What is lymph? Lymph is the clear colorless liquid that is between nearly all the cells of your body. It is the liquid seen with different kinds of swelling, such as a sprained ankle or often around the ankles in people with heart or kidney conditions. The lymph drainage system is a series of collecting tubes and filters (lymph nodes) that drain the lymph back into the blood vascular system. If this system stops functioning, a person could die within 24 hours. For this reason it is very important to understand how this system works and what you can do to improve its function in your body.
Your body depends on the lymph drainage system to remove proteins, waste products and toxins that collect between the cells of your tissues. Your body also depends on this system to trap and dispose of foreign matter, such as bacteria and viruses. When you have a swollen lymph node in your neck you know that the lymph drainage system is working to kill the bacteria or virus that is making you sick.
When the lymph system gets really sluggish people start getting sick and feeling run down. Often people will have sinus problems, ear infections, pneumonia, or bronchitis that seems unexplainable. A book by Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer called “Dressed to Kill,” explains that stopped up lymph drainage from wearing brassieres is linked to breast cancer. Certainly something you want to avoid.
The following are five ways you can increase the function of your lymph drainage system:
- One of the most important is exercise. Muscle contraction and increased depth of breathing during exercise is what pumps and moves the lymph, so do exercises that move all your muscles like swimming or walking.
- Second is to drink water. The general rule is to drink one liter of water for every fifty pounds of body weight.
- Third is to avoid wearing articles of clothing that are too tight, such as bras, socks or belts. Loose fitting clothing is the best.
- Fourth is to have regular massages. Massage helps to pump the lymph and keep it moving. Many massage therapists learn to do specialized Lymph drainage massages, which are highly recommended.
- Fifth is to avoid toxins such as cigarettes and alcohol.