Body Wise: Lymph

Lymph, also known as intercellural fluid, is a liquid that keeps your cells hydrated and engulfs pathogens.

Your lymphatic system is what keeps lymph moving: from your tissues to lymph nodes located all over your body.

Now why should we be interested in this?

The main function of lymph nodes is to identify and fight infection. The kidney-shaped nodes are like little washing machines.

It is in the lymph nodes where infectious pathogens and harmful waste is filtered, before lymph flows on, and eventually makes its way back to the bloodstream to be cleansed.

The lymphatic system is not only a key detoxification pathway in your body but keeping your lymph moving is essential for maintaining good health. If your lymph does not flow, toxins and waste build up and make you sick.

Think about what happens to a river that does not flow but sits still in nature. It loses its spark. It becomes cloudy. The diversity of plants and animals around it gets poorer.

It is the same thing with your body. Keeping blood and fluids flowing is essential to wellbeing.

It is not like we are somehow very dirty inside, though. Waste builds up through being alive – breathing, drinking, eating, moving your body, thinking – and your body is designed to discard it.

Along with metabolic waste and damaged proteins, the lymph system tackles viruses, bacteria and foreign particles introduced from the outside, from food, air, cosmetic products, and so on.

The lymphatic system does not have a pump, like the heart. Instead, lymph flows by the movement of the muscles and joints, and the flow can be sluggish for various reasons.

One of the most common causes of lymph congestion is dehydration. Other causes might be a poor diet, static movements, stiff muscles, too tight-fitting underwear or clothes, and chronic stress.

Ten easy ways to support and improve the flow of your lymph:

Jumping on a trampoline
Keeping hydrated
Following a wholesome diet high in vegetables
Light stretching to ease knotted muscles
Moving your body
Dry body brushing
Turning upside down
Dry cupping
Hot and cold treatments