The lymphatic system is made up of lymphatic vessels, lymph nodes, and lymph fluid. It is part of the circulatory system, delivering nutrients, oxygen, and hormones from the plasma. The lymphatic system also removes excess fluids, pathogens (bacteria, viruses), dead blood cells, cancer cells, waste products, and other toxins from the fluid between the cells.
Sounds important, right? It is! When the lymphatic system isn’t working optimally, we may suffer frequent colds, puffiness, symptoms of toxicity, fatigue, skin problems, and inflammation, amongst other things.
To support the lymphatic system:
- – Limit your exposure to toxins. Limit alcohol and processed food consumption.
- – Look at your medicine cabinet. Are you taking a lot of medication? Every pharmaceutical has side effects and needs to be processed by the liver. Do not stop any prescribed drugs without advice from your doctor. But, consider that if you are taking acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol) daily or frequently, this is damaging to your liver.
- – Consider that anything you put on your skin will also be absorbed into your body and, if toxic, will affect your health. Though quantities of chemicals might be low, if used regularly, they can accumulate.
- – Look at your household cleansers. Does the bottle have a skull and crossbones on it? Consider that there are alternatives, including simple baking soda, vinegar, and lemon combinations and many healthier packages detergents and cleansers on the market.
- – Spend some time away from the city near lots of plants (plants help to clean the air).
- – Squeeze half a fresh lemon into room temperature or warm water and drink first thing in the morning to help support the liver, and that helps reduce toxins in the body.
- – To pump the lymphatic system, try:
- – Rebounding: jumping up and down on a small trampoline
- – Alternate hot and cold in the shower
- – Dry brushing: use a natural bristle brush to brush your whole body, using long strokes, always toward the direction of the heart
- – Sweat. Exercise or use a far infrared sauna.
- – Drink lots of water, as without sufficient water, lymph fluid cannot flow properly.
- – Emphasize green vegetables, essential fatty acids (flax seed oil, hemp seeds oil, chia seed oil), fresh raw nuts and seeds (walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds), cranberries and unsweetened cranberry juice, broccoli, sweet potatoes, small fatty fish (sardines, herring, mackerel, anchovies).
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) does not discuss the “lymphatic system” directly, but supporting this system includes supporting the TCM Spleen and Lungs.
- – Work on clearing issues of worry, sadness, and grief. Overthinking also weakens the Spleen energies.
- – Singing is a great exercise for the Spleen and the Lungs. Enjoy yourself!
- – Practice breathing exercises. Deep, slow breaths, whether periodically but regularly or as part of a routine such as in yoga, tai chi, qi gong, or meditation.
Acupuncture, Chinese herbs, supplements (ask me about Lymphdiaral), and other treatments and lifestyle changes can also help.