Perhaps you’ve heard your yoga or fitness instructor mention the importance of stimulating the lymphatic system to help move toxins out of your body. Sounds like a good thing to do, right? But, understanding why this is vital for a healthy long life, is both interesting and inspiring.
In short, your lymphatic system helps flush and remove toxins from your body. Toxins from the air we breathe, foods we eat, smoking, alcohol, drugs, household and personal cleansers even certain clothes we wear – all kinds of waste. There are hundreds of other toxic invaders; not nearly enough space to list all of them. When toxins become stagnant in our bodies, meaning they stay in our bodies and never leave – we get sick; sometimes very sick.
“I feel sick” can be your run of the mill symptoms; sluggishness, depressed mood, body aches, low energy, weakness and fatigue to those more serious; even life threatening diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, infectious diseases, auto-immune disorders and cancer. Poisonous visitors will take up permanent residence in our bodies unless we rid ourselves of them on a regular basis and take measures to keep them out in the first place. Imagine what your garage might look like if the garbage truck never showed up to remove the various waste containers weekly. Yuck!
How about when a friend or family member over stays their visit? The longer they stay the harder it is to get rid of them and their presence becomes increasingly stressful with every passing minute. Meanwhile our stress level mounts to the point of explosion or implosion – neither is good.
We need a plan; a sensible health strategy to help protect ourselves from common illnesses and hopefully avoid more serious and long term illness. A regular yoga practice, meditation or relaxation techniques and bouncing are wonderful options to support a healthy lymphatic system.
“Simple lifestyle changes can transform your lymph into a flowing, sparkling stream that cleans and drains the stagnant ponds of your body—strengthening your immune response and revitalizing your whole being.” Carrie Demers, MD, Holistic Physician
Bouncing and rebounding is one way to remove toxic waste; as it has a remarkable influence on detoxification of the body. Your lymphatic system works very hard by cleansing each cell and then pushing the waste out. Your lymph nodes are dependent upon exercise and movement for activation, without ample movement the garbage cells starve. They do not get the nutrients they need without sufficient stimulation.
Yes To Bouncing
Your lymphatic system helps to remove toxins from your body. You can assist your lymphatic system’s function through bouncing. A stability ball provides a supportive base for bouncing exercises without impact on the joints of your body. Exercise balls can be purchased at any sporting goods store or online and are inexpensive wellness tools.
If you’re worried about sagging skin from a little bit of bouncing – relax. Sound ridiculous? Many women will avoid activity that involves even gentle bouncing for fear it will promote skin elasticity loss resulting in more droop-age. This may be an issue for hard core runners, but a little bit of bouncing? Priorities.
Bouncing on a stability ball, rebounding-bouncing on a trampoline (they come with support bars too), jump-roping and elliptical type machines are optimal forms of exercise that stimulate your lymphatic system specifically to open lymph valves allowing toxins in our body to drain out.
Your lymphatic system depends upon exercise to help it eliminate toxins from your body. The lymph fluid cannot move on its own. It moves in relation to your body movements. Bouncing helps to open and close the one way valves of the lymph ducts to allow free flowing removal of waste. This is important because when toxins build up in your body you will have reduced energy levels and all kinds of potential health problems.
Bouncing, or rebounding, is likened to resistance training for your cells. As you move up and down, the cells respond to the changing gravitational pull by becoming stronger. Research shows that just two minutes of bouncing leads to an increase in white blood cell count for approximately one hour. This helps to boost your immunity.
The lymphatic system does not have its own pump, reminds Vitality Magazine. This is unlike your cardiovascular system which includes the heart to pump the blood around your body. There are three ways to promote the flow of lymphatic fluid: movement to provide muscular contractions; a change in gravitational pull on the body; and increase in internal stimulus on lymph ducts. Light bouncing on a stability ball will accomplish all three and improve fluid movement.
When bouncing on your ball, keep your feet in contact with the ground. You can add arm raises to the front and sides as you advance. Begin with one or two minutes and aim to not exceed five minutes during one session if your just getting started. However, you can repeat your bounce sessions throughout the day. The American Holistic Health Association suggests two to four times each day.
You can easily mimic a marching or jogging motion while bouncing on the ball. Begin with a bounce, and every time you rise up, lift an alternating knee in a marching motion. Bend your arms at at a 90-degree angle with your hands in fists, and move back and forth as if you were marching. Boost the intensity to a jog by increasing the speed of your knee lifts. Keep your core muscle engaged – squeeze your navel in and always sit up tall. Turn up your favorite tunes and go!
You can mimic downhill mogul skiing by beginning your bounce with your feet and knees close together. Jump your feet from the right side to the left side, as if you were skiing downhill. Position your arms on the opposite side of your feet, as if you were holding ski poles. Increase the intensity by lifting your feet higher off the floor as you move them from side to side. Hug your belly in and sit up tall for optimal support.
You can perform jumping jacks while seated on the ball. As you bounce, hop your feet out to opposite sides, then hop your feet together. Move your arms in and out in relation to your feet. You can also work one side at a time by moving the right leg and right arm out and in until you feel comfortable moving both feet at once.
As you bounce twist your hips and knees (feet must lift off the floor for this exercise) to one side and your torso and extended arms to the other.
Sit tall on your ball and rest your hands on your thighs. Press your feet firmly into the floor and lean slightly forward and look straight ahead. Begin with a small bounce; think….LIFT & LOWER. Hug your belly in and focus on smooth, rhythmic breathing! Bouncing on the ball will also improve balance, core and leg strength and get your heart pumping! Bouncing encourages a youthful edge and burns up calories and excess fat while eliminating unhealthy toxins from your body. So start bouncing…live better and have fun doing it!
All of the exercises I suggested can also be done on a mini trampoline; with or without shoes. Again, you will want a spotter close by until you get used to the routine.
How Does the Lymphatic System Benefit From Yoga Exercises?
According to Kreg Weiss, Kinesiologist and co-founder of My Yoga Online, Lymph fluid is not pumped through the body like blood, but is moved through the channels mostly by the contraction and massage of skeletal muscles. Yoga exercises that involve muscular contraction of the legs and arms are particularly effective in aiding the transport of lymph fluid.
Also beneficial to the lymphatic system are yoga postures that invert the legs and allow gravity to act on the lymphatic channels. From gentle leg inversions like Viparita Karani (legs up the wall) to more advanced inversions like Salamba Sarvangasana (supported shoulder stand), these inverted yoga poses use gravity to their advantage by stimulating the passive flow of lymph fluid and increasing the rate of drainage.
(Check with your doctor to be sure these postures are safe for you before trying them.)
Letting Lymph Flow
By fostering relaxation, a regular yoga practice can help keep the lymphatic system healthy. Research has shown that the lymphatic system is challenged whenever the body or mind is stressed. Achieving a deeper state of relaxation will have a positive impact on the system. So, practicing yoga keeps the fluid pumping through the body, rather than accumulating.
Kathryn Livingston, a breast cancer survivor is always on the lookout for tools to stay healthy and prevent cancer recurrence. In fact, one of the many reasons she practices Kundalini yoga is because the way it helps to strengthen and build the immune system – keeping it in tiptop shape.
“Several days ago, I came across a kriya, (a specific exercise set) for the lymph glands in the I Am A Woman manual (p. 189). I’ve practiced this kriya in classes several times, but need to remind myself to use it at home, too. This kriya opens the chest and keeps the lymphatic system flowing. The lymphatic system is essential for keeping us healthy and removing cancer cells from the body (in fact, the subtitle for this kriya is “Glands are the guardians of health.”)
Finally folks, choose to improve!
While we can’t control everything that happens to us, we can make healthy decisions everyday to support a healthy lifestyle. This will absolutely help keep waste build-up in our bodies and minds to a minimum and manageable.
In addition to flowing your lymph…here are three quick and easy ways to get started improving your over-all health.
1- Choose to take a break from your tech devices and take a walk for 30 minutes everyday.
2- Choose to sit quietly (eyes closed) for 5 minutes daily just to hear and feel your breathe; allowing yourself to calm down. Yes, meditate!
3- Choose to replace 1/2 of your fluid intake with plain ole water. For example if you drink 6 cups of coffee and 4 cans of soda everyday swap half of them for h2o!
I know you are going to feel great if you choose to improve!
FYI: When choosing a ball, correct size is important. To measure proper size, sit on a ball and look to see if your knees are in a straight line out from your hips. If your knees are too high, the ball is too small. If your knees are too low, the ball is too big. Always wear supportive shoes when bouncing on a stability ball to provide a supportive base. Use your stability ball in a clean, open space. The ball is an unstable surface, so begin bouncing with caution. Ask a friend or your personal trainer to stand next to you for moral support while your trying on your new bounce routine. Many stability balls today come with 2 -3 pounds of sand already inside to provide a more stable and secure base.