Do you know what lymph and lymph nodes are?
Lymph is a fluid from our vascular system. Think of it a bit like a drainage system that goes all through the body.
You have high pressure in the arteries which take blood from the heart to the body. You have a lower pressure in the veins as that blood is returned to the heart. That difference between the pressure in vs pressure out will leave behind fluid, and the lymphatic system is there to drain that fluid.
Lymph nodes are also part of our immune system. As the fluid passes through the lymphatic system, the lymph nodes will detect if the fluid is infectious and will try to “kidnap” that infection and kill the intruder – this is why lymph nodes can become hard and swollen. Tonsillitis is a classic example.
There are also lymph nodes in the gut, and they absorb essential fats and fat-soluble vitamins from the digestive system and send them into our blood stream.
If the lymphatic system is blocked in any way such as lymph nodes having been removed or a chronic infection going on, the drainage system becomes plugged with fluid and the area becomes swollen. This is known as lymphoedema.
So, we want a healthy turnover of lymph and to keep it flowing as this helps get our important fats and helps the immune system stay alert and protect us.
The best way to keep lymph flowing is through movement.
This can be as simple as walking. If you are limited in your mobility for any reason, then just adding in a few more steps, even 10 steps, is a start. Remember it’s about small, achievable changes.
Other options include mini trampolines/rebounders, vibrational plates, hot/cold therapy and hydrotherapy (please talk to your physician about these before embarking on a programme). But the cheapest and easiest option is simply to move your body. Make it fun – go on a walk with a friend or listen to your favourite podcast. Put on your favourite song and dance for a couple of minutes. Even just roll your ankles each way a few times while you’re resting on the sofa. Even the smallest change is a step in the right direction!
Wishing you health and happiness,