When you have a sore throat and the glands in the neck and under the jaw get swollen, it is often a symptom of lymphatic congestion. Lymphatic congestion is a condition in which the lymphatic system fails to drain properly and this allows the toxins and cellular waste products to get accumulated in the body. This results in congestion in the lymph nodes.
Lymphatic congestion is particularly a problem for cancer patients who have had their lymph nodes damaged or removed during treatment. However, it is not necessary to suffer from a chronic disease to experience stagnant lymph. It has been proved that yoga asanas and exercises that involve inversions and vigorous flow practices like sun salutation and vinyasas help restore the movement of lymph nodes again and improve the overall health of a person.
Symptoms Of Lymphatic Congestion
Lymphatic congestion leads to many irritating health issues:
1. Swollen tonsils
2. Recurrent sore throats
3. Chronically enlarged lymph nodes
4. Swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, and breasts
5. Itchy rashes
6. Slow healing
How Does Yoga Help?
The lymphatic system usually relies on the intrinsic contractions of the muscle of the lymph channel walls, and mostly, on large muscle activity in the body. The rhythmic tension and relaxation that take place in the muscles during physical movement twist the tissues and force the interstitial fluid into the lymph channels. The one-way valves in the lymph channels prevent gravity from pulling the lymph back into the limbs.
Although any type of muscular contraction helps the lymph to move along, yoga emphasizes on every part of the body to work effectively. Yoga especially takes care of the breathing and the solar plexus region, which distinguishes itself from any other form of exercise. Conscious breathing (pranayama) is itself lymphatic pumping and can help in directing lymph nodes through the deep channels of the chest.
Yoga asanas that involve inversions like putting the legs upwards or standing on the shoulders help in reversing the effect of gravity and drain the lymph nodes by using the blood from the legs. They also work on the abdomen with twists and towards the front, back, and sides to stimulate the flow of lymph upwards through the core of the body by squeezing the organs and muscles. Then, these kinds of inversions allow fresh fluid to soak back in as the twists relax, and thus, like any form of aerobic exercise, they cause the enlargement of muscles in the body to contract and relax, which is usually the way lymph moves throughout the body.
To enhance the effect of yoga asanas on stagnant lymph nodes, certain natural therapies must be considered as well. These include lymph massage and skin brushing.
Most of the lymph channels lie right under the skin, and a very light massage helps in stimulating the flow of lymph. In fact, the weight of your hand is enough to stroke towards the chest, starting from the feet and working upward to each of the limbs in the body. If you are unsure of how to massage your lymph glands, seek help from a trained massage therapist to work up the congested lymph.
Skin brushing is also known as “dry brushing”, and this is a do-it-yourself technique that promotes the flow of lymph by gently brushing the skin in the same direction that the lymph is traveling. This can start from the feet and upwards to the hands and collarbones and is usually done right after one wakes up in the morning. Skin brushing is generally done by using a soft-bristled, naturally made brush on dry skin.
With these simple lifestyle changes, you can easily treat lymphatic congestion naturally.