On Wednesday, I discussed my journey of healing my relationship with my center using a grippy pliable air-filled ball, called the Coregeous ball. Did you know that the gut area is the most abundant site in your body for lymph? Your lymph system stores the majority of your disease-fighting cells. Your lymphatic ducts and tubing create an odd, one-way highway; there is no upward movement out of the ducts and tubes other than being pressed and squeezed through motion, position, palpation or muscular contractions. Motion surrounding your lymph ducts helps propel those disease-fighting cells into your bloodstream, where they can then fight off infection.

Your abdominal lymph is loaded with immune-rich cells. The white blood cells within it have been highly sensitized by the gut’s bacterial environment and thus are the superheroes of your lymphatic system. Helping your gut lymph move north into the larger blood vessels is not the easiest proposition. You can do so by inverting your body or doing intense abdominal contractions and mobilizations, or you can use a squishy soft ball for self-massage.

Sources and More Information:

Lisa Hodge[1] shared her breakthrough studies on rats at the 2012 International Fascia Research Congress. She infected rats with lung cancers [LT1] and then created a seven-day protocol of rhythmic massage on their bellies for four minutes at a time, with a break between rounds. She found that the rats that received the abdominal massage saw a decrease in the size of their lung tumors and contracted far fewer pneumonias.

Deep, deliberate abdominal breathing while lying belly-down on top of a ball, coupled with movement, is quite similar to the actions Dr. Hodge induced on the rats’ bellies. She claims that myofascial release, or traction and release of the diaphragm, helps remove restrictions to lymphatic vessels. The mobilization of white blood cells was done through deliberate motion and made a massive difference in these animals.

Your ability to affect your own immune system is not magical thinking; it is literally in the power of your own hands. So perhaps you can skip the antibiotics; just get down and roll.

And if your desire to get thin has blown apart your self-esteem and overwhelms your thoughts day and night as mine used to, please consider finding support and professional help.

For more specifics on how to best practice self abdominal massage for a myofascial immunity boost, please see my new video Treat While You Train or check out the video below.

[1] Osteopathic lymphatic pump techniques to enhance immunity and treat pneumonia. Lisa M. Hodge, PhD. International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine, March 2012.

Portions of this blog are excerpted from my new book The Roll Model.

[Reprinted with permission from Gaiam Life]


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Jill Miller

Jill Miller, C-IAYT, ERYT is the co-founder of Tune Up Fitness Worldwide and creator of the self-care fitness formats Yoga Tune Up® and The Roll Model® Method. With more than 30 years of study in anatomy and movement, she is a pioneer in forging relevant links between the worlds of fitness, yoga, massage, athletics and pain management. She is known as the Teacher’s Teacher and has trained thousands of movement educators, clinicians, and manual therapists to incorporate her paradigm shifting self-care fitness programming into athletic and medical facility programs internationally. She has crafted original programs for 24 Hour Fitness, Equinox, YogaWorks, and numerous professional sports teams. She and her team of 500+ trainers help you to live better in your body with an emphasis on proprioception, mobility, breath mechanics and recovery. She has presented case studies at the Fascia Research Congress and International Association of Yoga Therapy conferences. She has the rare ability to translate complex physiological and biomechanical information into accessible, relevant moves that help her students transform pain, dysfunction and injury into robust fitness. Jill is the anatomy columnist for Yoga Journal Magazine and has been featured in Shape, Men’s Journal, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Health, Yoga Journal, Self, and on the Today Show and Good Morning America. Jill is regularly featured on the Oprah Winfrey Network. She is the creator of dozens of DVD’s including Treat While You Train with Kelly Starrett DPT and is the author of the internationally bestselling book The Roll Model: A Step by Step Guide to Erase Pain, Improve Mobility and Live Better in your Body. Based in Los Angeles, CA, she is a wife and mother of two small children and is currently writing her second book.

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Just this morning I was thinking a lot about self-massage (likely because I have been had the good fortune to roll with Jill!!).

Thinking about how it can be a life altering habit, and such an accessible one at that (the kind of life altering habits I am most interested in).

This post and Dr. Hodge’s research are certainly a sign for us to strengthen that delicious habit: endorsed by this post, Ayurveda, and the delicious nourishing feel it comes with instantaneously! Makes so much sense to help our lymphatic system out!


Fascinating! I love learning more about our amazing immune system, thanks for the research!

Veronica Costa-Bolton

The information is accessible in its presentation and its application.

Martine Lauzon

Thank you for writing this Jill. My desire to get thin has been on my mind, every day for 30 years. This is the first year that I finally understand the power of the gut in relation to inflammation. I now understand the importance of lymp, breath, movement and I am so excited to have found another way to stimulate the gut and lymph! The best part, it’s working <3

Christine (CJ) Lamborn

The Coregous ball is fast becoming my favorite tool! I’ve used a similar ball for years through Pilates practice, but you’ve opened my eyes to so many other (even greater) values of physical and emotional health and wellness brought by this amaing prop!