Exercises to Help Drain Your Lymphatic System

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Filed Under: General Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Exercises to Help Drain Your Lymphatic System

Learn how to move lymph through the body and help rid your body of waste

Our lymphatic system is basically our body’s sewer system. Although it has millions of vessels just like the blood system, it has no strong heart to keep lymph moving. Instead, lymph is moved by breathing, walking, intestinal activity and muscle action. As muscles tighten, lymph vessels are squeezed and lymph is pushed along and filtered through lymph nodes on its way back to the veins and the heart.

We need to keep lymph moving efficiently and one way is through exercise. Another is a slant-board or even inversion units that enable you to hang upside down. But lymph drainage can also be facilitated by manipulating the body in the following ways:

Reflex Point Stimulation

There is a reflex point that helps stimulate lymphatic drainage in the upper body. It is located at the bottom of the breast bone, or sternum. Vigorously rubbing this area for about two minutes can help the lymphatic drainage.

Reflex point for lymph stimulation

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Lymph “Milking”

Another way you can help lymph nodes drain is by gently rubbing or “milking” it toward the heart. This works quite well, for example, with sore throats or sinus congestion. By using a lubricant, you can start under the jaw and milk down the throat on each side of the big muscle on both sides of the neck.

Lymph milking exercise

Then start at the base of the skull with your thumbs just behind the ears. Push under the skull, into the neck, with firm pressure slowly going toward the collar bone. Continue to do this, and each time move the thumbs closer together toward the spinal column.

Lymph milking exercise

This manipulation alone has relieved headaches and neck tension. Always “milk” or massage the lymphatic system (as well as the circulatory system) toward the heart. If you’ll notice, massage therapists always work toward the heart. Massage therapy is good for the circulation and one of its benefits is stimulating the drainage of the lymph system.

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Axillary Traction

One other important and easy technique is called “axillary traction”—a $10 word meaning “armpit pull.” Simply lie on your back and have someone stand at your head, place their hands under your armpits, and gently pull straight toward their body. Keep your arms at your sides. Your partner should maintain this traction, or pull, for 20 to 30 seconds. After a short rest, repeat the procedure four to five times.

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You can do any of these procedures daily. Before using inversion, however, consult with your doctor—especially if you are pregnant or have high blood pressure, hemorrhages, tubercular conditions, cancer in the pelvic cavity, appendicitis, or ulcers of the stomach or intestine.

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