My grandmother was blessed with many fine qualities, but her legs could not conceivably be included amongst them. By the time I knew her, trunk-like and swollen are the only words one could charitably use to describe them. Perhaps my interest in MLD took hold then?
As the years creep on, I find my legs needing more and more care. I will admit it: for years I hated my thighs. Yep, just like every other woman (mostly). I did sport (weightlifting, cycling, walking, yoga). I ate well. And yet, the lumpiness that set in at menarche persisted. I dreaded those beach photos that...well, you know the ones. And, honestly, my legs aren't that bad. But my circulation isn't great.
So, scratching my head, I set out to concoct a cocktail of herbs to helps my legs. Here, dear readers, I share with you
RR Protocol Number Three: Loving Your Legs.
1. If you notice that your digestion and your liver are sluggish, set out to find out why. In some cases, a colonic may be in order. In other cases, an anti-candida diet. In other cases, less wine might help. A great ally in the drainage of the liver is Weleda's Birch Extract.
2. Practice yoga, or Stretch Therapy, or Pilates. But do it so that you really and truly and actually stretch the hamstrings and hips. The lymphatic drainage of the legs is via the inguinal lymph nodes, located in the crease of the hip, just lateral from the genital area. Lymph vessels are tiny and all too easily collapsed, so pressure here knocks on in the legs. Tight hamstrings may contribute to the fibrous adhesions that are characteristic of cellulite. Stretch, stretch and stretch some more.
3. Breathe deeply. The lymphatic system is not equipped with a pump such as the heart in the circulatory system. Instead, it relies upon small pulsations of the smooth muscle of the lymph vessels, the contraction of muscles and the breath for optimal circulation. Deep abdominal breathing acts as a kind of vacuum for lymph drainage, especially in the lower body, but really everywhere. Pressure changes in the thorax create a pressure differential in the inguinal area, helping draw lymph up from the legs.
4. Lie with your feet up against the wall. This is evident, really. Combat gravity, lift your legs! Also great for relaxing the hips and lower back, as the head of the femur slots into the joint, freeing up the piriformis and ilio-psoas muscles. Try to do this daily, for at least 10 minutes. You can prop your lower back with cushions or a folded towel, or just lie on your bed. Breathe deeply while letting the legs relax fully. When you finish, resist the urge to jump up. Give yourself time to re-adjust to reality.
5. Drink draining herbs. Disclaimer: I am not a herbalist, and I don't know you. Use this recipe cognizant of your responsibility to your own health. I use a base of yerba mate, then add stevia leaf, nettle, horsetail, birch leaf and some herbs I bought in Wayanad, Kerala, India. Everything bar the last ingredient should be found relatively easily. Just mix it in a re-sealable tin, then get hold of a maté gourd, a bombilla straw and away you go! Maté is naturally bitter, and is commonly drunk in Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina. To prepare: add herbs to the maté gourd, shake a little until the thicker bits rise to the top and the dust settles. Put the bombilla in at an angle, burrowing it into the herbs. Pour a little cool water right alongside the bombilla, to moisten the herbs. Once moistened, pour in some hot but not boiling water from a thermos, leaving the top leaves mostly dry. Drink. Ahhh. This concoction will take you sailing through the day and help those lovely legs of your look their best (even if you, like me, are standing for 8-12 hours per day!)
Here are my herbs. Sorry the photo is a bit rubbish: