Lymphatic Literacy

There’s no better tool to research your health than sensation, which is why in 2010 the idea of Nia as a sensation science came to me when reading the book, Proust was a Squid, by Marianne Wolf. Her book focuses on what she calls “the reading brain.” Inspired, I began to question, “What does it mean to have a reading body? This led me to coin the term body literacy to mean what one can gain by learning to read and interpret the messages of the body. Knowing how the subjective investigation of one’s personal health and potential is always explored through movement and physical sensation, I realized even more the importance in becoming a sensation scientist; a person who day-to-day examines the phenomenon of becoming and staying fit, healthy, powerful and beautiful by developing self-knowledge through the awareness of sensation.

In 2010 I began an in-depth course called “Becoming A Sensation Scientist,” beginning with breath and awareness of all the senses, parts, and organs of the body, supported by exciting monthly archived teleconference calls to help people integrate the specific lesson into a body, life, and exercise regime. This month the topic for the course: Becoming a Sensation Scientist is Awareness of the Lymphatic System - Sensing Vitality. LISTEN - Lymphatic System Telecourse

Do you know you have an amazing drainage system, called the lymphatic system? Do you know it’s not only the flow of blood, but the flow of a colorless fluid called "lymph" that’s important to sustaining a healthy body clear of toxins and waste? Do you know you can optimally function and prevent the build-up of excess fluids, proteins, unwanted cells, and toxins by keeping lymph fluid flowing?

The lymphatic system includes a network of tissues, organs, and fluid whose primary function is to help rid the body of toxins, waste, and unwanted materials. It does this by way of lymph, the clear, colorless fluid that contains white blood cells. Lymph is transported through the lymphatic system, a secondary circulatory system that works along with the cardiovascular circulatory system. Your body’s tonsils, adenoids, spleen, thymus, lymph vessels, lymph nodes, and lymph fluid all work together to prevent the build-up of excess fluids, proteins, unwanted cells, and toxins. While the cardiovascular system relies on your heart to keep things moving, the lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump. It relies on you moving to keep your body’s lymph flowing and your body optimally functioning. 

The word lymphatic comes from the Latin word lymphaticus, which means, "connected to water.” Unlike blood that flows throughout the whole body, lymph flows within its own system, up through the subclavian veins located on either side of the neck near your collarbones. The right drainage area of this system handles keeping your right arm and chest healthy, and the left drainage area keeps all other areas of the body healthy, including both legs, the lower trunk, upper left portion of your chest, and left arm. By making some simple changes, you can help support a healthy lymphatic system.

Everything you do and put in your body counts. Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” I say, “Let exercise and food be thy medicine.”

Each day, add movement, drink enough water, and eat healthy foods to support an internal alkaline environment. Foods like lemons, garlic, green tea, cabbage, artichokes, fresh fruit, watercress, and brown rice are excellent. Most of all, learn to listen to your body’s warning signs that something is wrong.

  • Extreme weight loss
  • A consistent fever and night sweats
  • Itchy skin
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Chest pain, coughing and/or trouble swallowing
  • Swollen lymph nodes, swelling in the neck, gut, armpit and/or groin
  • Malformation in your mouth and/or cheeks
  • Drink Water: Supply your lymph system with a constant supply of fluid and rehydrate your body’s cells by the proper amount of water for your weight and life style.
  • Sweat: It is important to keep your body’s sweat glands unblocked. Avoid antiperspirants with aluminum.
  • Take regular baths with fresh ginger and Epsom salts.
  • Reduce Stress: Take time to relax, breathing in and out through the nose, creating a more alkaline environment for your body’s cells. Cortisol, the body’s stress fighting hormone, is acidic. It does not drain well in an acid environment; it needs an alkaline environment to flow and function properly.
  • Stimulate Movement: One of the best things you can do to help move the body’s lymph fluid is breathe deeply and make sound to stimulate the body’s rib cage, since the core of the body is a major lymph pump that takes waste out of your body’s intestinal track. Two of the best forms of movement are rebounding and Nia. Bouncing on a mini trampoline and engaging in Nia’s rhythmic dynamic movement helps the lymph fluid from becoming sluggish and from stagnating.
  • Clean Your Colon: If your bowels aren’t working regularly, your lymph system will back up! Adding roughage to your diet and drinking plenty of water can help to kick start the movement of waste and toxins.   
  • Eat Alkaline Foods: It is important to clean up your diet by eliminating processed foods, excessive salt, meat, and fried foods. Eat more berries, beets, and greens.
  • Lymphatic Massage and Dry Brushing: Treat yourself to a lymphatic massage to help promote the movement of lymph fluid. Brush your skin with a dry brush to get lymph fluid moving. Use long brush strokes on arms and legs going up and toward the heart.