MaryAnn was driving home from the grocery store when a car ran a stop sign, forcing her Chevy Tahoe to careen at 50 miles an hour into the passenger side of the vehicle.
Airlifted to a local emergency room, MaryAnn suffered numerous neck and back injuries. A variety of doctors gave her differing opinions on what movements would aggravate her injuries.
"Don't bend forward" one said. "Don't bend backwards" another doctor prescribed. Under doctor's orders not to exert herself, MaryAnn started to gain weight and eventually became depressed.
Her physical therapist happened to mention yoga. Desperate, MaryAnn went to a local yoga studio and fell in love. Within a few weeks, she was seeing improvement. By the end of the month, she noticed some of the pain subsiding. MaryAnn is now the picture of health and wellness, all thanks to yoga.
Jerry is a best-selling author and world-renown entrepreneur. At the tender age of 25, he suffered a stroke from a brain aneurysm and was forced to have a shunt installed in the back of his skull.
The doctors suggested modified yoga positions within a few months after the surgery (nothing inverted, of course) to assist in the healing process.
How can people like these use yoga to stun the docs and heal faster and rebound better than they were before?
The Secret Is Just Under Your Skin
According to a UK Cancer Research facility, there are lymph vessels which circulate just under your skin and contain white blood cells and plasma, which help to produce antibodies. These are assisted by macrophages which 'swallow up' and kill any germs or foreign particles.
In anatomy, lymph vessels are thin walled, valved structures that carry lymph. As part of the lymphatic system, lymph vessels are complementary to the vascular system.
Lymph vessels are lined by endothelial cells, and deep to that have a thin layer of smooth muscles, and adventitia that bind the lymph vessel to the surroundings. Lymph vessels are devoted to propulsion of the lymph from the lymph capillaries, which are mainly concerned with absorption of interstitial fluid from the tissues.
In plain English, lymph fluid keeps you healthy. Lymph fluid is partly responsible for creating a healthy immune system! You see, unlike the heart, which pumps the blood and keeps it moving throughout your body, there is no 'lymphatic pump' that keeps your lymph from becoming stagnant. Your body relies on other means to move the lymphatic fluid.
There is absolutely no other method which moves lymphatic fluid better than yoga. Think about it - have you ever noticed that sedentary people get sick more often?
If lymphatic fluid produces antibodies and you don't keep that fluid fresh and moving around, doesn't it stand to reason that your immune system weakens without these antibodies and you get sick more often as a result?
In fact, in his article, "The Lymph", Roger Jahnke, OMD explains that movement and breathing (2 major components of yoga) increase the amount of lymphatic fluid (or interstitial fluid) produced each day as well as its movement throughout the body.
Rather than the jarring action of running, or the muscle-building effects of lifting - who knew that simply entering and remaining in one pose at a time for approximately 30-60 seconds could do so much for your health?
Working Out With An Injury
So what do you do when you've blown out your knee in a soccer game? What happens when you're carpal tunnel is flaring up from too much time in the cubicle at work? How do you still stay active when that ol' football injury flares up again? Yoga.
For starters, with any knee injury (and assuming you've checked with your doctor first), there are plenty of movements one can use in order to strengthen other, healthier muscles and make recovering from the injury more bearable.
Keep in mind that no one is competing with you to do these poses. They are merely a catalyst to speed you towards optimum health and wellness.
The Bottom Line
The future of your health and welfare depends on knowing how to best take care of your body. Moving your lymphatic fluid on a regular basis is one of the best (if not only) ways to ensure true health.