If you have been scoping out the Dallas wellness scene for some time, you have probably heard of the collection of “luxury” and therapeutic treatments with the word, “lymphatic” in the title. Therapies like “Lymphatic Massage” and “Lymphatic Cupping” techniques have become all the rage in Dallas and they are not inexpensive either. So what is the deal and are they worth it?
Let us first start with the basic definition of “lymph.”
Lymph is a clear-ish liquid in your tissues and bloodstream that has passed out of the blood and into the tissues. Lymph is composed of white blood cells and fluid from the intestines. The goal is to keep this lymph moving, ideally, returning lymph from the tissues, back into the bloodstream where it can continue to help fight off pathogens and help transport nutrients, hormones, toxins, supplements, etc.
The Lymphatic System is the network of these tissues, vessels, ducts and organs that work together to keep the lymph moving— kind of like your body’s own drainage system. This system is incredibly important, as a healthy lymphatic system protects the body from foreign invaders, viruses and bacteria, while also regulating fluid levels in the body and absorbing fat and protein molecules from the intestines.
We are usually only aware of our lymphatic system when our lymph nodes become swollen, most commonly associated with the uncomfortable feeling behind our ears, around our neck. These lymph nodes appear throughout the body, but also in more concentrated “clusters” in specific areas like: the neck, armpit, breast area, and groin. The nodes create immune cells that attack invaders from damaging the body’s major organs. When an area where these clusters swells, it is a sign that the body is fighting off an infection, or “invader”.
Unlike the heart, the lymphatic system does not have a pump to filter lymph throughout the body, so it relies on gravity, movement and touch. When lymph fluid becomes stagnant, the immune system becomes compromised, areas of the body can feel heavy, swollen and uncomfortably puffy and the skin can noticeably suffer.
While these more focused techniques can feel like luxury treatments for some, for those with compromised immune systems, auto-immune, a history of Lyme’s Disease, or those that are pregnant, sedentary, or even on a pharmaceutical prescription, such as prednisone, a lymphatic massage can be game-changing.
There are many different lymphatic techniques but the overall appeal of a lymphatic massage is to move lymph in the direction of the nodes, so that it can be properly drained.
If you are not immune compromised, why bother?
Dallas loves a good lymphatic massage because it can effectively help to reduce water retention, de-puff and created a more chiseled and toned appearance. Who does not want that?
While I wholeheartedly support regular lymphatic therapies and techniques, there are other, more cost effective methods to supporting the lymphatic system on a daily basis. Exercise and eating a diet rich in whole, plant-based foods, naturally rich in water and fiber can help to stimulate lymph on an on-going basis.
You do not need an intense cardio session to stimulate the lymph. Walking and avoiding sitting for too long can not only stimulate the lymph but also improve digestion.
Investing in a small trampoline, or “rebounder,” for your home and office is a great way to support the lymphatic system. Try lightly bouncing for 5 minutes, 5 times a day. Set a timer, turn on your favorite television show, or movie and make a game of it. In addition to movement, dry brushing your skin in the direction of the clusters of nodes and drinking enough pure water are also pertinent to maintaining a healthy Lymphatic System. To maintain and support the body in elimination, aim for half your body weight in ounces and try starting your day off with at least 16 ounces of fresh, room temperature water. As I often tell my clients, it is the little things we do every day that make the biggest impact.
Questions or comments? Shoot me an email! –> Lauren@lauregillan.com