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Stretching And Yoga To Detoxify The Lymphatic System

Did you know that detoxifying the lymphatic system helps you have more energy, healthier looking skin and better digestion? These are to just name a few. By simply using streching and yoga to detoxify the lymphatic system you can decrease inflammation and create a more productive you.

stretching and yoga for lymphatic drainage

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The lymphatic system gets waste products and toxins into the bloodstream so it can be filtered out of the body by the kidneys and liver. When it is backed up, these toxins and bad bacteria hang out in the body looking to cause harm.

I personally have problem with my lymph nodes getting backed up, especially in my neck region. I take proper care of them in order for them to best detoxify my system. Being aware of this in your own body will help you identify specific things to do to make you healthier.

There are specific stretches and yoga poses that will clear your lymph nodes and better your lymph flow. I notice a big difference in energy, mood and body pain with a well working lymphatic system.

We do not hear much about taking care of your lymph system. However, the benefits cannot be ignored. Often times lymphatic congestion can set your body back without you even being aware of it. Simple stretches and yoga will provide you with stress relief and help with detoxification of the body.

12 Signs of a backed up lymphatic system

  1. Swollen lymph nodes
  2. The backing up of fluid in the ear. Often times you will feel the ear plugging up and the part of the neck going up to the ear with feel "full" maybe even causing some irritation or slight ache.
  3. Swelling in extremeties
  4. Morning stiffness
  5. Limited range of motion in turning of head
  6. Stiffness in shoulders accompanied by occasional pain
  7. Skin rashes, acne, or irritations
  8. Shortness of breath
  9. Fatigue
  10. Frequent sore throats 
  11. Bloating
  12. Constipation
  13. Edema or swelling in body parts
  14. Headaches or pressure aches
  15. Brain fog
  16. Frequent or unexplained fatigue

Why Your Lymph System May be having trouble

Mold and Environmental Toxins

  • Mold and toxic chemical overload are both reasons the lymph system gets backed up. Your body may have genetic makeup that does not allow it to properly detox the mold and chemicals. 
  • Moldy environments and harmful chemicals from beauty and household products, pesticide use, off gassing from plastics, etc. create a overload on the body as well. This creates a backup of lymphatic fluid. In turn it prevents the immune system from properly dealing with bacteria and protecting the body from disease.

Chronic Stress

  • Stress that is not dealt with may become a problem for the lymphatic vessels as well. These vessels will not remove waste products and compromise your overall health.

Poor diet and lifestyle

  • Also, eating foods sprayed with pesticides and a seditary lifestyle of little activity will create stress on the lymphatic system.
  • Movement and activity helps the circulatory system and activates lymph fluid to move toxins to the bloodstream. Then the kidneys and liver are able to do their jobs.
  • Eating organic foods and foods that are not processed help with digestion creating fewer lymphatic blockages.

Stretches and Yoga Poses to help detox lymph system

#1  Deep Breathing 

deep breathing for lymph

Deep breathing, or specifically diaphragmatic breathing, is helpful for engaging lymphatic flow. The techniques focus on taking deep breaths into the belly and pushing out from the belly.

The breathing gets the lymphatic system pumping since it does not have a mechanism that automatically does it. Pressure is created with this type of breathing allowing stagnant fluid to get moving between the thoracic and abdominal cavities.

How To Perform:

  • This techniques can be done standing sitting or laying down on the floor.
  • You take a deep breath in for 4 seconds
  • Out for 6 seconds
  • With a 2 second pause in between the breath in and out
  • Placing a hand on the stomach to feel the stomach expanding is helpful as well

#2  Neck Rotation

Another simple yet effective exercise to add to your daily routine for lymph improvement is the neck rotation. This should be a gentle movement and performed slowly and carefully to avoid injury.

How To Perform:

  • Firstly, keep your chin parallel with the ground looking straight ahead.
  • You will turn your head slowly and intentionally to the right and hold for several seconds.
  • Then you turn your neck to the left and hold for several seconds.
  • It is best to turn the head to a comfortable position without extending it back too far.

#3  Neck Stretch

Another great way to stimulate the lymph nodes in the neck region is with the neck stretch. Focus on creating a very gentle pressure with each turn without extending the neck further than comfortable. The range will increase with daily practice.

How to Perform:

  • Stand or sit and look straight ahead with your chin parallel to the floor.
  • Fold the head slowly toward the right shoulder keeping your chin in line.
  • Hold for a few seconds 
  • Turn to orginal position
  • Repeat this motion on the left
  • Do this 5 to ten times exhaling with each fold of the head

#4  Shoulder Shrugs

Shoulder shrugs is one of the best ways to loosen up the neck and shoulder regions of the upper body. It is great for after working out with weights or spending a lengthy time at the computer. The gentle compression of shrugging the shoulders up relieves tension creating better lymphatic flow.

How to Perform:

  • Stand or sit and look straight ahead.
  • Simply lift both shoulders up towards the ears whlile taking a deep breath in
  • Hold for a few seconds
  • Then exhale while allowing the shoulders to come back to their original position. 

#5  Forward Fold

forward fold pose for lymph

The inversion of the forward fold is a good way to stimulate your lymph. It will begin moving harmful substances to be eliminated out of the body. It is a helpful yoga practice for blood flow and provides a great stretch as well.

How to Perform:

  • Stand on the floor with your feet firmly on the ground, toes pointed straight ahead
  • Raise your arms into the air
  • Bend at the hips and hinge forward until your head is down towards the floor lowering your arms down beside your legs
  • Make sure to exhale on the way down
  • Hold for several breaths or 5-10 seconds
  • Inhale and bring your body back up
  • Bring your arms back up straight into the air
  • Lower your arms back down beside your body with an exhale

#6  Bridge Pose

bridge pose for lymph flow

This yoga pose provides many benefits for the entire body and is a great way to promote lymphatic movement in the torso region. It also opens up the upper chest region which activates the movement of white blood cells in the thymus gland. It also creates better oxygen for movement of lymph.

How to Perform:

  • Lay on the floor and bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor.
  • Place your arms flat on the ground, palms facing down.
  • Slowly lift your abdomen and hips into the air creating a bridge with your body.
  • Leave your hands as is or clasp your hands together slightly tucking the shoulders back and down, whichever is more comfortable for you.
  • Hold this for 5-10 seconds and then lower back to the ground.

#7  Half Spinal Twist

half spine twist for lymphatic system

The half spinal twist is fantastic for stretching and relaxing the upper back and shoulder regions. Twisting detoxifies the connective tissue by activating the internal organs that help with chronic lymph blockage. This stretch feels wonderful and helps greatly with tension.

How to Perform:

  • Sit on the ground with your legs straight out 
  • Bend your right knee toward you with your foot flat on the floor
  • Turn toward your right knee
  • Hook your left elbow behind your right knee and place your right hand onto the floor behind you
  • Turn the body with a gentle twist until you feel a nice stretch in the upper shoulder and shoulder blade region

#8  Supine Spinal Twist

supine spinal twist for lymph

An excellent yoga pose that is one of my favorites for lymphatic stimulation is the supine spinal twist. This pose is great for flexibility, stretching to avoid injuries, and to get the internal organisms activated including the lymphatic vessels.

How To Perform: 

  • Lay flat on your back with your legs straight out
  • Bring your right knee up towards your chest stopping at your hip area
  • Place your left hand on your knee and slowly lowering it over your body resting it towards the left side (the knee should remain bent)
  • Stretch your right arm out to the side
  • Turn your head towards the stretched out arm
  • Breath in and out for several breaths before turning back to the starting position
  • Repeat with the other leg

#9  Downward Dog

downward dog for lymphatic flow

The popular yoga pose downward facing dog is also good for getting the lymph to flow. This is another inversion type of pose. The breathing and upside down bending benefitst the lymphatic and the digestive systems.

How to Perform:

  • Begin by coming onto all fours.
  • Knees should be shoulder width apart
  • Inhale prior to pushing back
  • Push back onto your toes extending your legs down into the ground. Touch your heals to the ground if you can, but only go back as far as is comfortable.
  • Exhale while you push back
  • Hold the pose for several breaths before coming back to normal

#10  Bow Pose

bow pose for lymphatic flow

Another yoga pose that opens up the abdominal and chest regions for better lymphatic drainage is the bow pose. The pulling up and back creates space and gives the body a nice stretch.

How to Perform:

  • Lay on a yoga mat flat on the floor, face towards the mat
  • Extend the right arm back grabbing ahold of the right foot
  • Then extend the left arm back grabbing ahold of the left foot
  • The back should bend and the chest should push upward and out
  • The legs should pull gently up off from the floor
  • Hold here for several breaths
  • Carefully lay your body back on the floor

#11  Legs Up the Wall

legs up the wall for lymph flow

Legs up a wall is a wonderful way to get lymph moving through the lymph vessels back to the heart. This is especially beneficial to people who suffer from edema in the lower extremeties. The lymph is pulled downward alleviating pressure and helping with the circulation of lymph.

How to Perform:

  • Lay on your back with your butt up against a wall and your legs straight in the air against the wall as well.
  • Use a towel under the hip region if it is more comfortable for you.
  • Rest here for several minutes before lowering the legs back down.

#12  Child's Pose

child's pose for lymph flow

Another yoga pose to add to your routine to help lymphatic drainage is the child pose. It gently stretches the upper back adding nice cirulation to the body.

How to Perform:

  • Sit on your mat with your bottom on your feet
  • Slide your knees apart further than shoulder width apart
  • While doing this, reach your arms out in front of you while sliding your lower body back
  • Do this until your bottom and arms are extended out in opposite directions with your head facing down towards the ground
  • Slowing inhale and exhale while feeling a nice stretch in the back
  • Rest here for 5-15 seconds before returning back to starting position

#13  Warrior Two

Warrior two is a type of lunge that activates the lymph nodes in the groin area. The gentle stretching stimulates flow and circulation. This is to be performed slowly and with care.

How to Perform:

The video below shows how to perform this yoga pose. The video provided below also shows this pose in their yoga routine for lymphatic drainage. Both are helpful videos.


#14  Sun Salutations

Lastly, sun salutations are very helpful for lymphatic drainage as well. These routines provide you with several stances and poses which focus on breathing and stretching. The lymphatic system beneficts greatly from this type of activity as well as other detoxifiying systems of the body.

I have included another video showing a 15 minute sun salutation routine for your viewing convenience. 

Complete Yoga Lymphatic System Routine

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References

  1. Li Y, Meng Q, Luo B, Li M, Fang J, Allred SR, Fu MR. Exercises in activating lymphatic system on fluid overload symptoms, abnormal weight gains, and physical functions among patients with heart failure: A randomized controlled trial. Front Cardiovasc Med. 2023 Apr 11;10:1094805. doi: 10.3389/fcvm.2023.1094805. PMID: 37113700; PMCID: PMC10126351.
  2. https://www.lipedema.net/exercise.html
  3. Douglass J, Mableson HE, Martindale S, Kelly-Hope LA. An Enhanced Self-Care Protocol for People Affected by Moderate to Severe Lymphedema. Methods Protoc. 2019 Sep 4;2(3):77. doi: 10.3390/mps2030077. PMID: 31487887; PMCID: PMC6789820.
 

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