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Your gut, your lymphatic system and an anxious stomach

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Those of you that have known me for a while know that I struggle with sugar addiction. Managing temptation and anxiety since March, I see more clearly how our gut health can be improved with lymphatic drainage – it can reduce bloating, calm the enteric nervous system and increase motility. Most of us know that excess sugar or any refined carbohydrate in excess is bad = bacterial overgrowth = bloating and cramping. Did you know that bacteria translocated to the gut lymph nodes can create inflammatory diseases?Symptoms such as low bile acid, gut cramps, chronic nausea – chronic digestive disorders affect our enteric nervous system.

The enteric nervous system regulates the movement of water and electrolytes, defecation and provides a rich nerve supply to your colon. It’s sometimes called our brain-in-the-gut (second brain) because it operates independently of our brain and spinal cord (central nervous system).  Aside from our diet, stress and anxiety are one of the most common causes of stomach problems. Our lymphatic, nervous and immune systems are closely related. Specifically the parasympathetic nervous system is able to stimulate the enteric nerves in order to increase enteric function. What does this mean? 

It means that visceral massage and lymphatic drainage to the abdomen can help if you are chronically constipated, bloated, cramping and anxious – often the symptoms alone feed the anxiety and your GI associated lymphatic tissue is compromised. It needs help and facilitation to do what it is supposed to do.

Think of your lymphatics like water vs. gelatin.  Now think of food dye as nutrients. How much easier is it to get food dye to disperse evenly into water versus stiff gelatin? Not very. If your lymphatics are over taxed by poor diet, lack of movement, lack of water / electrolytes, anxiety, infection or chronic digestive disorder, it’s like the stiff gelatin and your enteric cells won’t easily be delivered nutrients.

Those nutrients are delivered via diffusion across cell membranes at the interstitial fluid or extracellular level – your lymphatics. This is the heart of your lymphatic system’s purpose – to protect your body from illness causing invaders, maintain fluid levels and absorb digestive tract fats and bacteria.  Manual lymphatic drainage helps gently without intense liver/colon detox therapy.  What else would help? Infrared sauna, rebounding, daily dry brushing, inversion.  Herbals to cleanse the lymphatics such as dandelion root, cleavers, echinacea, fig wort, burdock, rhubarb root, sheet sorel, oregon grape and red clover. 

As the over-taxing is eliminated, your lymph will move more freely and healthy balance will be stimulated. Walking and any cardio exercise will increase lymphatic movement 3 fold. Rebounding just 5 min/day will give you a 5 fold increase in lymphatic movement and eliminate excess estrogens to boot. It takes effort to change our selves for the better, reduce anxiety and other impacts on our gut health. If you would like to see how manual lymphatic drainage can help you, set up an appointment with me and we can begin. Abdominal MLD is especially deeply soothing. You will be glad you discovered this treatment because it’s a systemic healer, not just for what I spoke about here. I look forward to seeing you!
Nina Capobianco, LMT, CMLDT

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