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Natural Awakenings Milwaukee

Movement Is Medicine

Nov 27, 2020 09:30AM ● By Emily Yenor
It is important, now more than ever, to focus on all that we can do to support our immune health and resiliency. Many would not expect muscle movement to contribute to our immune system. However, not only do our muscles help align our skeleton and move our bones and joints from head to toe, they serve as pumps for our lymphatic system. Maximizing our muscular system’s efficiency in moving the body also optimizes the movement and drainage of lymphatic fluid. This leads to the elimination of more toxins and waste products from of the body, and boosts our immune health.

An article published in October 2018 in the journal Nature Reviews Cardiology highlights the importance of the lymph, both in maintaining homeostasis and immune cell transport as well as in the movement and uptake of lipids. Compromised lymph can result in lymphedema, a condition in which swelling results from excessive lymph build-up. This build-up can impair immune function.

Massage and exercise are two ways that we can purposefully assist the body in this detoxifying process and help it fight any virus, bug or illness that comes our way.

There are various exercise and massage modalities that promote lymph drainage and immune health. Try these simple ways to improve lymph drainage:

Take a walk around the house, block or neighborhood to naturally get muscles pumping and build immunity.

Lie down on the floor to take pressure off of the postural muscles in the spine. This causes the negative effects of gravity to melt away, reducing tension held in the shoulders and hips, and allows the lymph to flow more freely.

Gently bounce on a rebounder or small trampoline for a few minutes a day. This can help get lymph flowing throughout the body.
Emily Yenor is a physical therapist and muscle specialist at 1212 Bodyworks, in Brookfield. She helps her clients maximize their muscle system function in order to move better and improve immune health. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation, visit