HOW COULD WE IMPROVE OUR LYMPH SYSTEM?
I just read a book about habits and how they impact our lives. Small shifts can make big changes and have a profound effect on our lives. What small changes could we make to have a profound effect on our lymphatic system? Improving our lymph system and therefore improving our overall health?
“Atomic Habits” by James Clear explains how small changes can create remarkable results in our lives. He stresses the importance of atomic, small changes, rather than a big dramatic change. He explains how most of us go for the big changes, as we want results and we want them now. This rarely works. Throughout the book he gives countless examples of how small shifts in the direction we go can have profound effects on our goals.
This book not only gave the why, but also the how in changing our habits to improve the quality of our lives. Linking new habits to old was one of my favorites. Suppose I would like to do some stretching exercise before I go to bed, but never seem to work it into my nighttime routine. I would link it with another habit that was already established such as brushing my teeth. So that every time I brushed my teeth I would remember to do a few stretches. Eventually it would become so part of my routine that it would feel off if I didn’t stretch at night before I went to bed.
SMALL CHANGES TO IMPROVE YOUR LYMPHATIC SYSTEM
What atomic habits could we instill in our daily routine to improve our lymph system? Deep breathing is probably one of the easiest ones. Moving our body even in small ways also helps to get that lymph moving. Drinking water helps to improve our lymph system and helps to maintain our body weight. Wearing loose clothing so that we don’t restrict our circulation and our lymph system from flowing. These are all small steps to a better working lymphatic system.
Deep, diaphragmatic breathing is one of the easiest ways to move lymphatic fluid through your system, which in turn helps to eliminate toxins and benefit lymphedema. Unlike the circulatory system, the lymphatic system has no active pump to move the lymphatic fluid back into the bloodstream.
Breathe deeply in through your nose and hold for four counts, then exhale through your mouth for two counts. As you get better at this, you can increase the time, exhaling for twice as long as inhaling. This rhythmic breathing brings oxygen to the blood and activates the lymphatic system.
MOVING YOUR BODY
We know through research that exercise helps move lymphatic fluid through our lymph system. When we move our body, we move our lymph! The lymph system is designed to work with your muscles and your circulatory system to remove waste and clean your body’s systems. Therefore, when you move those muscles, you’re enabling your lymph system to function at a higher level.
Even simple actions like rocking your foot back and forth can help improve lymphatic flow. Do you enjoy rocking in a rocking chair or taking a stroll through the park? Both will help to stimulate your lymph system. Exercise, even small movement, does benefit those dealing with lymphedema.
There is much research that supports the idea that weight management can improve lymphatic flow. There are many different theories on which diets work best. One small step to improve weight management is drinking more water. Drinking water is one of the simplest ways to improve our health and can also contribute to losing weight. It is recommended that we drink half our body weight in fluid ounces each day. Water helps to flush out our system as well as ease hunger.
Small steps in the right direction can make a big difference in quality of life for all of us. Those living with lymphedema have many challenges to deal with. Instilling new habits can help you manage your lymphedema and hopefully improve the quality of your life. Consistency is key and results will come if you stay the course.
Only you have the power to make your health a priority. You are worth it.
Disclaimer – This blog is for general information purposes only. Furthermore, information contained in this blog is not a substitute for medical advice – always consult a licensed healthcare professional for advice on your specific condition.