Did you know that the human body has a circulatory system that circulates blood; but then we have a second system called the lymphatic system that pumps up to 8 Liters of fluid per day! The lymphatics filter our blood of bacteria, viruses and abnormal cells.
Many of us are familiar with feeling our lymph nodes swell as we become sick. The tonsils are lymph nodes. There are lymph nodes down the front and back of the neck. There are many lymph nodes under both armpits. There is a high number of lymph nodes at the level of the groin. However, 80% of our lymph nodes reside in the Small Intestine as GALT (Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue)!
During this current Pandemic and time of self-quarantine, many speak of keeping the immune system high, however, most do not know what exactly the immune system is, where it is, and what it entails.
If 80% of our immune protection resides in our gut as GALT, it is therefore extremely important to keep the gut extremely healthy during times of stress, heightened fear states and viral outbreaks. As easy as it may seem to eat whatever you feel like to self soothe while on quarantine, it is now more important than ever to be mindful of your diet. Attempt to use your plate as your tool of measurement. Half the plate should be greens and veggies, ¼ of the plate protein; ¼ of the plate grains/carbs. Try to make a concerted effort to reduce white/brown sugar during this time; minimize processed foods; minimize junk food, chips, candy, ice cream, etc. In short, treat your gut like gold. It will reward you in huge dividends, not just in times like this, but for years to come.
Being stuck in a warm house; likely less movement and exercise than ever, our lymph system is at risk of becoming stuck while in quarantine. The lymphatic system needs to move in order to keep our immune system primed and our systems detoxed. The lymph moves always towards the heart. Legs up to the heart; arm to the heart; and head down to the heart. The lymphatic system is stimulated with temperature jumps such as hot too cold. The lymphatics are also stimulated by movement, the pumping of muscles moves the lymphatics; jumping moves the lymphatics.
There are three easy lifestyle techniques we can collectively include to keep our lymph pumping and immune systems primed:
- Dry skin brushing: Takes 45 seconds, best to do before bed. Requires a sea sponge; can use a face towel. With light feather-like strokes, stroke from the feet up each leg to the heart; each arm to the heart; down the neck to the heart. These light-light strokes on the skin with the sponge triggers the lymphatics to flow.
- Castor Oil Packs: 45-60 minutes at night. Requires unbleached cotton flannel and Hexane-free Castor Oil. Drizzle 1-2 tbsps of Castor oil onto the flannel. Flannel should be folded into two. Place flannel oil side down, onto the bare abdomen (below rib cage to above hip bones). Place an old towel on the flannel, and a hot water bottle on top of the towel. Lie there for 45-60 min. Give a quick wipe after time is complete. Fold up the flannel and put in a glass container. Do not wash, and the next night repeat with oil again. Castor oil is absorbed directly from the skin and stimulates gut peristalsis and pumps the GALT. Not encouraged during menstrual flow.
- Hot/Cold showers: Every time you take a shower. Takes 3 minutes at the end of the shower. Have your normal shower, the last 2 minutes increase the heat so it is comfortable but hot. Then turn the hot water off, and stand under the water. Start with 10 seconds and work up to 60 seconds. Always finish with cold. Ensure deep breathing during the cold shower. Not encouraged during menstrual flow; high or low blood pressure; predisposition to faint; cardiovascular issues. At the end of the shower you will feel warm and invigorated!
These tips are INCREDIBLY powerful. Many will dismiss them for the fact that they require simply lifestyle changes. They do not require equipment, nor are there supplements involved. What it does require is time, dedication, repetition and mastery.
Try one and work towards trying them all. Please post on the Facebook group how you felt! We would love to hear your feedback.
Stay healthy! Dr. Neetu