The lymphatic system is central to our immune health. It both transports white blood (immune) cells and anti-bodies around the body and clears away cellular waste products and excess fluids.
This amazing network of vessels, ducts and nodes, unlike the blood circulatory system, has no heart or pump to keep it flowing and working.
So that’s where we can help.
Both muscle activity and deep diaphragmatic breathing can help to stimulate the pumping of lymph fluid through this vast system. This means that sluggishness can be avoided and the lymphatic system has the best chance of clearing and protecting our bodies.
Lymph fluid relies on movement and the contraction of your muscles to make it flow. This could be in the form or walking, gentle jogging, swimming, home exercise routines, yoga/stretch routines or any sports.
And the mid part of the lymphatic system relies on the strong movement of the diaphragm to stimulate its pumping action. That’s why taking 5-10 minutes a couple of times a day to deep breathe – into the bottom of your lungs with full exhilation – has been found to improve immune system activity.
It is thought that deep breathing, right into your belly, slowly, breathing out fully, also oxygenates your body tissues more successfully. And as an extra benefit, it can help settle the nervous system, lowering the stress hormone ‘cortisol’.
If you have good upright posture, with your ribs soft and open and your spine straight, this gives the diaphragm more room to fully move. And it combats the restricting action of slumping forward at a desk or on a device for example.
Give yourself the gift of exercise you enjoy, a good daily stretch and a bit of me-time to deeply breathe with good posture… It’s simple self care, no gym membership needed.