The lymphatic system is one of the most overlooked yet significant systems in the body. It is one of two major circulatory systems (the other being cardiovascular), and is just as important to take care of.
The lymphatic system runs throughout the entire body, helping remove waste from every cell and regulating the immune system. It is a complex network of nodes, ducts and vessels, and also includes the spleen, thymus, adenoids and tonsils.
What Is The Lymphatic System?
The lymphatic system is comparable to drains. If you can remember the last time your kitchen sink clogged up and began emanating putrid smells, then this is what I’m talking about. When the drains aren’t working, things start building up and it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria.
So naturally, when this happens, we call the plumber and they come fix the drains and get them working again. However, when our own drainage system (aka. the lymphatic system) becomes plugged, we can’t just call a plumber, we need to take our health into our own hands.
A congested lymphatic system can lead to serious illnesses and chronic disease. If we don’t take the necessary steps to ensure our lymphatic system is running well, our immune system will remain impaired and naturally, we’ll get sick.
The lymphatic system works by absorbing excess fluids, fats, and toxins from our tissues and into the blood where it can eventually be filtered out by the liver and kidneys.
Unfortunately, the lymphatic system usually has a hard time filtering out these substances due to a major increase in nutritional deficiencies, inactivity (too much sitting), and consuming too many toxins (whether that be from our food, air, or water).
If you are suffering from injuries, excess weight or cellulite, or pain disorders like arthritis, bursitis, headaches or others, a sluggish lymphatic system may be playing a role. Here are 11 ways you can get your lymph flowing smoothly.
1. Breathe deeply. Our bodies have three times more lymph fluid than blood, yet no organ to pump it. Your lymph system relies on the pumping action of deep breathing to help it transport toxins into the blood before they are detoxified by your liver. So breathe in that sweet smell of healing oxygen. Breathe out toxins.
2. Get moving. Exercise also ensures the lymph system flows properly. The best kind is rebounding on a mini trampoline, which can dramatically improve lymph flow, but stretching and aerobic exercise also work well.
3. Drink plenty of water. Without adequate water, lymph fluid cannot flow properly. To help ensure the water is readily absorbed by your cells, I frequently add some fresh lemon juice or oxygen or pH drops.
4. Forget the soda, trash the neon-colored sports drinks, and drop the fruit juices. All of the aforementioned beverages are high in preservatives and sugar, both of which are too much for the lymph system to handle.
5. Eat more raw fruit on an empty stomach. In particular, raw fruit consumed on an empty stomach can help, as acids and enzymes in fruit can boost lymph function.
6. Vegetables, too. Ensuring adequate chlorophyll in your diet (see also: green, leafy things) will also help purify your blood and lymph.
7. Nuts and seeds, as well. Provided they’re unsalted, nuts and seeds can help power up your lymph with adequate fatty acids. Choose from almonds, Brazil nuts, flaxseeds, hazelnuts, macadamias, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and walnuts.
8. Lymph-boosting herbal teas are also a good idea; we recommend astragalus, echinacea, goldenseal, pokeroot or wild indigo root tea, but working with an herbalist or natural medicine specialist is also a very good idea.
9. Dry skin brush before showering. Use a natural bristle brush. Brush your dry skin in circular motions upward from the feet to the torso and from the fingers to the chest. You want to work in the same direction as your lymph flows toward the heart.
10. Alternate hot and cold showers for several minutes. The heat dilates the blood vessels and the cold causes them to contract, but should be avoided if you have heart issues or are pregnant.
11. Get massages. Massage can help push stagnant lymph back into circulation, thus freeing trapped toxins so your body can better process them. We especially recommend lymph drainage massage, which is specially designed for lymph function.