Proper Breathing Helps Energize Your Lymphatic System
Breathing serves as the main pump for the lymphatic system, just as the heart serves the circulatory system. Your cells must have oxygen to survive moment to moment. To thrive, they rely on a complex exchange between the circulatory system and the lymphatic system. Blood flow carries nutrients and ample amounts of oxygen into the capillaries, while a healthy lymphatic system carries away destructive toxins. Proper breathing is the moderator of this exchange.
We don’t often think about our lymph nodes unless we hear about someone with cancer, which is surprising, because we have twice as much lymphatic fluid as blood in our bodies.
So what is the lymphatic system? It could be likened to the body’s sewer system. Lymph vessels form a drainage system throughout the body. Our cells swim in an ocean of lymphatic fluid that carries away the detritus of our immune system, including dead white blood cells, unused plasma protein and toxins.
It works like this: blood is pumped around the body by the heart, transporting nutrients and oxygen to the cells. Once the cells have absorbed what they need, they excrete debris and toxins, which then get flushed and deactivated by lymphatic fluid.
The lymph fluid then drains into the circulatory system through two ducts at the base of your neck (the thoracic duct), and becomes part of the blood and plasma that pass through the kidneys and liver. But unlike your circulatory system, your lymph system does not have a built-in pump. It relies on the act of breathing and bodily movement to move all that waste fluid around.
The consequence of a sluggish lymphatic system is that you cannot detoxify properly. And if you aren’t breathing deeply or moving regularly, chances are your lymph fluid is not flowing as well as it could. As you can well imagine, this can lead to health concerns over time, including weight gain, muscle loss, high blood pressure, fatigue, and inflammation.
But the great news is that you can improve your lymph system cleansing by learning to practice deep breathing. The expansion and contraction of the diaphragm actually stimulates your lymphatic system and massages your internal organs, helping the body rid itself of toxins, and leaving more room in the cells for an optimal exchange of oxygen.
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