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What Your breath does to your lymphatic drainage. Also, the Before and After of It all...

Breath is one of our most vital wellness practices — so vital that we don’t even have to think about it. And, although our chests rhythmically rise and fall over 22,000 times per day, many of us aren’t breathing deeply enough to utilize some of its superpowers, including its ability to detox the body through the lymphatic system. 

“The lymphatic system — often considered the second half of your circulatory system — is a network of capillaries, vessels, nodes, and organs that is our essential system for both immune functioning and detoxification,” says Jenna Bradshaw, CMT, CMLDT, RYT, a massage therapist who specializes in lymphatic drainage. “This one-way system absorbs fluid, proteins, and other debris that have escaped the bloodstream, filters it through many lymph nodes, and returns it to the heart,” she adds. When the fluid returns to the bloodstream, Bradshaw says the metabolic waste that was filtered by the lymphatic system then gets released through the body’s drainage pathways, which include the bladder, the bowel, the skin, and the lungs. 

When we think of lymphatic drainage, we typically think of wellness techniques such as dry brushing, gua sha, and massage to help de-puff or de-bloat, promote improved circulation, and expel metabolic waste. And while these self-care practices are excellent ways to support these efforts, Bradshaw says one of the simplest ways to support lymphatic drainage is through the breath. “The breath is one of the biggest movers of our lymphatic system and often the most underutilized way we release metabolic waste from the body,” she explains. 

Up ahead, we dive into breathwork benefits and how breathing for lymphatic drainage can help support detoxification and rejuvenation. 

Does Breathwork Help With Lymphatic Drainage? 

“Breathwork is the technique and practice of intentionally controlling breathing patterns to positively influence your physical, mental, and emotional state,” says  Dr. Maitri Vaidya, a certified meditation expert and founder of Zesa Wellness. “The deep conscious breathing exercises are a mindfulness tool aimed to improve overall well-being by decreasing stress and increasing relaxation.”

Since the lungs are one of the body’s main drainage pathways, this mindfulness practice can also have a profound impact on supporting lymphatic drainage. According to Dr. Vaidya, breathing through the diaphragm stimulates lymphatic structures and supports the drainage of fluid. “The movement of breath is a great way to stimulate the movement of lymphatic fluids, improving blood flow and circulation to facilitate toxin removal,” Dr. Vaidya notes. “Deep breathing also affects the muscle involved in respiration, the diaphragm, which then massages the lymph, further improving circulation.” In addition to the physical movement of lymphatic drainage, breathwork also supports relaxation to reduce stress and tension, which Dr. Vaidya says is linked to impaired lymphatic function. 

Fun tip: we like to take HUM’s Daily Cleanse in the morning with a glass of lemon water before practicing our breathwork routine.

How Breathing Supports Lymphatic Drainage 

If you’re wondering how something as simple as breathing can support the movement of fluid and toxins in the body, Bradshaw says it’s all about the pressure change created by our breath when we inhale and exhale. “Every deep inhale acts as a vacuum, pulling fluid from the lymphatic system back into the circulatory system, and every full exhale pulls fluid from the legs and abdomen up through the chest,” she explains. Since the lymphatic system is a one-way system, both parts of the breath can gently enhance the overall movement. 

Additionally, Bradshaw says one of the largest lymphatic duct in the body — called the Thoracic Duct — runs directly through the diaphragm. So, moving the diaphragm in deep breathwork, can significantly improve the flow of lymph fluid and flush the body faster. 

How Do You Activate Your Lymphatic System? 

By nature, the lymphatic system is always active and the body is designed to naturally eliminate toxins through this network. But, according to Colette Connor, Founder of Well Studio, a Los Angeles-based, intimate wellness studio that specializes in whole-body wellness through lymphatic drainage and body-sculpting treatments, our modern world introduces a lot more toxins, pesticides, and chemicals than our lymphatic system can handle on its own. “Unfortunately, our lymphatic system is unable to keep up with what enters our system, thus heavily slowing down the detoxification process,” she explains. 

There are many ways to enhance the activation of the lymphatic system, including lymphatic massage, drinking enough water, and mindful breathing. From a breathwork standpoint, Bradshaw says to consider inhaling and exhaling deeply as well as lengthening the breath. “Because the lungs are one of the four drainage pathways of the body, lengthening and deepening the breath will help support our body and release more metabolic waste, creating less work for this system over time,” she explains. “Lengthening the exhale is specifically important for releasing stagnation from the lungs.” 

Beyond their role as a drainage pathway, the lungs exist within one of the most high-traffic areas of our bodies — at least as far as lymph nodes are concerned. “Of the body’s 600 to 800 lymph nodes, more than half of them reside in our abdomen and chest,” Bradshaw explains. “When we can utilize deep breathing to bring more mobility and lymphatic flow to this area, we support deep drainage of vital organs like the lungs, liver, and digestive tract.” 

To activate the lymphatic system through breathwork, Erin Panzarella, a spiritual mentor, quantum healer who is certified in breathwork, says to consider a practice that utilizes a longer exhale to help activate the parasympathetic nervous system, plus some light touch to improve lymphatic drainage efforts. Here is her go-to breathwork practice for lymphatic drainage: 

Lay down, place both hands on your abdomen, and take a deep inhale. Breathe in through your nose for seven seconds and consciously make the decision to breathe all the way down to where your hands are placed. Once you count to seven, hold the breath for two to three seconds, and then exhale slowly through your mouth for eight seconds. Toward the end of your exhale, you can place light pressure on the abdomen to assist even further with the lymphatic drainage. 

She recommends repeating this round of breath for at least three cycles to support lymphatic drainage and allow your body to rest and relax. As you practice, consider working your way up to longer inhales and exhales for extended periods of time to further deepen the breath. 


Lymphatic Drainage Massage Before and After — Breathwork Edition 

With lymphatic drainage massage, the before and after results can be visually satisfying. When it comes to breathwork, the before and after aren’t usually as immediate. Though, with regular practice, breathwork can help reduce the appearance of bloating, which is a common benefit of lymphatic drainage massage. 

Instead, breathwork harnesses some of the non-visible benefits of lymphatic drainage massage, including improved energy levels and deeper relaxation. Through regular practice, some additional benefits include better digestion, stronger immunity, increased circulation, and quality sleep. And, the more you practice, the more you strengthen the lungs, too. 

Even if you don’t take on a breathwork practice, the natural act of breathing can support lymphatic drainage. However, if you want to up the ante, taking deeper, longer, and more intentional breaths can help the body’s lymphatic system work its magic. 

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The post How Your Breath Impacts Lymphatic Drainage. Plus, The Before and After of It All… appeared first on HUM Nutrition Blog.


By: Jessie Quinn
Title: How Your Breath Impacts Lymphatic Drainage. Plus, The Before and After of It All…
Sourced From: www.humnutrition.com/blog/before-and-after-lymphatic-drainage/
Published Date: Wed, 10 Apr 2024 18:32:27 +0000

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