Essential oils and Lymphatic Flow
The lymphatic system is a network of vessels through which the lymph drains fluids and waste from cells.
You know that feeling, when you wake up some days feeling puffy? You think it might be in your head, but the reality is, it’s not. That’s right, this is a common symptom of stagnation in the lymphatic system.
Imbalance in the lymphatic system can give rise to all sorts of ailments. However, there are simple protocols you can add to your wellness practice to assure optimum health within the lymphatic system. This includes exercise, movement and hydration. Why not add stimulating and lymph supporting essential oils to this practice for greater results!
The Lymphatic System
The main functions of the lymphatic system include:
- To maintain the body’s fluid levels and expel cellular waste.
- To absorb and distribute fats and fat-soluble nutrients.
- To help fight infections.
The lymphatic system is part of the immune system, and works similar to the cardiovascular system, except it does not rely on a pump, but rather on the motions of muscles and joints.
The lymphatic system manufactures lymphocytes, aka white blood cells, to fight infections and help the body’s detoxification process.
Stagnation and build-up of toxins within the lymphatic system can lead to a variety of imbalances: mental and physical fatigue, brain fog, weight gain, infections, congestion, lymphedema (swelling in tissues) and cancer (NIH, 2014).
Essential Oils for the Lymphatic System
- Grapefruit Essential Oil + Citruses
Grapefruit essential oil has an orange-citrus aroma, and is known to have diuretic and stimulating effects. This is usually the case with most citrus essential oils, such as lemon, bergamot, lime, sweet orange, and lemongrass.
Grapefruit contains a high amount of limonene, which aids in the body’s cleansing capabilities (Dosoky, Noura S, and William N Setzer., 2018), making grapefruit essential oil, alongside other citruses, worth harnessing for stimulating the lymphatic system.
Our Citrus Bliss essential oil blend incorporates the energising aromas of various citrus plants, including lemon, sweet orange, tangerine, bergamot, mandarin, clementine and vanilla to support the body in vitalising energy levels and improving symptoms of stagnation.
- Cypress Essential Oil
A grounding yet stimulating oil, cypress essential oil is anti-inflammatory, decongesting, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal (Selim, Samy A et al., 2014).
Cypress essential oil can strengthen the immune system by calming inflammation and fighting infection, in hand supporting the lymphatic system.
Moreover, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, cypress is known to tonify and activate Qi (life force). Diffuse cypress in your baths and diffuser blends to stimulate the flow within your body, promoting energy and clearing out stagnation.
- Geranium Essential Oil
Geranium essential oil is antiseptic, antidepressant, a mild diuretic and has stimulating effects on the lymphatic system. It has popularly been used to relieve fluid retention, oedema and cellulite (Barclay and Vestey, 2005).
Blend geranium essential oil in your baths, body oils and creams for best results in harnessing this fragrant flower for lymphatic stimulation.
Simple Exercises for Lymphatic Health
There are a variety of exercises that you can incorporate into your wellness practice to help decongest the lymphatic system, promote energy and stimulation, in hand encouraging a healthy lifestyle and mindset.
Such practices include but are not limiting to:
- Movement and exercise: consistent exercise is key to maintaining a healthy lymphatic system. Exercise promotes detoxification and healthy circulation.
- Lymphatic self-massage: lightly massage your body towards one direction: from your feet, going up towards your heart space. Incorporate gentle, upward strokes to help stimulate the lymph nodes and local area. You can add a mixture of lymphatic supporting essential oils to synergise this practice.
- Dry brushing: dry brushing is an Ayurvedic practice that involves stroking the body with a dry brush to promote cellular and blood circulation, lymphatic drainage, immunity, digestion and overall well-being. Practice dry brushing daily, right before your shower for optimum results.
- Stay Hydrated: the lymph nodes are made of mainly water, so that means hydration is key to maintaining adequate lymphatic flow.
- Facial Massage: Say goodbye to puffy eyes and cheeks by practicing a daily facial massage. Get your favourite essential oil serum and start massaging from the inner to the outer parts of the face to promote lymphatic drainage and clear skin. If you don’t want to use your hands for this, a gua sha or jade roller is the perfect companion to decongesting on those puffy days.