06 Oct 2011 Deep breathing for lymphatic drainage
Your Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) therapist might have told you that deep breathing is the easiest and cheapest way to encourage lymph flow. The lymphatic system – essential as a waste disposal system – doesn’t have a pump like the blood circulation has the heart. So lymphatic circulation relies on other factors, like muscle movement (hence the importance of regular exercise), your arterial pulse or change of pressure in the thorax – achieved with deep breathing!
The Macmillan website suggests a nice and simple, easily done breathing exercise:
- Sit upright in a comfortable chair or lie on your bed with your knees slightly bent. Rest your hands on your ribs.
- Take deep breaths to relax.
- As you breathe in, direct the air down to your tummy (abdomen), which you will feel rising under your hands.
- Breathe out slowly by ‘sighing’ the air out. While breathing out, let your abdomen relax in again.
- Do the deep breathing exercises five times.
- Have a short rest before getting up to avoid getting dizzy.
You might find that deep breathing also doubles as a great relaxation exercise. You might already have practised Pranayama in Yoga. Or you might have practised deep breathing to help you go to sleep.
Or you might just ask, what’s all this fuss? Since you breathe all the time. Do you need to be taught to breathe? Perhaps not. Perhaps you just need to be reminded about conscious breathing. Only a month ago, our guest, breathwork practitioner Judith Davis wrote a short feature on Akana’s Blog about the art of Conscious Breathing.