s2 e11: Intro to lymph flow with leah

In this episode, we are covering a topic I’ve been learning more and more about and has not stopped amazing me and that is the lymphatic system! I’m joined by Leah Levitan. 

Leah is a licensed massage therapist, educator, and certified lymphatic drainage specialist. In her Austin clinic, she supports and works with women on all sorts of unique healing journeys. From mold toxicity to gut health, and even post-operative care. She founded Lymph Love Club in 2020 and began sharing her lymph moving tips and tricks on social media as a resource for her clients to support their lymphatic health outside of the work they were doing 1:1. The response from women all over the world was overwhelming and she knew she had to get the word out. Now she’s teaching online courses and in-person workshops on how easy it is to keep that healing river flowing, right from home! Her philosophy and approach is simple. Keep the good stuff circulating and get the bad stuff out. She says “In order to be in radiant health, we have to support and work with the body on every level. Our lymphatic system has an intimate relationship with every other system in our body and is designed to do just that.”
The goal of this episode is to give you an introduction to the lymphatic system and some ways you can start supporting your lymph today. 

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Myofascial release and lymph video
Dry brushing for arms
Dry brushing for legs
Free Training: Optimizing Hormone Health with Mineral Balance
Mineral Imbalance Quiz

Amanda Montalvo 0:00
Hey, this is Amanda Women’s Health dietitian. And I’m Emily nutritional therapy practitioner and this is the RU menstrual podcast where we help you navigate the confusing world of women’s hormones in teach you how to have healthy periods. Each week we will be diving into a different topic on women’s health and sharing our perspective using nutrition, email physiology and metabolic health. Our goal is to help you wade through conflicting health information and empower you on your healing journey. We hope you enjoy it

in this episode, we are covering a topic I’ve been learning more and more about and has honestly not stopped amazing me since I’ve dug into it and that is the lymphatic system. I am joined by Leah from limb love club on Instagram. Leah is a licensed massage therapist, educator and certified lymphatic drainage specialist in her Austin clinic. She supports and works with women on all sorts of unique healing journeys from mold toxicity to gut health and even post operative care. She founded lymph love Club in 2020, and began sharing her lymph moving tips and tricks on social media as a resource for her clients support to support their lymphatic health outside of the work that we’re doing one on one. And if you don’t follow me on Instagram, you will by the end of this podcast episode, there’s funds from women all over the world was overwhelming. And she knew she had to get the word out that now she’s teaching online courses and in person workshops on how easy it is to keep that healing river flowing right from her home. Her philosophy and approach is simple, keep the good stuff circulating and get the bad stuff out. She says in order to be radiant health, we have to support and work with the body on every level, our lymphatic system has an intimate relationship with every other system in the body. And it’s designed to do just that. And that’s really what I hope everyone learned from this episode is how important the lymphatic system how it can touch all the different systems of the body, and how you guys can hopefully start supporting your lymph today. So thank you so much for being here with me, Leah and agreed to do this interview. I’m very excited to dig into all this with you. Yeah, thank you so much for having me. And thank you for your content. I feel like since we’ve met, I’ve just learned so much. And it’s helped me serve my clients better. Why don’t you talk a little bit more about your own healing journey, because you’ve been on quite the healing journey. And I feel like that that must shape the work that you’re doing today. And I know before we even started recording, we were talking about how like your practice has evolved so much and to focus so much on length now, can you give everyone an idea of kind of like what you’ve been through and why you’ve made that shift. So a lot of changes have been made for me in my body. But the reason that I got into the lymphatic system is actually because of some family members that were dealing with chronic conditions. My mom, you know, she’s got some lymphatic stuff. She also is a breast cancer survivor. So that kind of hit home for me because when we think lymph, we think cancer. And it’s not, you know, it’s not always the case. But yeah, my brother has like a rare autoimmune condition. So as a massage therapist, just working with the muscles, tendons and ligaments, I wasn’t really able to help them, you know, my mom got a really rare parasite. And the,

Leah 3:29
you know, the medication that she took to kill it definitely wiped out her microbiome. So I was learning a lot about how to heal the gut and stuff like that, because the doctors that she was seeing, were not really able to help her. And I think she was sick a lot longer than she needed to be. But she’s doing better now. That’s good. That’s very interesting. What about your own healing journey? And what that has looked like I feel like you’ve had a pretty big health transformation that I know you share about on your Instagram quite a bit. Oh, yeah. So I don’t have a chronic condition. I used to have chronic pain. And I think a lot of that came from poor nutrition, just not really supporting my body not having a good relationship with my body definitely had a little bit of you know, body dysmorphia, at the beginning of the pandemic that was kind of like my lowest, maybe about six months in I started going to therapy and kind of healing some of these past traumas with drug use and things like that. And it just, it really transformed working with people that have more severe things going on in their body. It kind of led me to realize man, not everything’s going great in my body. My ankles are swelling and you know, I’m depressed and fatigue and brain fog. I also have ADHD and I find that supporting my lymphatic health has just checked all of the boxes for anything that wasn’t working for me 100% And, and so I just I feel like I’m in

Amanda Montalvo 5:00
I don’t know, I just feel really good. You’re definitely like, I feel like when I whenever I talk to you, whenever I look at your content, Instagram or anything, like you, you come across as like this like glowing vibrant, like very special person. So I can’t picture you any other way. It’s like hard to even like imagine you got into the limb stuff, especially like with your mom, the history of breast cancer and everything. When you started like working with your mom and your brother with the autoimmune stuff and lamp. Did you start to experiment on yourself to and notice any changes? Absolutely. So I feel I like to say that my mom was like my first virtual lymphatic coaching person.

Leah 5:40
And we would FaceTime you know, and I’d be like, hey, is there like a little pocket of fluid right here under your cheekbone? And you know, she took her finger and just was like, oh, it’s tender. That feels very tender. How did you see that? And I was just like, well, I can kind of see fluid accumulation now, I guess. And so I just kind of walked her through how to drain that fluid under her cheek. And I was thinking to myself, because she lives in North Carolina. And I just was like, Man, I just move some fluid from Texas all the way to North Carolina. And that’s just kind of where I got the idea for, for the just opening the idea, the possibility that I could help somebody from so far away.

Amanda Montalvo 6:29
That’s really cool. And I’m sure that that was helpful for her too. Because it’s like, I feel like when you’re at the point where you already have that much lymph buildup like that fluid buildup, and it’s noticeable. It’s like those are the people that really really benefit from getting that

Leah 6:46
lymph moving. Now I just make sure that she’s you know, walking every day and using the rebounder. I got her the little trampoline.

Amanda Montalvo 6:56
Oh, I love it. So let’s dig into like what the lymphatic system actually is. I think some people might know, but this is the first time we’re covering it on the podcast. So can you give us like a background on like, what it is and why we should care about it? Absolutely.

Leah 7:12
It’s kind of like a little ocean inside of us. I know that you’re a stop chasing pain fan. And Dr. Perry always kind of compares it to an aquarium, and our lymphatic fluid. As you know it’s full of protein, it’s salty, it’s mostly water. So it definitely is that little healing river healing ocean. So lymph definitely moves throughout all these little pipes in our body. And it’s so heavily concentrated that lymphatic vessels are actually three hair weights apart. So if you can just imagine a whole inner web, you know, this 3d mesh matrix that creates fluid and pulls it into deeper channels throughout the body. That is how immune cells travel throughout the body hormones and then also toxins so that it can be processed through the elimination organs and leave our body safely, but then also deliver nutrients to the cells of our body. So really important for cellular health and just regeneration of tissue.

Amanda Montalvo 8:16
And the lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump correct is this kind of like what makes it different from other systems in the body?

Leah 8:23
Absolutely, there’s no pump. Even though blood and lymph always work together. There’s just other ways that it gets around the nervous system being one of them, our breath, our diaphragm actually creates a nice little syringe like movement. They only move in little one way channels, but those little one way channels are lined with smooth muscle. And so the nervous system activates that smooth muscle and it can kind of slowly inch kind of like a caterpillar it like inches, the fluid one way so that it can circulate back into the bloodstream.

Amanda Montalvo 9:00
That’s a really good way to think about it with the lamp so it doesn’t have a pump, but we have these, you know, built in obviously mechanisms to get it moving throughout the body. It’s really important. It’s moving, you know, white blood cells immune system around hormones, nutrients, toxins, where I feel like a lot of people think of lymph nodes and having like a swollen lymph node when they think of the lymphatic system, where are our lymph nodes. They’re

Leah 9:30
strategically placed around major joints. So in the armpits knee pits, got some in the elbow pits, and in the wrist here, but of the six to 700 lymph nodes that we have in our body. A third of them about 200 are in the head and neck. So if that tells you how much energy our brain uses, with the placement there of all those lymph nodes, that’s why brain fog is such a common you know Top of the list symptom, as like a good indicator of how well someone’s limp might be flowing.

Amanda Montalvo 10:07
Oh, that’s really interesting. And because I know one thing that you talk about a lot is even just like opening up, and like focusing on the head and neck first, when you’re starting to support the lymphatic system or doing any sort of lymph work, is that because there’s so many lymph nodes in that area? I mean, even I learned from you when doing any sort of lymph work, is it because of all those lymph nodes and where they’re located? Well,

Leah 10:34
it’s also because the veins that the lymph actually goes back into the bloodstream is right behind the collarbones. So kind of opening that area in the clavicle is, you know, it allows for that lymph to actually get back into the bloodstream. So when we skip that step, we’re really missing out on that crucial component.

Amanda Montalvo 10:57
So it’s not just necessarily like moving lymph in a certain direction or anything in the body, it’s also just kind of activating that specific area of those veins so that it can drain properly. Yeah, absolutely. Okay, so that’s kind of our lymph system, it’s all over. But it’s primarily, you know, located in that head and neck area, that’s where a lot of the important lymph nodes are, and especially the specific things that are going to get it back into the bloodstream. So how does it impact the other systems of our body,

Leah 11:31
so works with the cardiovascular system in regards to clearing cholesterol, so the liver can kind of process it just keeps plaque from building up in our veins, and our in the arteries there. And there’s also a brain health component. So neurologically, we’ve got our own lymphatic system in the brain called the glymphatic system. And that’s another reason for the heavy concentration of lymph nodes in the head and neck, is because all of the the lymph in the brain eventually drains to those deep cervical lymph nodes. And so it just, you know, we can look forward to more science that’s going to backup this idea of preventing neurological diseases.

Amanda Montalvo 12:20
So interesting. And I know you’ve, you have some cool posts on the glymphatic system on your Instagram,

Leah 12:27
the gut health stuff is important. I was just gonna say the gut, the gut component, there is like 70%, you know, of our immune system, we’ve got a lot of lymphoid tissue that line the inside of the intestines. So, you know, when things like leaky gut occur, that’s when the immune cells are, are having the leakage of that nutrient there. They’re kind of assuming that they’re invaders. And so that’s when they kind of attack, things that don’t need to be attacked, and the gut, the gut, stuff gets off really quick. They’re

Amanda Montalvo 13:04
interesting, don’t we have a good amount of lymph nodes concentrated in like our abdomen area?

Leah 13:11
Yeah, we’ve got a bunch of pelvic lymph nodes as well. The ones that are stationed like at the tops of the hips, those drain into deeper pelvic lymph nodes, and then we’ve got some that line, you know, the inside of the spine, and they’re either in clusters or in chains.

Amanda Montalvo 13:30
Okay, yeah, cuz I remember when you, you taught a class inside my membership for all the ladies in there, and they loved it. And one of the self kind of lymph portions, massage portions was of the abdomen. And I was like, Oh, I was like, That’s really interesting. And I remember you talking about that, and how like that can be really helpful if you have whether you have digestive issues or not. And I think you did talk about like gut health, having like a poor gut, health history, immune system, all that stuff. So it makes sense if you can support that area that can help with the lymph and possibly with things like leaky gut,

Leah 14:04
because the lymphatic system is really responsible for taming inflammation. So, you know, if there’s poor blood flow due to you know, how much we sit all day and working in front of computers, bad blood flow is going to be bad limb flow. So that nice little abdominal massage just ensures that everything’s moving freely. And with how common C sections are a lot of women that I see have cesarean sections. And so we’re you know, we’re doing some scar tissue work to loosen that stuff up because it makes it really hard for lymphatic fluid to to pass through.

Amanda Montalvo 14:46
Oh, that’s so interesting. And then you have all those lymph nodes in that pelvic area. So I’m sure that can be like very problematic.

Leah 14:55
Yeah, yeah. So it’s good to loosen that stuff up. I tell people to start working Another C section scars as soon as as soon as they’re heal, because the sooner that you can kind of soften that tissue or even, you know, ask your massage therapist to work on it, the more beneficial it will be because we can definitely lymphatic drainage when applied, you know, post operatively can repair lymphatic vessels that were severed during surgery and reduce the possibility for the development of that scar tissue.

Amanda Montalvo 15:28
And so do you find it sounds like limb support would be good after any surgery? Yeah, I do a lot of post operative care. And it’s because you’re getting those nutrients, many different kinds and like immune cells there,

Leah 15:41
that’s part of it, I mean, to help with the healing process in terms of just how regenerative lymphatic is, but it also helps with the swelling, because it’s so painful after surgery, and there’s so much fluid present. You know, that’s why people have the little drainage tubes to like, really get everything out of the body. It just really facilitates that healing speeds it up. And yeah, like I said, the scar tissue and the lymphatic vessels, if you can get lymphatic drainage postoperatively, like within two to five months of surgery, you you the chances of repairing those lymphatic vessels are much higher.

Amanda Montalvo 16:18
That’s really cool. And the in something that you don’t often think about is how is this impacting my lymphatic system, depending on like type surgery you’re getting?

Leah 16:26
Yeah, or just like the future of the lymphatic system, which is why so many, you know, breast cancer surgeries with a mastectomy where they’re removing lymph nodes, sometimes women will often get, you know, either lymphedema or just swelling in that limb, because their body is just kind of always going to be trying to keep up with that fluid.

Amanda Montalvo 16:48
And what can they Is there anything you can do is it basically so if you if you start supporting lymphatic drainage within that two to five month timeframe, like you just said, that will help reduce that for them in the future?

Leah 17:01
Yeah, for sure. And there’s also so there’s a lot of women, that will go to a physical therapist who does lymphatic drainage, or specializes in lymphedema, and those people are super beneficial to see after breast, you know, breast reconstruction and the mastectomy part because it’s also important to kind of rebalance those muscles and recalibrate everything. So it’s kind of like a one stop shop, I always try to send my breast cancer people to, you know, physical therapists that just really specialize in that. And I think that’s a really cool niche.

Amanda Montalvo 17:39
Yeah, it’s, it’s like, I mean, it’s, I wish it were standard of care, you know, for these women to support them after X. It sounds like it’s exactly what they need. Yeah,

Leah 17:47
one in five women after breast cancer surgery will develop lymphedema. And so it’s, it’s one of those things where it’s like after you’ve survived, now, you have to consider, you know, having a lymphatic system problem.

Amanda Montalvo 18:02
And like, how can you thrive? How can you thrive after all of it, like your mind and body has been through from that journey? So you mentioned brain fog is like a really common symptom of like, have needing some lymphatic system support? What are some other symptoms that people might be able to kind of resonate with?

Leah 18:21
Yeah, so you know, chronic fatigue, if you’re getting adequate sleep, and you’re just always tired, that’s a good, that’s a good sign that there might be something going on there. When you wake up and you’re feeling really stiff, really achy, sore, you know, a lot of good regenerative stuff happens when we sleep in regards to the lymphatic system. So, you know, it’s not just like, Oh, I’m getting older, swelling in the hands and feet, or like the lower legs, maybe varicose veins, acne, as you know, you know, our skin is always mirroring what’s what’s going on inside. So skin health is brain health, they skin and brain talk to each other. They come from the same sheet of cells in utero. And trying to think of what else some good stuff.

Amanda Montalvo 19:10
Good stuff always right. I feel like that is like such a big and because we have lymph nodes all over. It’s not like they’re just in one area of the body. It makes sense that it could show up in so many different places.

Leah 19:23
And it’ll show up in the lymph nodes to where you’ve got swelling, usually in the head and neck where you’re just like, man, it just feels tender, which is why I always encourage people to touch themselves.

Amanda Montalvo 19:38
Which I and we’ll and we’ll get into that when we talk a little bit more of like applying these things and how we can support our lymph what would slow down someone’s lymphatic system like I know we talked about breast cancer specifically and having some lymph nodes removed. I believe that stress plays a big role and like because you talked about like how our breath and our diaphragm can impacted our nervous system impacts the muscle to shoe that’s going to impact how lymph like flows through the body. What are some other areas that are going to impact that lymphatic flow?

Leah 20:07
Yeah. So, you know, because the nervous system does play a part in how that lymphatic fluid was mobilized stress is such a big one. There are certain things that we can go over later, where you can actually dilate your lymphatic vessels there, we do have some control over how well our lymphatic fluid flows, which is really cool. Nutrition is a big part of it. You know, as you know, those long chain fatty, there’s some fat that kind of circulates through the lymph system to get it to the liver to be processed. And, you know, just really leaning into leaning into those foods that are going to support the lymphatic is a huge one.

Amanda Montalvo 20:55
So we talked about how different like the nervous system breath, that sort of thing can impact lymphatic flow. I’m very curious to know more about how stress impacts lymphatic flow, but what are the different things you know, in our lives that are going to impact how well our lymph fluid is flowing?

Leah 21:15
Yeah, so there’s a few different ways that really, you know, support but also influence the way that our lymphatic fluid moves. So without the pump, it’s very reliant on muscle activation. So we really need to move our bodies when we activate the muscles, it really helps to push that fluid further down. Also, the negative pressure in the chest with the diaphragm, so when we breathe, that really creates a pump, and the viscosity of our lymph, you know, if you’re thinking in terms of water, and we there have, we want, we want crystal clear Bahama beach water, lymphatic fluid, but sometimes we get a murky, stagnant, thick, lymphatic fluid. And a lot of that can be contributed through nutrition, just due to the fact that the lymphatic system does carry fat through it and delivers it to the liver to be processed.

Amanda Montalvo 22:13
That’s really interesting. And so have you seen stress specifically? Because obviously, that’s going to impact our nervous system, have you seen that, like have a big impact on how well someone is able to get that lymphatic fluid moving, or maybe even like how they respond if someone’s working with you how they respond to lymphatic massage?

Leah 22:38
Absolutely, so making you know, making changes to the nervous system really dilates those lymphatic vessels and increases the amount of flow. And a lot of times when we just are experiencing chronic stress in our body, it can manifest as you know, muscle tension. And so when our fascia or connective tissue that kind of gives us our shape and our form, when that stuff gets tight. It’s really a response to the nervous system. And so it makes it really hard for blood and, and lymph to flow freely. And that’s why I do I do incorporate some myofascial release into my lymphatic work, I always release people’s diaphragm. And I always, you know, open open up the fascia and the head and neck. Yeah, for sure.

Amanda Montalvo 23:28
I’m gonna link a you have an IG TV, on fascia. And really, I think it’s it was mostly just like the head and neck area. And doing that before you do the lymphatic stuff. Because obviously, like you taught us in the class and how to do head neck, lymphatic drainage, but I was like very new to the fascia release. And it was so simple. I couldn’t believe I’ll link it in the show notes. It’s a really good one. But it felt really good. And now I do it each time just like a little bit like before I do the actual like head and neck flow.

Leah 24:04
Yeah, it doesn’t take long. You know, sometimes it might take longer than others, but it just, it feels intuitive. But it’s not just like stretching the muscles. It’s kind of stretching the birthday suit.

Amanda Montalvo 24:18
Yeah, and I think that’s what I don’t know, you make it very approachable in your videos and stuff. And when you taught that lesson in the class, like, it’s like you’re like, Okay, you just want to know like the basic principles of limp and how it moves in the body. Like then you can start kind of following your intuition a little bit more as far as like actual doing the actually doing the massage and I feel like that was really helpful because you’re kind of like, Am I doing this right you know, but then the more that I do it the more I can notice the fluid which I never thought I was like, I just never thought I would actually feel it. But now it’s like when I if I want to do it. I mean I do it every day on my head and neck, and it’s it’s like I can feel it. like moving a little bit, but it’s just crazy how gentle you have to be. It’s like the most gentle process ever.

Leah 25:06
Yeah, because when that fluid form, you know, forms just beneath the surface of the skin, like just under the epidermis. And so that’s what we’re working, we’re not really working the muscles underneath. Occasionally I will do, you know, slightly deeper lymphatic stuff. But for the most part, it really all that magic is happening on the surface. That’s really cool. And I’m, it’s, I’m happy to hear that you’re getting more intuitive with your touch. Because that’s how it feels. In the beginning, you’re like, I don’t think I’m doing anything, it doesn’t feel like I’m doing anything.

Amanda Montalvo 25:44
Hey, Amanda, here, just giving you a quick break, hopefully a break for your brain in the middle of this podcast episode, to remind you that if you haven’t gone through our free training, optimizing hormone health through mineral balance, we really do recommend starting there. And the main reason for that is because you’re gonna hear us say things like mineral foundation, having a solid foundation, are you putting the foundations in place, especially what as we get deeper and deeper into different hormonal topics and specific imbalances in the body, though, the mineral foundation is always going to be so essential. So if you haven’t watched the free training, you can find it in our show notes. Or you can go to hormone healing rd.com. And it’s going to be right on that front page there. But we really recommend starting there, so you can understand how is your current mineral status, how do you assess this, and how to get started with all that just so you can get as much as you possibly can out of the rest of the podcast episodes. But that’s it, I hope you enjoy the rest of this episode. The head and neck for sharks, I’ve spent the most time there, but I have been doing a lot more. Just with pregnancy, it’s like, you know, the bigger your belly gets it just like I crave it in my legs now, because I’m just like, it just feels like that you can tell. And I haven’t had any swelling or anything, which I’m very grateful for. But I’m also pretty active, which I think helps in my minerals. You know, of course, I’m like very supportive of those. But it’s just interesting how it’s like, I’ve had people say, Oh, you’re you’re doing like limb support in pregnancy is that like allowed, you know, Is that safe? I’m like, You’re your body’s gonna do it either way, right? Like, it’s, it’s like it’s going to happen either way. It’s supposed to be happening. And when you think about it, like we’re having so many physical shifts, and everything that I’m like, if anything, I feel like it, you probably need a lot more support for your lymphatic system, especially like as you get further and further along. So it’s, it’s been really helpful for me, it’s just like, I started so much with the head and neck, that now I’m like, I’m still getting gaining that intuitiveness with the lower half of my body, but like head and neck and arms, like I can definitely tell a big difference. And I can tell when there’s like certain areas that resist now, which is interesting. But it’s been really cool. Yeah, yeah. And like the bottlenecks and stuff. So we’ll, we’ll go into all that. But what are what are like ways in general, that people can support their lymphatic system, outside of that kind of massage? And then we’ll dig into like, how can you start, like, what is lymphatic massage? How, what are some basic ways to start doing it, that sort of thing.

Leah 28:21
Yeah. So you can definitely support your lymphatic health at home by really focusing on your nutrition and just eating real, real food, and muscle activation. So exercising. And when I say exercise, I really prefer the word movement. When we talk about movement, it’s what carries us through our lives. And exercise is like this little tiny, 45 minute 30 minute sliver that we do a few times a week. So really just moving your body any way that you’re capable of is always better than nothing. And taking time to support your nervous system with maybe some breath work and some meditation or yoga yoga is a really great one. As long as you’re not extending too much effort, you’ll stay in that parasympathetic. So that will really dilate the the lymphatic, the lymphatic vessels.

Amanda Montalvo 29:18
Oh, that’s a really that’s interesting. So it’s like basically getting into that rest and digest state helps to dilate those vessels in that old people are definitely not doing that enough. So I think everyone, that’s that’s a quote, I had the next podcast I’m recording after this is on the vagus nerve. So these will these will go together very nicely. And there’s, um, there’s a really cool product. It’s called Zen. And it’s a little it’s an earbud and it goes into your ear and it sends these like electric currents and it stimulates the vagus nerve through your left ear.

Leah 29:53
Oh, nice. I definitely have a couple of tutorials where I show people how to like do some little tiny circles in the ear Your like your polls, all of those things are just really great.

Amanda Montalvo 30:04
Oh, that’s so I will have to look out to find those ones. I have a bunch of mental link in the show notes of just like you like kind of guiding people on how to do lymphatic support. Can you talk a little bit more about rebounding because I feel like this is one that people like kind of know about, but not 100%. And I think knowing like how that could be helpful. You also mentioned you got your mom. rebounding. So what are what are the odds of that? And what what is it?

Leah 30:30
Yeah, so you know, the tiny trampolines are so great. They kind of discovered that when they send people to space that their lymphatic system goes crazy. And the rebounding because there’s these little one way flaps to prevent backflow when you’re jumping up and down it just like boom, boom, boom, since that fluid, much faster. And so anything you know, like vibration, and rebounding are just super beneficial. Oh,

Amanda Montalvo 30:59
vibration, too. That’s interesting. I feel like I’ve heard of those, like those plates that people will stand on vibrate.

Leah 31:05
Yeah, that’s what I was just gonna say water. So my lots of my clients love those and asked me about them. And they’re just there really beneficial. Yeah, I

Amanda Montalvo 31:14
have a little rebounder over here in my office, I can do my bellies too big now to use it I probably to myself, but not really. I’ve been working on my pelvic floor. But I’m like, I don’t want to push it. Okay. But I did use out a lot pre pregnancy. It was like a great break during the day to like, even if you’re whether you’re sitting or standing, it’s like, again, it’s that movement. Right? It’s like when you’re stationary and staying in one place. And you’re not getting in that regular movement. I feel it can depending on your job and what your day to day looks like. I feel like I noticed for me, it made a big difference even in energy, which now I know why because we’ve got so much length in that head and neck area. So it makes sense that it is so supportive.

Leah 31:55
Yeah, I also have I don’t have a rebounder myself, my ceilings are kind of low in the rental that we have. But I do have a yoga ball. And so I’ll just like sit on my yoga ball and go up and down. Because even though it might not be necessarily moving the lymph in my legs specifically, it’s it’s everything from the torso up. So it’s great. That’s a good one.

Amanda Montalvo 32:21
I’m sitting at one right now. So because I can’t sit in Jersey anymore. But that’s cool and dry brushing to write dry brushing is like another way that you can support your life.

Leah 32:34
Absolutely. Yeah, the the self lymphatic work with your hands is really great. And that’s like my preferred method. Because it really creates more of a connection with what we’re doing, you can feel it. But the dry brushing is awesome. If you’re going to be dry brushing, I like to tell people that you’re trying to get like the last line of dust like dirt into the dustpan. So the brushstroke should just be really short little, like I can’t get the dirt in,

Amanda Montalvo 33:03
which is like the opposite of any tutorial that you would ever see online, isn’t it?

Leah 33:08
Well, I feel like tutorials are really great. And I’ve never really heard it described as like the dustpan thing. So I’m going to take steak and claim that. But they they usually will skip over the bottleneck areas. So it’s very common to be instructed to start at your hands and feet and then work up towards your body. But my method and the way that I teach is to activate the lymph nodes that are going to be closest to that, you know that those proximal lymph nodes close to your torso, whether it be your hip or your armpit. And then you start from either above the knee or above the elbow, and you kind of work in stages. You don’t want to be pushing fluid from so far away, it’s got so far to travel. And so helping the body out and working in those stages is going to be much more beneficial. Not saying that there’s a wrong way. But if you’re going to take the time to do it, let’s make sure that we’re really moving some fluid, right?

Amanda Montalvo 34:07
Yeah. And it’s like either way, like even the way that you teach how to do it. It’s not. It’s not like it takes longer, you know, it’s the same exact amount of time. It’s just like it’s just more about being a little bit more effective. I feel like so do you think that everyone should start with like that head and neck area no matter like say they were going to do some dry brushing on their legs? Would you still say to like do your head and neck first

Leah 34:33
totally. Regardless of where you’re working. Always start with the head and neck. And on the rare occasion head. You know, opening those channels in the head and neck, even just briefly is safe for anyone. Now, we’re gonna do head and neck drainage. You know, if you had some sort of cardiac edema, some like congestive heart failure, you would just skip the head and neck. But it’s such a rare it’s such a rare thing is usually pretty safe. And

Amanda Montalvo 35:02
it’s pretty gentle. Like, if you were doing it at home. Yeah, like, it’s like if you even if you just spent like a few minutes, do you want to talk a little and even like, because this is a video pot, we were gonna put this on YouTube, do you want to show where exactly on the head and neck, you would want to like how you would open those up, like where the most important areas are to focus on?

Leah 35:22
Yeah, totally. So let’s real quick go over. So it’s going to be the subclavian vein underneath your clavicle. And the left side is actually responsible for draining most of the fluid in the body. But the right side, the right side only does about half of the face, half of the torso and the right arm. So the left side works a lot harder. But, you know, if you just take your fingers or your palm, you can just rub along the clavicles here for a few seconds. Sometimes, if you want to go both, I’ll say like pick a butterfly, whatever helps people remember. Or if it’s a guy, I’m like, Wu Tang symbol. That’s right, I don’t know. Well, you got to like make the, you know, you got to get them into it somehow. But yeah, sometimes I’ll just kind of Criss all, like criss cross my hands and do them at the same time. And, you know, as I mentioned, those larger lymph nodes here, you can just kind of take a couple fingers. And what I’m doing is I’m kind of directing the pressure backwards and then down. So just gently, you know, kind of like, the amount of pressure that you would handle a tomato, you don’t really want to go any further than just the surface there. But yeah, you could just end you could do some tapping along there. I don’t want to like fire up my microphone here. But yeah, even but even something as simple as doing that, you know, just noticing man, I’ve been sitting in my computer for two hours, to just be like, Hey, I’m just gonna like slap my armpits and my groin real quick, you can kind of hit those choke points with just like a little, you know, high and do a few deep breaths, just to kind of give it a little wake up there.

Amanda Montalvo 37:17
Yeah, I love it. I love the emphasis on breath work and how that can get the diaphragm going. Because a lot of people aren’t, they’re taking really shallow breaths all day, or maybe they’re only mouth breathing. So they’re in that more like sympathetic stressed out state during the day. So taking a little bit of time to like, calm down a little bit, and then just wake up those areas. I think it’s most of us just don’t know where they are, honestly. And so I think that’s like the coolest part about learning about the lymph system is that it’s like, Okay, so here are these concentrated areas. So say you were going to do some dry brushing, or some light lymph massage, like on your arms. So like, well, first, you know, you want to start with that kind of like subclavian area to wake those up. And then it sounds like I believe, like from the class that you taught, it’s like the then you’d want to like wake up the armpit a little bit, then go from here to the armpit. And then that there’s another bottleneck on your elbow, which I again, like, it’s not really talked about when we’re getting into that, like dry brushing, limp support, that sort of thing. But I do feel like it makes a big difference. I never noticed like the biggest difference from dry brushing until I started opening up the bottlenecks that made a really big difference for me. And I was like, Okay, this feels significantly different. But then like supporting that heavy neck area, too.

Leah 38:37
Yeah, yeah, it’s something that just takes a couple extra seconds or doing something in a different order. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t mean that it’s like more complicated. But I think, you know, you see those dry brushing charts or like the face massage or the lymphatic massage charts. And they’re really just trying to make it as simple as possible. But I just feel like it’s one of those details where it’s where it feels like a lot and somebody when somebody’s telling you like, No, you gotta you got to touch the backs of your knees for a second before in your hip for a second before you start dry brushing but you start above the knee. But once you get the hang of it and you do it, then you’re like oh, it’s it’s really just a matter of doing it in a different order and relearning how to do it optimally.

Amanda Montalvo 39:26
So question about red light and lymphatic system I saw that I saw you had a great post on Instagram about this, how does red light support the lymph system?

Leah 39:38
So yeah, the we have all these photo receptors all over our body and because skin is like such a, you know, detoxing organ, the the light, the waves from the light will kind of enter those photoreceptors and it becomes something that your body will apply to anywhere in your body. Knee. So you could be applying a red light to your abdomen to help with the gut. But then your body will put that to work elsewhere. And because there’s it like recharges the cells, because you know, there’s definitely some electricity going on in our bodies. It’s really neat, because then it, it’s the water component. So it just helps it travel. It’s really cool. I’m no expert, I really I listened to a podcast that had somebody who specialized in red light, and they talked specifically about lymphatic and I like rewound it 10 times and listened. And it just, it’s really helpful and supports the lymphatic system in a really unique way because of the water. So it’s, it’s big.

Amanda Montalvo 40:51
That is very interesting. I mean, if you think about it red light, it does support our mitochondria. So like it can, anything that supports your mitochondria and how much energy your body can make. I feel like it’s going to touch every system of the body, because you need energy to have to carry out different functions. But I’m still like, so stuck on that ocean analogy. For the lymphatic system. I’m like, that’s perfect. I feel like in it kind of it’s a great way to understand it in a simple way. But even how you were like, you know, you want that Bermuda water you don’t want like a Mercury like like water was it just like grew? So support your live regularly to get you that preview to nice limb beautiful looking lymph. Last thing, I think what are what are some tips that you have for people to start like incorporating some lymphatic support in their day to day like, I know, you talk about, like rituals and stuff that you have to support your limp. How can someone get started with that?

Leah 41:52
Yeah, I think the easiest way to get started is to make sure that you’re getting enough sleep. Our brain really cleans itself at night. And there’s like I said, there’s a lot of regeneration that happens there. And getting enough water. I know you go over the mineral portion of the type of water that we’re drinking to make sure that we’re actually getting hydrated that water intake and hydration are two different things. I incorporate a lot of very subtle lymphatic stuff. Like when I’m in the shower, I’m just, I’m washing my body. And I’m applying lotion when I get out just in a more specific way. I don’t know about you, but I definitely used to like very chaotically rubbing lotion or sunscreen or whatever. And it’s like oh yeah, if I just understand a little bit about how I’m kind of sweeping it more towards the heart and maybe just taking an extra second to rub my armpit or my the top of my hip there and behind my knee. When applying, you know skincare products, avoiding you know those environmental toxins, I have kind of one by one replaced everything that wasn’t really up to par. And I know that you’ve talked about this in previous episodes where it just is like too overwhelming to be like you’ve got to wipe out all environmental toxins. But avoidance is such a big thing to do. But it can be done very easily. You know, I used to burn incense, I liked the way they smelled. And then I realized man, it’s like having somebody smoking a cigarette. That’s how bad it is for you. And so I just kind of stopped using little things like air fresheners and plastic Tupperware, I invested in like some glass Tupperware, that was really nice. And those little things, they go a long way. You know, it’s these little biological battles that our body is fighting every single day. So how they’re won or lost. You know,

Amanda Montalvo 44:02
I really liked the idea of like being a little bit more purposeful with like lotion in the shower. That’s how I started with the head and neck doing it so consistently because I’m like, Well, I know I’m gonna wash my face twice a day. So instead of just like, through like a crazy person, like when I put on that last step for I use like a beef tallow for my moisturizer. And it’s also a great consistency, you know, because to like glide nicely over your skin for that light touch for the lymphatic massage. That’s like how I really got consistent with that. And the more you do it like, it’s like the quicker the process is, you know, it’s like not that you’re rushing it but like you don’t have to think I don’t think about it now because I know all the steps. I do them all get to 20 eyebrows and I go back down just like have you taught us in class and

Leah 44:50
like an ocean.

Amanda Montalvo 44:52
Oh my gosh. Do you have a post on that? Well, okay, so

Leah 44:58
what I was trying to come up For a name for my course, I thought I was going to call it like the ocean inside. And I immediately was like, Well Wait, that doesn’t tell people anything. And I was like, I’ll just use the ocean analogy

Amanda Montalvo 45:14
keeps coming back, I’m gonna, when I make some posts and stuff for the podcast, I’ll make sure I include it. It’s just like, it’s nice to like, go back to things like that to remember, you know, because I think it’s easy. For people, when you get deeper and deeper on the topic, you’re trying to apply it in your life. to overcomplicate it. And I feel like going back to that ocean analogy could just help people hopefully simplify, because the whole point is, it’s like, I’m not a lymphatic expert. I don’t know what I’m doing. I mean, now I’ve learned, I’ve learned to become more intuitive with it. And I could recognize some fluid and stuff. But that’s what it’s not like, it took a ton of work, you know, it just took like doing it on a consistent basis. And I was like, oh, like, I actually, I can feel some fluid in that area. And I feel it moving or it’s a little crunchy like by that lymph node. So it’s, I think it’s just like all about implementing. So hopefully, people will feel like, they can start implementing something, after listening to this episode. And I’m going to make sure that I link a few of my favorite videos from your reels and your IG TV, because Leah is very generous with the amount of content that she shares. And she literally shows you guys how to do all this stuff. Just even on her Instagram, so make sure you follow her at lymph love club. And you’re going to have a course coming out very soon after this airs.

Leah 46:36
Yes, Intro to limb flow, that’s going to be kind of the basic the foundation, and then I’ll have, I’ll have shorter courses that are going to be very specific to certain conditions and how to treat those. I’m most excited about the long color. One, lots of lymph in the chest and around the lungs, and being being really specific with how you can kind of clear some of that inflammation if you have existing COVID stuff. Yeah,

Amanda Montalvo 47:09
I’m sure you’ve seen so much of that with your clients. So that’s going to be really helpful for people.

Leah 47:15
Yeah, it’s been super beneficial for them, which has been really cool. So I’ll definitely have just like little shorter ones that maybe are just like a couple hours, super, you know, just easy to build on that first foundation, which is like just the honker anatomy and physiology. And

Amanda Montalvo 47:33
so I will make sure that I link the because it’ll I think it’s going to come out, this will come out like around the 21st of March. So then your course will probably available a little bit after that. So I’ll make sure I link the waitlist if you want to be notified of when intro to limb flow is available. You definitely, I mean, I’m sure you’ll see it on her instagram if you’re following her. But I will link all of that in the show notes. And I’m just excited. If you guys follow Leah and start applying anything, let us know, tag us and let us know how it’s going. I don’t limp has been very supportive for me. In this season. I’m I’m really excited to use it postpartum too, I know that that’s going to be like a lot of recovery. And I actually hear about a lot of fluid dysregulation, postpartum it my clients, so I’m like, Okay, I’m going to be on top of this now. So I can avoid this in the future, hopefully, and just heal very quickly. But yeah, thank you so much for being here. Is there anything else you want to share with people or anything you want to tell them to go look at?

Leah 48:34
Oh, yeah, I guess, let’s real quick go over the fact that so many people are talking about the lymphatic system and lymphatic drainage these days on social media. And it’s important to understand that a lot of these people maybe are just really beautiful people that are showing you how to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and that that may not be a substitute for treating your migraines or your brain fog, because there’s a lot of rejuvenating techniques that are happening. And the lymphatic fluid can only really flow in one direction. So some of these things where we’re sweeping in the opposite direction is not really supporting that lymphatic flow, but it’s great for skincare. So there’s a cosmetic lymphatic and then there is a clinical lymphatic. And those are just, you know, some things to look out for. You want to make sure that you’re opening your head and neck and you always you know, in terms of working in stages. There’s a lot of those techniques are a little, a little off just depending. Some of them are right. If you’re not sure, just send me it’d be like is this a yay or nay and I’ll let you know.

Amanda Montalvo 49:46
And I know a lot of my fluid of my membership I’ve reached out to you after you taught that class was very responsive. So don’t hesitate to reach out. I know people have posted comments on videos and tutorials that you’ve made You always get back to them. So definitely very reachable online. But yeah, thank you so much for being here, Leah and answering all my questions and sharing all your knowledge.

Leah 50:09
Yes, Amanda, thank you.

Amanda Montalvo 50:14
Thank you for listening to the RU menstrual podcast. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please consider leaving us a review and sharing the podcast with someone you think it will help. If you are new here, we can’t recommend enough to start with our mineral imbalance quiz. This is going to give you an idea if you are at low, moderate or high risk for mineral imbalances. And then of course, make sure you follow us on Instagram at hormone healing rd. And consider signing up for our newsletter if you like nerding out and you’re just loving these podcasts but maybe you’re a little bit more visual and you want to see things too. We go into a ton of detail in our weekly newsletter. So we would love to have you join us there. All right, thank you and we will see you in the next episode.

Amanda Montalvo

Amanda Montalvo is a women's health dietitian who helps women find the root cause of hormone imbalances and regain healthy menstrual cycles.

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