How would you describe the lymphatic system in the briefest terms?
The lymphatic system is a vast network of vessels throughout the body with many important functions. It maintains fluid levels by removing all fluids that leak out of our blood vessels into our tissues (now called lymph) and move them through the lymphatic system ultimately returning it to your bloodstream. The lymph nodes act as a sort of filter, removing toxins and producing cells and antibodies which protect our body from infection and disease. Unlike the cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system has no pump so it relies on movement and sometimes manual manipulation to move the lymph fluid.
What does a healthy lymphatic system look like?
The easiest way to determine a healthy lymphatic system is sort of an absence of the main indications of a poor or sluggish lymphatic system. A lack of water retention and puffiness in the face and body, lack of bloating, more energy, a strong immune system, good energy levels etc. However, even if you feel like you aren’t suffering from a sluggish lymphatic system it is still only beneficial to take care of it and keep it healthy.
What are its limitations and why do we often need to support it / rev it up?
Unlike the cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system has no pump so it relies on our movement and sometimes manual manipulation to move the lymph fluid. Poor lymph flow is also often genetic and requires more intervention to maintain a healthy lymphatic system,
Stress, toxins, air and water pollution, lack of physical activity as well as consumption of inflammatory foods can all place more pressure on the lymphatic system. It is really important we support it all the time because it is an important cleansing and anti-inflammatory mechanism which is important for our immune system and overall health.
What are the symptoms of a sluggish lymphatic system for both the face and body?
The main symptoms of a sluggish lymphatic system are:
Swelling or puffiness in the body, particularly in the fingers, feet, and face
Cellulite (or the appearance of cellulite due to water retention)
Feeling stiff and sore when you wake up in the morning
Cold hands and feet
Weight fluctuation and gain
What, in your opinion are the best treatments / methods / products (both at home and in clinic) to treat the lymphatic system right now?
The best advice I have for taking care of your lymphatic system is consistency. There is no one treatment that can fix it, it is something that should be done constantly to prevent build up of toxins and inflammation. So the most important thing is finding a treatment or approach which works for you and that you will keep doing.
In clinic, regular manual lymphatic drainage massages are fantastic as well as compression therapies such as Body Ballancer. Any treatments with antioxidant properties such as seaweed wraps are also wonderful.
At home, regular exercise and movement are very beneficial. Dry brushing, cupping, and self-massage can all be done at home on a regular basis (use upwards strokes and circular movements on joints, stomach and chest) to support lymph flow. I also recommend cold and hot showers and lying on the floor with your legs at a 90 degree angle as simple ways to support your lymphatic system.
Good products for lymphatic system support externally are anything with antioxidant properties. Supplements for internal support such as our Cellulite Slayer Lymph Drainage supplements are also great, and eating a balanced diet that avoids inflammatory foods. The main thing is an ongoing focus both inside and out on maintaining lymphatic system health.