In this article I want to share with you the benefits of walking to get rid of fluid accumulation in the legs and other areas and to promote a healthy lymph flow. I also explain that it is best to drink filtered tap water instead of bottled water and that you should do a detox treatment once in a while. The lymphatic system is crucial to your overall health. If you have to sit or stand up for a long time for your work or make long journeys by car or plane then you have probably already suffered from fluid accumulation. You will see it especially in the legs and feet but it can also be that your eyes, face and hands are swollen and that you look ‘fatter’ than you are. When I do long-haul flights I am the one who has to take off her shoes on the flight because the laces almost ‘snap’ and I usually step barefoot past customs on arrival. Very annoying but… there is something to be done about it. Read here how it happens and what you can do about it.
What is the lymphatic system?
The lymphatic system is what is known as an organ system and plays a role in the circulatory and immune systems. It consists of an intelligent network of lymphatic vessels, lymphoid tissues and lymphatic or lymphoid organs. These lymphatic vessels transport a clear fluid called “lymph” to our heart. This fluid has a similar composition to blood, except that it contains more proteins and lacks red blood cells, the reason it is not red. There are also about 600 lymph nodes in our body, which you normally only notice when you are sick: in that case, lymph nodes may be swollen. You can often feel and see them along your neck, under your armpits or in your groin when you get a cold or flu. The reason they become swollen is due to an infection, from a buildup of lymph fluid, bacteria or other organisms and cells of the immune system. (Source: Medical News Today)
It is your body that gives a sign at that moment that something is wrong. Just like in my book “The Complete Book on Hair” I make people aware that they should always pay attention to their body’s signals.
Simply put, your lymphatic system is your body’s drainage system and when it is not draining as it should, it begins to retain water to dilute the concentration of toxins (bacteria) in your body. This is good for a while to keep the balance in your lymps, but if that situation persists it can be dangerous. You can tell by the fact that you suffer from swollen ankles, a swollen face, your socks leave marks on your ankles, … The things that we usually colloquially call “water retention”.
The lymphatic system has 3 important functions:
– It maintains the balance of fluid between the blood and the tissues (this is also called fluid homeostasis)
– It is an important part of the body’s immune system and helps defend your organism against bacteria and other unwanted guests
– It facilitates the absorption of fats and fat-soluble nutrients in the digestive system
The lymphatic system works in synergy with our circulatory system and helps to maintain a normal fluid balance. It carries back excess fluid and protein from the tissues that cannot be drained through the blood vessels. If the lymphatic system were to fail completely, it would mean fatal death within a day. Without the lymphatic system draining excess fluid, our tissues would swell, blood volume would be lost, and dangerous pressure levels would begin to threaten the vital organs of your body: heart, kidneys, and lungs.
An important part of your immune system
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Our body’s lymphatic system is part of your immune system, protecting you from infection and disease.” The system includes your spleen, thymus, lymph nodes and lymph ducts, as well as your tonsils and adenoids. The lymph nodes filter the lymph fluid and filter out bacteria. Mind you, this is a very simplified version of a very complex system but for the purposes of this blog I can’t possibly go into too much detail. The only thing I want you t oremember is that it’s role in the immune system is linked to cancer, so if you notice something is wrong or “off” with your lymphs: never EVER ignore that signal and go see a doctor to check things out. It could be nothing but still also could be a warning.
The impact on the digestive system
My good friend Haylie Pomroy, best-selling author in the US, sees a failing lymphatic system as one of the culprits in weight gain. In her book “The Burn” (Harmony books), she writes a passage about it on page 32: “…Now that your body has more waste than it should, it reacts by quickly sending that waste where it can do the least harm: directly to your fat cells. At the same time, your body sends another message: Make more fat cells. These are the repositories for the toxins that the kidneys have not yet been able to process and remove, and the more toxins you have, the more fat cells you need.”
This also results in cellulite and fat deposits in unwanted places. If you need help with this I really recommend my friend’s book!
Why walking can help!
Eliminating toxins from our system is essential for immunity, optimal health and even weight loss. In our modern lives, we have too much stress, lead sedentary lives and don’t get enough exercise. All of this leads to a sluggish lymphatic system. You can book complicated, expensive treatments at a weight loss institute but there is something you can do every day for free… If you simply do more physical activity and go for a walk, for example, your legs and especially the leg and calf muscles act as a kind of natural pump that helps to transport the lymph fluid through your body. So get into the habit of standing up regularly during the day for a mini walk or a minute jumping on the trampoline and take a few brisk walks every day according to my method in the book “Walk Your way to being Slim and Happy” (currently only in Dutch, English coming up). Walking is such a natural form of exercise and is so simple that it is accessible to everyone. It is a cheap sport, you only need good walking shoes or sneakers and you can do it anywhere and anytime. In my book you will find more tips and a method that works. And no, this book is not a “walking book” but a lifestyle that will help you stay healthy, slim and fit for the rest of your life without extreme sports. Keeping the weight off with my method is so easy!
Besides walking, there are other methods that help against fluid retention. I’ll give a few here in advance:
– dry brushing is FANTASTIC: I use one of my own designed hairbrushes for this purpose: the model Peach Blossom by Delphin & Emerence which gives an effective massage without the unpleasant, abrasive feeling of most dry brushes on the market. You can even use them under the armpits and on the breast area, an important place to give due attention to daily. With the code TAKEYOUTIME, you get 10% off this amazing brush. CLICK HERE to check it out.
– Manual massage of the lymph nodes: in the hollow of the knee and the hollow of the arm
– Inversions by hanging upside down or in Yoga or via a special chair to do headstands
– Compression socks or massage leggings like from SOLIDEA (with code TAKEYOUTIME 15% off your first purchase on the site. 5% for users registered – the discount applies to purchases over €59.00). I wear them when I go for a walk, during the day on hot summer days where you legs swell like an elephant’s, when travelling by plane or car,… They do work and you see a noticeable difference in inches/centimeters in your legs. I’ve had mine for years and I couldn’t live without them anymore!
– A few times a year do a healthy detox with lots of water and a phytotherapeutic solution such as Bioradix DETOX 1, a welcome detox for your body to remove all the waste products that accumulate and also cause fluid retention. I do about 4 times a year a cure around each seasonal change and during the holidays or vacations where I let myself go a little more. Would you like to try this? Simply dissolve the detoxifying drink in water. Until the end of November 2021 you get 5% discount AND a free bottle of Silix Hair-Skin-Nails worth 37 euros with your order. Use code takeyoutime on this site. (Valid until the end of November or until stocks last SILIX)
– Drink plenty of healthy beverages, choosing filtered water that removes residues of harmful substances such as PFOS, chlorine, drugs,… in tap water. The idea is that you drink to relieve your body and not to start burdening it with more chemical junk that accumulates in your body. I switched from the familiar BRITA system to ZEROWATER and this really makes a BIG DIFFERENCE! Completely pure water! I will write another article about it soon. Would you like to try ZEROWATER? Then go to their site and enjoy a 5% discount on the whole range with code TAKEYOUTIME (valid until the end of December 2021) Filtered tap water also takes care of our planet and our children and grandchildren. And if you own a BRITA then you have to change the pitcher at least every 2 years anyway, so…
– no excessive salt in your diet & water and tap water without unnecessary toxins that put extra toxic stress on your bosy like PFOS, Lead, Arsenic, medication,… so you really flush out your system with clean water (that’s why I like pure filtered water with ZEROWATER) (watch out: ready-made meals and processed meat products contain a lot of it!)
With these tips, you will already be able to solve a lot of problems. But if you have persistent problems I do recommend that you contact your doctor and don’t ignore the signals from your body.
Do you have questions for me? Feel free to mail them via the contact page or put them in the comments below this article.