Almost everyone who gets on my table is experiencing an exceedingly high stress level in their life. It can be rooted in any number of issues: the health concern that brought them to see me, another family issue, work (a lot!), a past trauma, or just trying to survive in today’s fast-paced world. Most of us can agree – it’s hectic out there!
What many of them don’t realize is that stress can have a significant impact on the lymphatic system. If you’ve been reading my blogs or watching my videos on IG (@pro_lymph_therapy), you know that the lymphatic system is responsible for removing waste, toxins, and excess fluid from the body. It also plays a critical role in maintaining the body's immune system (blood + lymph = immune system). Stress can affect the lymphatic system in several ways:
Reduced Lymphatic Flow: Stress can cause constriction of the blood vessels and lymphatic vessels, which can reduce lymphatic flow. Reduced lymphatic flow can lead to the accumulation of waste, toxins, and excess fluid in the body, which is never a good thing, and can compromise the immune system's ability to function properly.
Increased Inflammation: Chronic stress can lead to increased inflammation throughout the body, which can cause damage to lymphatic vessels and impair lymphatic function.
Immune System Suppression: Chronic stress can also suppress the immune system, which can impair the lymphatic system's ability to fight off infections and remove toxins from the body. I believe this is more prevalent than most people realize and can help explain so many ‘unexplainable’ symptoms and conditions.
Lymph Node Swelling: Stress can cause the lymph nodes to swell, which can be a sign of the lymphatic system's response to infection, inflammation, or injury. If stress continues for an extended period, the swelling may become chronic, and this can cause damage to the lymphatic system.
Overall, chronic stress can have negative effects on the lymphatic system, which can in turn lead to a range of health problems. My observation is that stress can also be a major factor in one’s ability to heal properly, and that it should be considered when drafting a wellness plan. In other words, stress reduction should be part of the healing protocol, not something that will be addressed at some point in the future, after the health crisis has been mitigated.
Some strategies for managing stress, such as earthing and deep breathing (see previous blog posts), exercise, and meditation, may help to support the health of the lymphatic system and promote overall well-being. Stay tuned for more detailed ideas on how to manage your stress levels.
Until then, just breathe!