There are days when I go to sweep my house, and I’m amazed by the dust and dirt that has accumulated in the corners. If we could see inside our bodies, we might be shocked by the cellular ‘dust and dirt’ that has piled up.
Our bodies are brilliantly designed, but modern living can leave our insides a little like those corners of the house. Our circulatory system generously delivers oxygen and nutrients to our cells. The driving factor of this delivery is our heart. The other part of our circulatory system is the one that removes the waste created by our cells as they make use of those nutrients.
Waste removal happens through the lymphatic system. Unfortunately, we don’t have a pump for that system, and like the rest of our circulation, it’s efficiency goes down as we age. Jame Heskett, MD founded The Wellpath, a wellness center in New York City, and has recently released a book by the same name. Heskett cautions that a poorly functioning lymph system is a recipe for increased aging because it causes “oxidative stress, hormonal imbalance and shortened telomeres.”
We tend to be more sedentary than our ancestors, and one of the downfalls of that is that our circulatory system, especially our lymphatic system, is not able to get the waste out of our bodies as optimally as it should. Heskett offers these simple daily practices for expanding and strengthening the network of vessels that carry your blood and lymph:
- Drink warm lemon water in the morning. Heskett suggests that this be the first thing you put in your body. By hydrating your system, you increase the flow of fluids; having warm water allows the vessels in your body to expand and prepare for the work of the day.
- Breathe deeply. Before you get out of bed, slowly inhale, allowing your belly to rise, exhale and draw your belly in, squeezing out every last drop of breath. Activating your diaphragm helps to create a flow in your lymphatic system, and you’ll start your day full of oxygen.
- Dry brush. Just before getting in the shower, use a dry brush to sweep your entire body, always brushing towards the heart. Dry brushing aids in both blood circulation and lymph movement.
Heskett offers more high tech options, but insists that these simple steps, done consistently for a length of time, (her program specifies 8 weeks), will make a big difference. She suggests starting slowly so you can build your habits without feeling overwhelmed, and to, “picture your insides like a clean city street.” I’m already looking forward to my next sweep.