Feeling sluggish or run-down? As we get closer to the seasonal change many of us need a boost for our lymphatics. Here is an exercise from Kristin Schwengel, our Lymphatic Drainage therapist, that combines stretching with physical movement to open up the lymphatic pathways and stimulate flow through the system. This exercise is very gentle, beneficial for most individuals, and should never be painful.
Floor Angel Technique:
- Lie on your back and place a pillow or folded blanket so that your head, neck and shoulder blades are on the pillow, with your arms off the pillow and down by your sides. You can leave your legs straight or bend the knees, whichever is more comfortable. The lower ribs should feel as though they are opening, dropping off the edge of the pillow to the floor (if you’re on a pillow and it feels uncomfortable, try a flatter pillow or a blanket).
- Keep your palms turned up toward the ceiling with the backs of the hands resting easily on the floor and allow your chest and ribs to open. This position opens the major pathways of the lymphatics along the ribs and up the sternum, as well as the nodes in the armpits. Relax into this stretch for at least a minute or two.
- After you’ve relaxed into the stretch you can add movement by trying to keep the backs of the hands in contact with the floor while you gently sweep your arms up from your sides to meet at the top of the head, then bring the arms back down, as though making a snow angel. Your arms might not touch overhead – just move within your comfortable range and don’t overdo it. Gently and slowly sweep the arms up and down for a minute or two. This motion stimulates lymphatic flow through the pathways along the ribs and in the armpits.
This combination of stretch and movement helps open up and stimulate movement in your lymphatic system, giving a boost to your body’s natural ‘vacuum cleaner’. A little goes a long way – just a few minutes of targeted stretches and exercises can boost your energy and support your immune system.