Yoga has many benifits, it along with all other forms of exercise encourages the flow of the fluids through our Lymph system. Yoga also reduces stress and stress can block the free flow of fluids through the Lymph sysatem. But in cases of severe blockage there are alternative methods which will help free the Lymph system and return it to normal functioning. Lymphatic drainage is a holistic approach to promoting a healthy lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a complex network of vessels and ducts that move fluid throughout the body and is responsible for moving toxins away from healthy cells and carrying germ-fighting materials to cells when they are under attack by viruses. The lymphatic system includes all the structures and mechanisms responsible for the circulation and production of lymphocytes. This immune system network includes various organs like the thymus, spleen, bone marrow and the lymphoid tissue associated with the digestive system.
The lymphatic system has multiple functions:
*removal of interstitial fluid from tissues
*absorbs ad transports fatty acids and fats to the circulatory system
*elimination of infections through the transport of antigen presenting cells (ie dendritic cells) to lymph nodes where an immune response is triggered
The lymphatic system follows the path of the circulatory system and consists of a similar structure including lymph capillaries and vessels. These vessels receive fluid and components from the blood vessels. Therefore, nutrients and components of blood do not directly pass into cell tissues, but first cross the lymphatic tissue. The lymphatic vessels also act as a drainage conduit for the blood vessels, transporting diffused fluids and blood components to the lymph nodes and back into the heart for circulation.
Though fluid moves through the lymphatic system, it does not have its own pumping mechanism. Lymphatic drainage is a type of therapy that is intended to help the body produce a free-flowing lymphatic system.
Lymphatic drainage is a type of therapy that consists of a manual message, performed by a lymphatic drainage therapist. Such a massage primarily focuses on specific lymph nodes and points of the body, as well as the natural flow of the lymphatic system. To help lymph fluid move through the body, special rhythmic hand strokes are used, which many patients consider very relaxing. The Lymphatic drainage process will reduce blockages of the lymphatic system, which in turn promotes a healthier body.
When the lymphatic system becomes blocked, lymph nodes may become swollen. Further, the system fails to remove the body’s toxins and can even affect white bloood cell counts. Lymphatic drainage can reduce blockage, which promotes health in the lymphatic system as well as other bodily systems such as the circulatory, respiratory, muscular, and endocrine systems. It has been recommended for conditions like lymphederma, in which a blockage in the lymphatic system causes swelling in the arms or legs. Some therapists believe that lymphatic drainage therapy can also reduce allergies, menstrual cramps, and colds and other illnesses caused by viruses.
How Does the Lymphatic System Benefit From Yoga Exercises?
Lymph fluid is not pumped through the body like blood, but is moved through the channels mostly by the contraction and massage of skeletal muscles. Yoga exercises that involve muscular contraction of the legs and arms are particularly effective in aiding the transport of lymph fluid.
Also beneficial to the lymphatic system are yoga postures that invert the legs and allow gravity to act on the lymphatic channels. From gentle leg inversions like Viparita Karani (legs up the wall) to more advanced inversions like Salamba Sarvangasana (supported shoulder stand), these inverted yoga poses use gravity to their advantage by stimulating the passive flow of lymph fluid and increasing the rate of drainage.