That’s a great start, but did you know there is so much more you can do to support your immune system naturally, easily and without it costing the earth?
In fact, all it takes is a little know-how, and for someone to take you by the hand and introduce you to some of the most powerful, fun and effective strategies, that can have your immune system powered up and even more ready to deal with those winter viruses, in no time at all.
Now doesn’t that sound like a good idea? Especially in this time of COVID, flu, and definitely NOT wanting to spend Christmas in bed!!
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be introducing you to some of the most powerful natural immune-boosting strategies you could wish for. Right now, let’s start with the least known and yet arguably the most important: it’s time to get you lymph-tastic.
It’s time to get you lymph-tastic
Lymph what?? Truth is most people have never heard of lymph, let alone what it really does in the body.
The lymphatic system is the ‘quiet kid’ in the class – no one shouts or raves about it, and it doesn’t feature much in health discussions until it goes wrong! Ask anyone who has ever had a blocked lymph system – they will tell you that suddenly having an arm or a leg blow up to twice its size is not much fun!!
Lymph is incredibly important when it comes to boosting your natural immunity. And the best part about it is that supporting your lymph system is great fun!! It will have you bouncing, giggling and laughing your way to incredible immune health.
What exactly are we talking about?
First a tiny biology lesson, so you know exactly what we are talking about.
The lymphatic system is a series of tubes that collect spare fluid from all of your tissues, all over your body, and transports it back to your heart, where it is then recirculated. In this way, it is a kind of slow slithering ‘sewage’ system.
Along the lymphatic ‘tubes’, there are strategic checkpoints called ‘lymph nodes’. These are the nodes that are enlarged in your neck for example if you have ever had tonsillitis. When lymph nodes are actively fighting off an infection, they tend to enlarge and be very tender to the touch. Once the infection is successfully dealt with, your lymph nodes settle down and shrink back down to their normal size and stop hurting.
If you have more of a generalised infection, lots of your lymph nodes tend to join in, whereas if the infection is very localised, only the lymph nodes in that part of your body tend to be affected.
The lymph nodes are constantly scanning the contents of the fluid for things like viruses, bacteria and other non-desirables. In this way, it acts as a very thorough ‘virus’ monitoring system. If it is in good shape, it can do an awesome job of catching those infections nice and early, and deal with them so you don’t get sick.
Bottom line: a sluggish lymphatic system means less immunity and a greater chance of getting sick and staying sick for longer.
The perks of being lymph-tastic
Once your lymph system is working smoothly and flowing along nicely, not only does your immune system function at a much higher level but there are a whole host of other benefits too:
- Way more energy
- Natural weight loss – it is well known that when your detox systems are down it is much harder for your body to let go of those extra pounds. Think weight loss with ease!!
- Banish cellulite
- Clearer skin: no more dry irritable blotch unhappy skin
- No more water retention: say goodbye to those puffy eyes, puffy ankles and anything that’s been ‘waterlogged’ because your lymph has been in the slow lane
- Clear head – no more brain fog or fuzzy heads
Now have I got your attention?!
How do I boost my lymphatic system?
Your body produces several gallons of lymph per day, just to flush out all the rubbish that your cells produce every minute of every hour of every day. Your lymph is hard at work right now whilst you are reading this… Can you feel it??!
Ok, so here’s the thing: unlike the blood system, where the heart pumps the blood around your body, the lymph system doesn’t have a pump. Instead, it relies on you MOVING YOUR BODY, to move the lymph around and remove all those waste products along with it.
To boost a sluggish lymphatic system is very simple: you have to provide the movement to help it.
Bounce, giggle and laugh your way to incredible immune health.
So let’s get that lymph moving and those energy levels flying along. Here are my 3 favourite ways.
Warning: this might make you giggle, especially if you are ticklish.
You can skin brush ‘dry’ with a soft bristle brush, or wet, with a glove that you put on your hand and do it in the shower but both dry and wet are equally good!!
The 3 basic rules of skin brushing:
- The basic rule is that you always work TOWARDS YOUR HEART.
- Brush quickly and firmly, with short swift strokes, as if you are wiping dust off a table.
- Apply enough pressure to ‘move your skin’ but not so much that it hurts.
Legs first: start at your feet, work up each leg, then do your arms starting at your fingertips and work up to your shoulders. The whole thing takes about 1-2 minutes.
Let’s get you bouncing and striding along!
We all know that sitting down for hours on end is just not good for you. They say that being ‘sedentary’ is the new smoking in terms of just how bad it really is for your health. This has sparked a whole trend for walking 10,000 steps a day and similar ‘exercise’ goals.
So here is one additional ‘dimension’ to that: take a brisk walk 10-20 minutes every morning. Here is what you are aiming for:
- Walk fast enough to just about get out of breath, so you can still talk but not easily
- Get a sweat on.
- Go out by yourself and really move your body. Go for it!
This really gets your lymph going, stimulates the blood supply to your skin and it’s an amazing detox practice as well as being a lymph-tastic.
Here are 3 non-scary ways to get a sweat on:
- Workout – see the brisk walking practice above if you need a simple and very do-able pace to start.
- Hot shower. 10 minutes, as hot as you can bear it without injuring or hurting yourself.
- Hot bath, preferably with a large dose of epsom salts. Soaking for 20 minutes in a tub filled with hot water, as warm as you can tolerate without hurting yourself, works wonders for that detox lymph support.
More advanced practices
The 3 basic practices are the ones where I would start. Obviously go easy, start small and build up gently, so that you don’t hurt yourself. Especially if you haven’t done some of these things for a long time. But there are more advanced ways of getting you lymphatic.
These either need a bit more time, money or special knowledge/ equipment.
Whole-body massage. Massage comes in all sorts of different types. The best type for lymph support is a ‘lymphatic drainage’ type massage, combined with a whole body detox massage.
Yoga esp inverted poses. I recommend that you work with a qualified teacher and ask them to show you how to optimise your yoga practice to give that extra boost to the lymphatic system
Hot/cold showers. These have become very popular in recent years, and they are not for the faint hearted. I always recommend that you start small and build up.
Using a rebounder. These small mini trampolines are fun and provide incredible lymph drainage support, especially on a ‘whole body’ level.
Creating your own lymph-tastic practice
So now you have learnt more about how and why the lymph system is so special when it comes to boosting your natural immune system, you can start by creating your own plan.
Remember that you don’t have to do it all at once and that it can be great fun, as you bounce, laugh and giggle your way to getting lymph-tastic.
Here are my suggestions:
- Choose one practice you would like to try.
- Decide when you will do it – don’t leave it to chance or ‘one day when I have more time’, because we all know that means it won’t happen!!
- Focus on progress, not perfection: notice how even one week of your chosen lymph support strategy carried out regularly has you feeling fresher and more alive.
- Enjoy it!
Happy natural immune boosting!!!