Common infections like strep throat, ear infections, mononucleosis, and measles are often accompanied by swollen lymph nodes, says Mayo Clinic. As NHL Cyberfamily explains, lymph nodes are important because they filter out dead bacteria, viruses, and other dead tissue. We usually do not notice our lymph nodes, but when the immune system is activated, the lymph nodes produce lots of white blood cells and they consequentially swell.
Usually, the lymph nodes return to normal when the infection itself heals. But this doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't employ certain home remedies to reduce the swelling and speed up the healing process. Continue reading to learn the 6 best exercises and self-massages for swollen lymph nodes.
1. Self Lymphatic Drainage Massage
Heather Wibbles, LMT demonstrates the easy, relief-bringing massage you can do on yourself to reduce swelling in the lymph nodes in the neck and head. To begin, place the ring finger of each hand on the bump on the collarbone. Slide the hands over the collarbone and lightly pump 50 to 100 times. Next, place the flat part of the fingers and top part of the palm on either side of the neck and gently pull down 50 times. Now, cup your hands behind the neck and pull in a downwards motion for another count of 50. Lastly, position your hands so the ears are between the third and fourth finger, and using light pressure, pull down 50 times.
2. Downward Facing Dog
Livestrong advocates inverted yoga poses, like downward facing dog, to stimulate the flow of lymphatic fluid and reduce swelling in the nodes located in the neck. It is important to breath slowly and deeply through the nose for 10 to 20 counts while performing this pose.
3. Lion Pose
Although you may feel a bit funny performing this pose, Livestrong says it is one of the most effective poses for strengthening the lymph nodes in the neck. As the Howcast video demonstrates, the facial pose is equally as important as the body position.
4. Standing Forward Bend
Another inversion that you can perform anytime anywhere is standing forward bend. Livestrong recommends staying in this pose for a full 2- 5 minutes, all the while breathing deeply, for best results.
5. Dry Brushing
A popular Traditional Chinese Medicine method for stimulating the lymphatic system is dry brushing. To do this at home, simply use a coarse brush to brush the skin in , moving in the direction toward the heart. GreenSmoothieGirl demonstrates how to perform this technique on every part of the body.
6. Trampoline Jumping
One of the best (and most fun!) ways to pump lymphatic fluid throughout the body is to jump on a trampoline for 10 to 30 minutes, says The Chalkboard Mag. For inspiration on how to jump for the best results, watch the above video from LTYnyc.
It is important to note that if the lymph node swell without any underlying condition, it is important to contact your doctor. Mayo Clinic warns you should also seek medical attention if the lymph nodes feel hard or rubbery to the touch or are accompanied by a persistent fever, night sweats, or unexplained weight loss.
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