by Nikki Jongedyk – Remedial Massage Therapist

When it comes to our immunity, my target as a Remedial Massage Therapist is the Lymphatic System (LS). The LS assists the body in ridding it of any harmful bacteria and proteins. To support a healthy lymphatic system there are 3 things you need to do:

Skin health – arguably the most important organ in our body; it is the first line of defense against anything that is potentially harmful. The lymphatic system collects proteins from interstitial space, so it works close to the surface of the skin. Make sure you wear long sleeves and protective clothing when working in the garden/outside, apply sunscreen and organic lotions that keep your skin hydrated and healthy. This will give your LS the support it needs and keep your immunity strong. 

Exercise and breathing – the lymph system loves the support of movement; it helps the lymphatic collectors (little vessels that collect and pump towards the lymph nodes) work more efficiently. Exercise could be as simple as walking, some gentle squats or bicep curls. You don’t need to be running marathons to support your immune health, just simple movement is effective. 

Deep diaphragmatic breathing is the most effective way to increase the lymph flow where the pressure changes close to the heart; which is the final journey of the lymph before it enters the subclavian veins. Deep breaths before exercise (or at any time throughout your day) will help stimulate the LS and assist in clearing waste and keeping it running optimally.

Massage – while there are specialized lymphatic drainage massages available, you can self-massage at home to assist your LS. This involves deep breathing (as stated above) to kick start your Cysterna Chyle. This is the collecting station that sits at the base of the Thoracic Duct and filters the collected metabolic waste, harmful cells, etc. so clean lymph fluid can pass via the heart and enter the system again. Our superficial lymph nodes collect and filter lymph fluid on their way to the Cysterna Chyle.

Our nodes love the assistance we can offer them to help filter the waste collected by the extremity that sits below them.  Clearing your nodes with large, gentle strokes helps ‘empty the bucket’ so your LS can drain more effectively and support your immune system. The main locations are at your underwear line (the front of your body next to your groin), under your armpits, next to your throat, above/below your clavicle and behind your knee. Spend some time on these areas to make sure you assist your LS to support your immunity.