Simple Tips to Relieve Fluid Retention
What is fluid retention?
Our body is constantly trying to maintain balance, but sometimes this is interrupted by internal and external factors. Fluid retention occurs when the electrolyte balance is disrupted and fluids accumulate within the tissues in different areas of the body. Common causes of fluid retention include:
- A diet high in sodium (often from processed food)
- Inactivity - standing or sitting too long in the same position
- Hormonal changes that come with the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and menopause
- Inflammation in the tissues from a highly acidic diet, trauma, infection or even an allergy
- Stagnant or inadequate lymph flow
There are also more severe conditions that cause fluid retention and swelling such as lymphedema and kidney or liver disease which need to be addressed by a specialist. However, natural alternatives can help reduce the swelling and are beneficial for your body to maintain homeostasis.
How do I protect myself against fluid retention?
Generally, good health is the key to eliminating or avoiding fluid retention. We suggest you follow and tick off these strategies before looking for medical solutions:
- Embark on a whole-food diet that’s both alkaline and anti-inflammatory. The Happy Hormones 8-Week Program is a good way to reduce inflammation and keep your sodium levels balanced.
- Drink a good amount of water throughout the day. Aim for at least 2 litres and reduce your intake of regular salt and dehydrating drinks such as alcohol, tea, and coffee. As an alternative, you can add a pinch of Himalayan salt to your water bottle. This salt provides the body with essential minerals to maintain homeostasis and counters the negative effects of sodium. While it is essential for us to stay hydrated, it is equally important to have a good balance of water and minerals.
- Regular exercise, stretching and maintaining good posture also help improve circulation, move stagnant fluids and enhance lymph flow. Take frequent short breaks from work and move your body regularly throughout the day.
- Herbs such as parsley and dandelion root are two natural diuretics that can be eaten or consumed as a tea. Dandelion leaf tea helps improve kidney filtration and function. Both herbs also give the liver a nice and gentle cleanse!
- Consume one freshly pressed green veggie juice daily to support liver detoxification and kidney filtration. Make sure it contains celery!
- Tune in to the natural changes of your menstrual cycle and support your hormonal health with Happy Hormones. Cycle syncing your consumption of seeds as well as your exercise regime are fantastic ways to achieve hormone balance and support your menstrual flow.
- Elevate your legs after a long day of sitting or standing still. Try the Legs Up the Wall pose for 10-15 minutes each night or even in your office during lunch break!
Yoga poses beneficial for fluid retention
Besides regular exercise, there are specific yoga poses that are more effective in reducing fluid retention and improving lymphatic flow. Try any (or all) of the yoga asanas listed below.
Sun Salutations are really effective in increasing circulation, enhancing lymphatic flow and improving respiratory health. At least 2-6 rounds of Sun Salutations are recommended, preferably done in the morning.
This is a very simple yet quite effective yoga asana. The Mountain Pose aims to align everything in your body to achieve equilibrium and improve posture. To perform this pose, stand upright with the feet about hip-width apart. Focus on grounding your feet and lengthen through the crown of your head. Let the tailbone relax down and loosen up your belly as well. Feel that you have stacked your vertebrae on top of each other to allow energy and fluids to flow freely. Stay in this pose and breathe for 10-15 times while visualizing an upward flow of energy through your body.
Standing Forward Fold/Uttanasana
This asana opens up the complete back line of the body, improves lymphatic flow and stimulates blood flow to the heart. Stay in this pose for 10-15 deep breaths and slowly rise up to Tadasana again.
Legs Up The Wall/Viparita Karani
Finish your session with this restorative inversion to eliminate fluid retention. Legs Up The Wall is a gentle inversion that allows gravity to act on the lymphatic channels and is particularly helpful in keeping the system flowing and functioning optimally.
This yoga asana is best done in the evening or after work. You want to get comfortable and spend 5-15 minutes in the pose. Just rest your hips close to the wall, preferably with a pillow under your hips (although avoid this if menstruating) and keep your legs up but relaxed against the wall.
This simple yoga sequence is a perfect practice to do any time of the day to support lymphatic flow and reduce fluid retention. It can be done in just 15 to 30 minutes, depending on how many Sun Salutations you do and how long you spend resting in the Legs Up The Wall pose.
Together with the diet and lifestyle recommendations mentioned above, these specific yoga asanas will help address stagnation, enhance circulation, reduce swelling and discomfort, and improve your overall health and wellbeing.