Late summer is a great time to move lymph. Actually, most times are good times.
Lymph is a fluid in our body critical to our wellness. It is an active carrier of the chemicals and cells that conduct out our immune response. Our lymph system is also a delivery as well as the sewer and recycling system for our body.
Rasa—meaning lymph—carries wastes (malas) from of the tissues of the body to the digestive tract and kidneys, then out of the body.
We can all feel the shift in seasons. In the northern hemisphere cleaning the lymph at this transition helps move the heat of summer from pitta season out to get ready for the dryness of vata season. Down under, clearing lymph can begin to move out that boggy feeling of late winter and help minimize spring colds.
Remember lymph care as part of self care. Keeping the rasa flowing freely prevents issues in the lymph nodes the vessels that filter the waste and route it out of the body in our urine, sweat and feces.
Pure, clean lymph is primarily water, sugar nutrients, immune factors and electrolytes. Rasa delivers these staples to the cells then picks up waste.
Lymph varies in consistency from tears to dry heavy mucous, depending on a bunch of factors including the level of our hydration and the levels of waste it is carrying.
We regularly take care of the sewer system for our home. We have it pumped it, and add enzymes to help break down waste and keep water flowing. Municipal water treatment plants have regular and seasonal maintenance.
Our body’s sewer system also requires support from time to time to prevent the toxic build up of ama(waste).
Based on water, rasa dhatu(the “tissue” of lymph, as it known in Ayurveda) has a number of characteristics of the water element. It is cold, heavy, smooth, stable, cloudy and dull. These characteristics can go out of balance and cause problems. Everyone has suffered from a stuffed nose with the mucous too thick to move!
Clogged lymph leads to a build-up of ama and inflammation in the body, pain and disease.
1. Move more.
Movement is the natural pumping system for lymph. The heart pumps blood, rhakta dhatu, but the lymph has its own transport vessels and no direct pump. Walking, running, swimming, yoga gets your muscles moving.
Muscle movement massages lymph vessels stimulating flow. Movement supports vyana vayu in transporting lymph throughout the body. When we exercise it triggers our cells to eject waste in a natural detox process called autophagy. Rasa in flow transports this waste for clean up and departure.
2. Drink more.
Try warm water with a pinch of mineral salt, which keeps our hydration levels up and the flow of lymph smooth and easy.
3. Sweat more.
Sweat is an underutilized exit route for waste. Be sure to follow #2 as well.
4. Dry brush and massage regularly.
Dry brushing and massaging move lymph under the surface of the skin for more consistent processing
An Ayurvedic daily routine includes several of these options to keep things flowing. Add seasonal cleanses as a key way to do a periodic deeper cleaning for the lymph system. Pancha Karma goes in deep as well.
Stagnant lymph is a sign of illness. Healthy lymph is part of a balanced healthy immune response and body.
How do you support healthy rasa?
1. Halpern, Mark Dr.,“Rasa Dhatu: A closer Look”, 2014. http://www.ayurvedacollege.com/articles/drhalpern/Rasa%20Dhatu.
2. Delzell Emily, “The Science of Exercise”, Arthritis Today, 2015, July/August Vol 30; No. 4: 53-56.
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