by Guest Blogger Sammy Seriani
The lymphatic system is part of the circulatory system and a vital part of the immune system, comprising a network of lymphatic vessels that carry a clear fluid called lymph (from Latin lympha meaning “water”) directionally towards the heart. In holistic medicine, the left side of the body is the dominant lymphatic side. Sleeping on this side gives your body plenty of time to filter toxins, lymph fluid, and waste through the thoracic duct and the lymph nodes.
Sleeping on your right side may make your lymphatic system run more sluggishly. A lymphatic system that does not run at full efficiency may be incapable of filtering toxins or properly moving lymph fluid throughout the body. Over time, this allows toxins to build up in your body and increase your risk of deadly diseases.
The small intestine dumps waste through the ileocecal valve (ICV) on the right side of the body into the beginning of the large intestine. The large intestine travels up the right side of your belly and across the tummy, where it dumps waste into the descending colon on the left side. Sleeping on the left side allows gravity to encourage the food waste to move more easily from the small intestine into the large intestine through the ICV.
You may also find that sleeping on your left side improves your body’s ability to get rid of toxins through waste, allowing your body to promptly extract nutrients and dispose of toxins. In Ayurveda, the oldest form of medicine, it is common practice to rest on the left side of the body after taking a meal. Ayurveda suggests a short, ten-minute rest on the left side to help the body properly digest the food. The stomach and the pancreas (which make digestive enzymes) hang like slings on the left side. When you lie on the left side, the stomach and pancreas hang naturally, allowing for optimal and efficient digestion.
Sammy Seriani teaches yoga at Maui Country Club on Tuesday mornings at 9:00 a.m.
See more on Sammy on the Fitness Instructors page.