If you haven’t been feeling well, you will probably start noticing the area on your neck near your ears is becoming tender. These are a set of your lymph nodes. Lymph nodes contain immune cells called lymphocytes, which produce proteins that capture and fight viruses & microbes and macrophages, which destroy and remove the captured material. Basically, your lymph nodes swell up because the lymphatic system is trying to rid itself of infection. So in a way, this a true sign your immune system is hard at work doing what it needs to do in order to keep you healthy.
Here are some things you can do to get relief of your swollen glands and aid the immune system in fighting infection so you can get on the road to health
- Manual Lymph Drainage Massage
Seeing a registered massage therapist who has been trained in manual lymph drainage is a sure bet at getting the proper care you might need to get things flowing and moving, providing you with much needed relief within a few days. If you are in the Victoria, BC area click here. (If you have an extended health benefit plan in Canada, the cost of the Registered Massage Therapy session is usually reimbursed by the benefit company.)
- Self Massage
Using the gentlest of pressure and a specific sequence, you can lightly massage your own lymphatic system. There are also specific guidelines to follow to ensure you will not cause any harm to your body (you are moving toxins, after all). The step-by-step process (complete with pictures) on how to do lymph massage for the neck and face is explained in this handy e-guide — it will be your friend for life. Get it here. And for only 5 bucks, it’s one of the cheapest ways to get relief. You’re welcome.
In general, you have to use very light pressure and slow movements, as most of the lymphatic vessels are just below the skin. ‘Massaging’ as you would other areas of the body will not be effective. In a way, you want your pressure to mimic the pulse and rhythm of the lymphatic system itself. Every light stroke you do should move the skin in the direction of the lymphatic flow to encourage the drainage of fluid and waste. For the face and neck, it is a downward direction. The soft nature of each massage stroke as your fingers carefully glide across the skin may feel as if nothing is happening. But remember it’s exactly the noninvasive quality of lymph massage that makes it work.
With the build-up of lymph, sinus pressure is usually present and can be quite uncomfortable. Holding specific acupressure points around the face, neck, head and shoulders help to release this pressure and provide much needed relief. This is done with your finger tips, using light to medium pressure and holding for 2-5 mins each (See video below)
- Preventative Health
Be Active. Our lymphatic system works in it’s prime when we are active and providing circulation of all our systems.
- As always, drinking a proper amount of water, at least 8-10 glasses, can help our inner ‘gunk’ move along and become less stagnant.
- Jumping & Bouncing
Bouncing up and down, Skipping Rope, Rebounding or Jumping on the Trampoline will get the lymphatic system moving. Watch the 30 sec video below on how to boost your energy by jumping about
- Everything in this e-guide: 7 Ways to Fix Your Achy, Stuffy and Sore Head
If sinus pressure, headaches and a stuffy head are also happening, this video will be perfect for you!