Introduction: Although much less well known than our blood supply, we have a second circulatory system known as our Lymph System. Lymph fluid is pumped by our hearts along with our blood to our extremities. While blood nourishes our cells and removes small molecule waste products, the lymph fluid is separated out, flushing the area around those cells and transporting larger metabolic byproducts and dead cell tissue, as well as any foreign particles which our immune systems can identify and make antibodies for.
Drying with a Towel: When we get out of the shower or bath, usually the next thing to do is dry ourselves. Seeing as we are going to dry ourselves anyway, it is an excellent opportunity to do a little Lymphatic Massage. The idea is to dry yourself in the direction of the area above and to the right of the heart. So you dry up the arms and legs both front and back, and up the torso. You apply pressure with the towel to the largest area of the limb or torso that you can. It takes a little getting used to, but acheives the same goal of getting dry in the same amount of time with the added benefit of assisting lymph fluid circulation.
Here is a demonstration youtube video
Background Information on the Lymph System: Whereas blood relies on vascular pressure and the responsiveness of the heart to continue its cyclical journey, the lymph system is passive, relying on a system of one way valves and pressure changes resulting from movement for its return journey. This system was fine tuned over tens of millions of years by our four legged ancestors. It utilizes the pumping action of gait in the front legs. When our more recent ancestors permanently reared up on their hind legs, it was too late to go back and rework the layout, and lymph fluid return became an inherent weakness in our design. As long as our ancestors were periodically active over the course of a day, this inherent weakness could be adequately compensated for. However, our modern sedentary lifestyles deeply compromise lymph fluid return. An extreme example is leg swelling from extended bed rest. Massage, and especially Lymph Drainage massage is beneficial from supporting lymphatic functions, and noticing how much healthier you feel after a skilled lymphatic drainage session is the best way to experience how intrinsic this system is to maintaining healthy body functions. Further discussion on the evolutionary background of Lymph function:
Neuro-Lymphatic Massage Points: Another activity that can assist Lymph fluid flow is rubbing points on the body with known associations to lymph function related to specific muscles and organs. These points were revealed in research by an Osteopath, Dr. Frank Chapman, in the 1920’s. I have organized these points by organ or gland (meridian) function in a web site which is laid out for use with a smart phone. The reasoning is that when in a spa environment, rubbing specific points will assist in rejuvenating organ / gland function. These points are on both the front and back of the body, and you can rub them yourself, or have someone rub the ones on your back. SPA POINTS