Balance: Lymphatic System


I’m on my way to a Vinyasa class, then some ocean time, then a run, and ending my day with a soundscape ceremony. Yesterday, we experienced a new moon in Libra. Libra is the sign of balance, harmony, and partnership. This new moon didn’t feel particularly emotionally charged, but rather action-oriented. I took yesterday’s day to rest and in honor of the moon, to find balance.

When you travel 80% of the time, you have to take extra precautions to ensure that your body doesn’t accumulate too much stress (allostatic overload) and doesn’t start to operate from a state of inflammation. Inflammation as a baseline will inevitably lead to disease. There are some tips and tricks to use when jet-setting. These practices are particularly helpful in keeping the lymphatic system in balance – by promoting healthy circulation as well as excess fluid and toxin removal.

  1. Drink lots of fluids, particularly water. The human body isn’t designed to spend most of its time inside an aluminum tube thousands of feet in the air. Yet there are those of us that do. Flying – with all it’s pressure changes and the lack of movement that come with the activity, is dehydrating. This is why it’s vital to drink fluids. I’m not big on coffee or alcohol drinking (I only ingest those on occasion), but if you are, both are dehydrating! Something to keep in mind.
  2. Movement. Walk to the bathroom, get something from your carry on, stand-up and stretch. Movement stimulates the lymphatic system helping you prevent stagnation in the body. It’s vital.
  3. Exercise. When you land, exercise as soon as you can. I understand that sometimes you land at 1AM, need to drive an hour to your destination, and be somewhere by 8AM. It’s rough. But even a 1 mile run or walk can do wonders. 20 minutes of HIIT can also be helpful. Yoga can be particularly helpful to stimulate lymphatic drainage. Plus, exercise will help you sleep!
  4. Sleep. This is the trickiest of them all. Particularly with time zone changes and delays. Unless I’m traveling for personal reasons, my business travel means that I am not in any location for longer than 24 hours (for the most part). There are helpful sleep aids out there like Melatonin and Magnesium powder (which can also help regulate the digestives process). Sleep plays a vital role in the balance of the lymphatic system.
  5. OMAD. One Meal a Day. This is a personal preference. It’s a form of intermittent fasting that can be particularly helpful when traveling. When you’re traveling, your body is already stressed with all the changes it’s experiencing in the short. Even if you don’t register feeling “stressed”, the body doesn’t thrive on airport food, metal birds, poor air and water quality. By eating one large meal a day, you give your body a break from also having to figure out how to digest on top of having to manage everything else! If you’ve traveled enough and familiarized yourself with most airports, you know where the healthier options are at.
  6. Meditation. In the previous years, there has been plenty of research to show that the way you breathe can impact your mood, your digestion, your weight management, your stress levels, your sex life, how you sleep – the list goes on.  Even if it’s just 2 minutes at the airport – closing your eyes and taking the time to breathe deeply aka slow down your breathing, will send a message to your brain that all is okay, that there is no danger. When the brain perceives danger, the body releases a hormone called cortisol, the stress hormone. Now, if there was a tiger or a bear behind you, you’d definitely want that cortisol released for that fight or flight to take place. Chances are you won’t be getting chased by large mammals at the airport. Therefore, take deep breaths, reduce the stress response and let your body know that it’s all good. A lot of modern fitness trackers have a built-in relax functions. There are also a lot of good apps out there too! The point is just take some time to slow down your breathing – most of us are chest breathers 😉 (For more information, do a quick google search on the effects of quick, shallow breathing on your health.)
  7. Sunlight, bodies of water, and massage. “Spend at least 30 minutes in the sun. Submerge yourself in a body of water daily – no the shower does not count! Stimulate your lymphatic system with self-massage.” Those were the instructions I received from a Brazilian health and beauty expert – and let me tell you, Brazilians really know what’s up! Partaking in these activities when traveling can be vital (if you can manage to). Personally, all I do while traveling is a technique called dry brushing – which stimulates the lymphatic system. The sunlight, body of water, and massage portion, I take care of as soon as I’m back home! It really helps keep the balance.

If you’d like to know more about the lymphatic system and its role in keeping us healthy, happy AND pretty try using the following key words in a Google and/or Google Scholar search: lymphatic system, adrenals, stress, lymph nodes, blood circulation, inflammation, liver, spleen, thymus, lymphatic drainage massage.

I also get lymphatic drainage massages professionally done every once a while (at least monthly) here in San Diego. Here are some sample before and after photos from these massages! (You can google where to get one near you).

Anyway, that’s all I wanted to share with you all today. Happy Sunday!

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