. Breathe out for 3...2...1…
Breath experts claim that when the body does not breathe properly, it does not work properly… and this goes for your lymphatic system as well. Slow, deep inhalations and exhalations may actually help “pump” lymph around the body. So, lady, it’s time you slow down and zen out - for a minute.
6. Compression pumps
Although the resemblance to Michelin man is uncanny, this technique is actually not a Halloween costume. Excellent for lymphoedema, you can purchase one of these compression pumps for anywhere between $100-$1000 (*jaw drops dramatically*). Now we don’t know about you, but to us, the gua sha or dry brushing technique seems pretty good right about now.
What are the benefits?
Boost immunity to fight off bacteria and infections
Reduce lymphoedema (which is just the fancy term for lymphatic swelling & fluid retention) - usually occurring around the arms and legs
Speed up metabolism and digestion
Minimise the appearance of stretch marks and cellulite
Cleanse skin to help clear pores and acne spots
Help balance hormones
Aid recovery and tissue regeneration post-surgery
Now with a list of benefits like that, we think we’re finally starting to understand the “cult-like” lymphatic drainage obsession. In fact, we’re completely converted… will this wellness trend be making it into your routine? Be sure to let us know.