The most common symptoms of improperly functioning lymphatic system are:
- Digestive disorders
- Frequent headaches
- Sinus infections
- General stiffness
- Chronic fatigue (sluggishness)
- Skin issues
- Unexplained injuries
- Mucus build-up
- Cholesterol problems
- Frequent colds
The lymph is a complex drainage system. The lymphatic drainage consists of lymph nodes, glands, tonsils, vessels, spleen, and thymus gland. The lymphatic system plays an important role in fighting infections and absorbing excess fluids, fats, and toxic waste material from your entire body. It protects against harmful invaders. It works by carrying our body’s waste away from the tissues and into the bloodstream. It tackles toxins that are introduced to the body from both external means (food, air, personal care products, water) as well as internal ones (damaged proteins and cellular/metabolic waste), making it a key detoxification pathway.
Once the toxins enter the bloodstream, they are purified through the largest lymphatic tissue in the body, the spleen. The spleen is our main immune defense, fighting infection, holding a reserve of red and white blood cells and destroying worn-out red blood cells in the body.
The lymph is connected with your circulatory and immune system. Although we may not feel or see it, it’s one of the most important (and often forgotten) systems of the human body. Through lymph nodes and the lymphatic network, your immune cells can travel around fighting pathogens, such as bacteria and mold, and preventing disease and infection. Therefore, keeping your lymphatic system functioning properly is directly related to the overall health of the body-a stronger lymphatic system means a more resilient and reactive immune response and defense.
The problem is that, unlike blood, lymph does not have a pump. It relies on the relaxation and the contraction of the muscles and joints to move it.
Unfortunately, it can become easily “clogged.” A lack of exercise, iodine deficiency, illness, or digestive imbalances can clog the lymphatic system and cause health issues and diseases. Fortunately, there are many natural ways to cleanse your lymphatic system.
Here are the most important functions of the lymph:
- Removes interstitial fluid from tissues
- Absorb and transport fatty acid and fat from the gastrointestinal tract
- Carry white blood cells from the lymph nodes into the bones
- Carry antigen-presenting cells to the lymph nodes
Nutrient deficiencies, processed foods, sugar, dairy and poor quality oils and insufficient physical activity can affect the function of the lymphatic system.
11 Ways to Detox your Lymph System
Rebounding is one of the easiest ways to pump the lymph. Rebounding is the practice of jumping on a trampoline for ten to thirty minutes. This passively moves the lymph while stimulating the circulation of blood throughout the body. Numerous studies have proven its efficacy, and have even shown it to improve muscle tone.
An inversion table is a padded table that allows one to invert upside down while strapped in by the feet. The inversion process decompresses the joints of the body and stimulates the lymphatic and circulatory system. This brings blood and oxygen to the tissues, which helps to clear the muscles of toxic build-up. By inverting, gravity works with, not against, the body, encouraging the movement of the lymph. It also improves spinal health by rehydrating the discs, reducing pressure on the nerves and relaxing tense muscles.
Lymph is about 95% water, making water essential for its health. Stay hydrated by drinking half your weight in ounces of water a day. Without adequate water, lymphatic fluid cannot flow properly. And one of the most common causes of lymph congestion is dehydration. Water, and only water, can adequately rehydrate the body, but if you want to expedite the process, add lemon to your water. Lemon is an alkaline fruit that helps to mineralize the body and lymph. Try sipping on warm lemon water throughout the day.
Enzymes are produced by the body to break down food substances and to expedite countless metabolic processes. They are also utilized by the body to clear toxic-waste buildup in the lymph and blood, making their supplementation a key way to improve lymphatic health. Using proteolytic enzymes (like our Serrapeptase) between meals can help to “digest” or breakdown organic debris in the circulatory and lymph systems, increasing lymphatic flow. They also help to ease the burden of allergy-like compounds, freeing the immune fractions traveling in the lymph system for other work.
Lymphatic massage is a special form of massage that specifically targets the flow of lymph in the body. It uses a specific amount of pressure and rhythmic circular movements to stimulate the lymph, encouraging its movement towards the heart for the drainage of fluid and waste. Lymphatic massage has shown in studies to push up to 78 percent of stagnant lymph back into circulation. This mobilizes toxins for clearance, lessening the burden on the lymphatic system.
Many herbs have proven to be effective in improving lymphatic health, whether in their ability to increase lymphatic flow and drainage or in expediting the clearance of toxic substances.
Red clover is a popular herb for the lymph, increasing flow, which helps to detoxify the body and reduce inflammation.
Cleavers is another herb to try. Also known as clivers or goosegrass, it has been used for centuries and considered one of the best tonics to stimulate and help drain the lymphatic system.
Manjistha is an herb that is primarily utilized for its ability to de-stagnate lymph. It does this by detoxifying the tissue and supporting lymph flow.
Finally, bupleurum and rehmannia are herbal tonics known to treat lymphatic conditions in traditional Chinese medicine. These herbs are famous in Asia for maintaining the cleanliness of the lymphatic system and thus for naturally removing toxins from deep within the body on an on-going basis.
Additional herbs to create lymph stimulating tea include:
- Wild indigo root
Dry skin brushing is a favorite practice of mine. It’s a technique for assisting in lymphatic flow and boosting circulation. You simply take a dry brush with coarse bristle and brush the skin towards the heart. This stimulates the sweat glands, opens pores, and gets rid of dead skin cells. It also encourages the movement of lymph and blood in underlying organs and tissues of the body, which helps clear built-up toxins. As a result, it can be beneficial in improving skin conditions and reducing cellulite.
EAT RAW FOODS
Incorporating raw foods into the diet is an easy way to keep the lymphatic system healthy on an ongoing basis. Raw foods offer high levels of naturally occurring enzymes that break down toxic buildups and promote the clearance of harmful substances in the body. Eating foods raw, such as fruits and vegetables, is also a great way to boost the water levels in the body. Finally, raw foods are primarily alkaline, which help neutralize harmful pathogens, lessening the burden on the lymph.
Just like tight-fitting clothes, underwire bras can impede normal lymphatic flow. One of the largest clusters of lymph nodes is in the armpit and upper chest area, and those nodes act as a source of drainage for the breast, arm, and upper chest. If a bra is too tight, or if the underwire is too restrictive (for most, this is the case), the lymph is constricted, preventing normal drainage. Some researchers believe that over time this can cause long-term impairment of the lymphatic function, and may contribute to an array of conditions including fibrocystic breast tissue, swollen lymph nodes and breast cancer.
HOT AND COLD SHOWERS
Hot water dilates blood vessels and cold water shrinks them. This creates sort of a “pumping” activity, and moves the fluids in your body. However, this treatment isn’t recommended for pregnant women or people who deal with cardiovascular disease.
TAKE DEEP BREATHS
Did you know that there is three times more lymph than blood in the body? And no organ oversees its moving around. So, take deep breaths and help your lymph move. This will ease the transport of toxins into the blood before they get eliminated by the liver.
FOODS THAT PROMOTE LYMPH FLOW
Foods that contain nutrients that boost the flow of lymph include:
- Low sugar fruit
- Ground flaxseed
- Leafy green vegetables
- Brazil nuts
FOODS THAT BLOCK THE LYMPHATIC SYSTEM
- Artificial sweeteners
- Conventional dairy
- Processed foods
- Conventionally raised meat
- Table salt
- Refined grains
The good news is that keeping the lymph moving doesn’t take much – just a few daily exercises, plenty of water, and the inclusion of raw foods and enzymes and certain herbs. When the lymph is working well, we stay healthy; and if we’re ill, it helps us to regain our health again. The benefits are many and it is easy to see those with healthy lymph systems–their skin looks youthful and they are cellulite-free!