3. Deep Breathing
With each breath, we take in oxygen to feed our blood. However, the pressure and muscle stimulation of conscious deep breathing also promote lymph flow. There is much more lymph in the body than blood, so it’s important to push it along. Plus, pranayama yoga breathing exercises are very effective and have been shown to have many benefits for the body and mind (2).
4. Dry Skin Brushing
With a stiff dry natural bristle brush, gently brush the arms and legs toward the heart before showering in the morning to get your lymph flowing. Lymph ducts are located in the chest, so make sure to follow the proper movement.
Dry skin brushing also helps remove toxins excreted through the skin. External pressure followed by the warm shower stimulates flow from both outside and within and washes them down the drain.
5. Drink Water
Many of us don’t drink enough plain (filtered) water and since lymph is a fluid, it can become too thick in times of dehydration. Getting plenty of warm water and herbal tea helps keep everything in the body moving as it should, improving digestion and lymph flow in the process.
Lymphatic massage, whether performed by a trained therapist or on your own, is proven to facilitate flow and proper drainage (3). Additionally, since chronic stress can contribute towards a sluggish lymphatic system, massage can help reduce stress and muscle constriction (4).
Deficiency in this important nutrient is common and can be a sign of poor lymph flow and thyroid dysfunction. Dulse, Himalayan salt, mushrooms, and beets are exemplary sources of iodine to help your body rid itself of toxins.
8. Red Foods
The red pigment in pomegranates, cherries, red grapes, beets, berries, and other red foods contains phytonutrients including antioxidants that stimulate lymph.
9. Overall Diet
What you eat directly affects every cell in your body. Eliminating processed foods that are laden with synthetic chemicals and other toxins takes a tremendous strain off your lymphatic system. Food that contains genetically modified organisms and pesticides are considered foreign invaders by your body and what lymph can’t handle will remain, leading to illness and disease. Lymph will thicken with residual toxins, making it harder for your body push through to eliminate. Whole foods, with an emphasis on organic raw fruits and vegetables, provide the nutrients you need without the bad stuff. The Ayurvedic practice of eating seasonal fruit on its own is known to promote lymph health (5).
Maintaining a vibrant lymphatic system will help to prevent the development of cancer and other serious illness. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there; giving lymph the attention it deserves supports your immune system and delivers nutrients where they’re needed.