If you are finding that you are having built up fluid in your legs, ankles, feet, and other extremities check out these quick DIY tips to get rid of the swelling immediately. As a naturopathic physician I am also a lymphatic drainage therapist, which means I specialize in swelling. I help patients reduce swelling and inflammation in their bodies through various means, but today I’m going to share with you five ways that you can reduce the swelling at home. These home remedies may be applied to any part of your body that is retaining fluid, and you can start easily applying them today.
What Causes Inflammation and Swelling in Our Feet?
Inflammation and fluid buildup can lead to a wide variety of disorders such as lymphedema, lipedema, heart disease, and more. It is important to know how to get rid of this swelling that may occur in your legs, ankles, or any other extremities. A common reason we experience swelling in our feet is from a long period of walking, standing, or sitting. Gravity pulls blood downward into the veins of your legs, then water from the blood enters the tissues of the legs and feet, causing swelling. (1) But sometimes we can experience swelling due to a lack of movement too.
What is The Lymphatic System?
The lymphatic system is a major part of our body’s immune system. It is a network composed of organs, lymph nodes, lymph ducts, and lymph vessels which make and move lymph from tissues into the bloodstream. (5). The lymph nodes are found in the neck, armpits, chest and other parts of your body. They move fluid throughout your body, called lymph, which contains white blood cells called lymphocytes. The lymphatic system helps keep your body in optimal health and supports the immune system against diseases such as cancer and bacteria, so it’s important to keep it in good working order.
As you might expect, those who experience swelling or inflammation may be at a higher risk of developing disorders. In addition to the higher risk, those living with swelling and inflammation may be experiencing discomfort on a daily basis. To potentially relieve some of this discomfort, the swelling must be brought down. Although swelling can subside on its own, there are a couple of easy ways to help reduce the inflammation and get the trapped fluid moving again.
1. Hydrate Well to Reduce Swelling in Your Legs
One easy way to potentially reduce swelling is to increase your fluid intake. Making sure that you drink enough water throughout the day is important for a lot of reasons, including the reduction of swelling. Although it may seem counterintuitive, drinking enough water will allow your system to work better. When you are not drinking water consistently, your body tends to hold on to liquid it does have, which can in turn cause fluid build up. However, when you stay hydrated consistently throughout the day, your body will tend to release this fluid and flush out any toxins it may be carrying. Remember, you must drink water consistently throughout the day and not just all at once. Consistency really is the key.
2. Drink Ginger Tea to Reduce Inflammation
There are a lot of amazing benefits from foods that can help with inflammation and reduce swelling. A powerful herb called ginger root is one of the most common ones used in order to reduce inflammation. This herb has a lot of nutrients that are extremely beneficial for our bodies. Ginger contains shogaols and gingerols which have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiallergic properties. (2) There are many ways to consume ginger root, but an easy and comforting way to incorporate ginger in your diet is through tea.
How to Make Ginger Root Tea:
- Thinly slice the ginger. (You don’t need to peel it, but do make sure it’s well cleaned). You can add as much or as little as you like, it is all about personal taste.
- In a saucepan, combine the ginger with fresh water.
- Bring the water to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. (Or if you want it stronger leave it there for a little longer)
- Pour through a sieve or strainer and enjoy!
You can also add some lemon or honey to taste if you would like an extra bit of flavor. Drink a cup of this tea a day and you may start to see a reduction in swelling and inflammation.
3. Magnesium Supplements to Reduce Swelling
Many people do not realize that they do not get enough magnesium through their daily diet, and therefore have a magnesium deficiency. This mineral is extremely important and beneficial for our health. Magnesium has the capacity to pull fluid from the interstitial spaces around your organs, meaning it can help flush the extra fluid from your body and invigorate lymphatic flow. Taking magnesium as a supplement is a quick and easy way to supply your body with the help it needs to function optimally. You can find a great magnesium supplement here.
4. Bananas May Help Reduce Inflammation
Bananas are a tasty and quick way to add extra nutrients into your daily diet to reduce inflammation and swelling. As many of us may know, bananas contain a healthy amount of potassium. Potassium-rich foods help in various ways, but bananas in particular are especially great due to their high percentage of vitamins. Bananas are also rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6, magnesium, fiber, and antioxidants. (3) All of these nutrients work together in order to supply your body with everything that it needs to stay healthy and strong. They work as a team to also target your kidneys. This is important in regards to inflammation because your kidneys help clear toxins from your body, and extra fluid too. In addition, bananas are a rich source of magnesium, which we now know is great for reducing swelling and managing inflammation.
5. Dry Brush Your Body For Lymphatic Drainage
Dry skin brushing is a powerful way to maintain a good lymphatic flow throughout your entire body. When practicing dry brushing, make sure you are using a natural bristle brush to open up your pores. In addition to the amazing benefits for your lymphatic system, it is also a great way to exfoliate skin and stimulate blood flow. As you might expect from the name, make sure the brush is dry, then simply brush your body in a flowing motion near and around the lymph nodes to help encourage movement. Don’t be alarmed if your skin becomes flushed, that is a completely natural response. Be sure to brush lightly, as you do not want to damage your skin. You will find that the more often you do it, the easier it will become. Feel free to download my skin brushing guide here, for more information and tips.
Lymph Stim To Reduce Swelling
A bonus at home remedy that can benefit you in reducing inflammation is a major lymphatic booster. Lymph Stim is a homeopathic supplement, hugely beneficial for those who have any type of swelling or fluid retention. This supplement is gentle to use on any type of swelling that may be occurring in your body, whether you have lymphedema, improper fluid movement, gout, or are experiencing swelling post surgery. Lymph Stim is also gentle and safe enough for women who are experiencing pregnancy related swelling as well as cancer patients.
Whether you are experiencing inflammation, swelling, or both, these natural remedies can be easily implemented into your daily lifestyle. If you would like a more detailed guide, you can purchase my Lymphatic Management Starter Checklist here. It is broken down step-by-step of everything else you need to know. You can also sign up for my weekly newsletter here for more naturopathic information.