Lymphatic drainage: The lowdown
Lymphatic drainage. It's a term thrown around almost as much as antioxidants and anti-ageing. But do we really understand what it means and what this system does within our bodies? Do we understand how it can benefit our wellbeing, our health and of course, our skin?
Many of us may not, so we thought it was time we dissect the whats of the lymphatic system, the whens of lymphatic drainage and the how and why lymphatic massage can positively impact the health of our skin when added to our daily skin practice.
Drain to maintain
The lymphatic system is an important part of our immune system. With lymph fluid that circulates throughout our body just like blood, it's the front line of defence in fighting infection, eliminating toxins and metabolic waste from the body. Often referred to as our body's “drainage system”, the lymphatic system circulates lymph fluid, a clear fluid containing powerful white blood cells that help to fight infection and filter toxins.
Lymph vessels drain this fluid from our body tissue and our lymph nodes work with our immune system cells to identify waste and detoxify as needed to help 'cleanse' and prevent infection. Unlike the circulatory system, which has its own organ - the heart - to pump blood, the lymph system does not have its own pump. It only circulates in one direction, relying on the movement of our muscles and diaphragm to boost circulation. So what can WE do to help our own lymphatic system perform well?
We are not one thing, but we are one.
Every single person has a lymphatic system, which means every single person has cellular waste and can benefit from lymphatic drainage. Where we differ comes down to how and where we accumulate our 'waste' and how it appears. This can come down to what we eat, how much alcohol we drink, how we move and simply, whether we are male or female.
Cellulite, for example, is common is 80-90% of women post-puberty but is rare in men. It is caused by a combination of fluid retention and an accumulation of trapped waste products and toxins in our body's fat cells. Cellulite tissues have decreased local circulation and lymphatic drainage and increased toxins in our fat cells, which can concentrate in areas beneath the skin. This is why it appears as dimpled skin.
Move it to lose it.
There are a few key rituals we can introduce daily to promote lymphatic drainage at a cellular level;
1. Self massage: Gentle massage in circular movements towards your heart helps to move lymph fluid and stimulate the detoxification process. This can apply to both your body and your face, but be sure to do this gently in more sensitive areas such as breast tissue and near your eyes. Our tip; try stimulating your senses as well as your skin by massaging your body with our soothing oil, Calm it, Baby, to enhance this process.
2. Dry body brushing: Daily body brushing before your shower or bath is a great way to stimulate the lymphatic system and the bonus is that it will also loosen and remove any dead skin cells to help skin regenerate. How we do: we recommend dry brushing daily followed by massaging our Motherlover body oil into skin to promote circulation and glow.
3: Exercice: One of the best ways to aid lymphatic circulation is by getting moving and one of the most beneficial ways to get moving is yoga. The practice of yoga incorporates both breathing and intense muscular contraction, both of which aid lymph circulation. Try incorporating poses that involve muscular contraction of the legs and arms and inverted postures, where your legs are above your heart, allowing gravity to help boost lymphatic circulation.
4: Breathing: We do it anyway, so why not utilise it and breathe with intention? When you incorporate deep breathing techniques into your daily rituals, the movement of your diaphragm assists lymphatic circulation, helping to detoxify and getting you glowing every day.
What a drainer.
Lymphatic drainage can be effective in helping to detoxify the body, enhance immune function, reduce swelling and fluid retention, improve skin tone and speed up injury healing time.
When done regularly, lymphatic drainage can help to relax the nervous system and aid the body's immune system, helping to fight even the most everyday afflictions, such as sore throats, colds, infections, on-going tiredness, excess fluids, weight loss and low immunity. A natural immunity booster for us all with the happy side effect of radiant skin? Umm, yes please.
A detox a day keeps dull skin away.
When handled gently, lymphatic drainage self massage can be a hugely beneficial part of our daily skin practice. At home or away, this technique can be done wherever we are, to keep our system healthy, eliminating toxins and performing at its best. Incorporate a little Motherlover or Calm it, Baby oil to boost skin cell regeneration and get ready to glow!
Images via: pinterest.com