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Many people don’t understand the importance and work of the lymphatic system. In this article, we will dive right into the ins and outs of the lymphatic system and how keeping it moving is vital to the proper function of your immune system and your overall health.
What is the Lymphatic System?
Our lymphatic system is a subsystem of the circulatory system and immune system, and it’s absolutely critical to the immune system. It protects you from illness and harmful diseases that cause inflammation by supplying disease-fighting cells called lymphocytes. The lymphatic system is a part of your vascular system, which is a network of intertwined vessels, ducts, nodes, and other tissues that work together to deliver lymph and blood through your body. The major components of the lymph system are located in the bone marrow, spleen, thymus gland, lymph nodes, and tonsils. In addition, the heart, lungs, intestines, liver, and skin also contain lymphatic tissue. It is this intricate system that processes the toxins and excessive fats before delivering them to the liver and kidneys to be filtered before expulsion.
What are Lymph Nodes?
The lymph nodes within our lymphatic system are amazing little filtration systems that function very similarly to a kidney. Most of our lymph nodes are in clusters in the neck, armpit, and groin area. They’re also found along the lymphatic pathways in the chest, abdomen, and pelvis, where they filter the blood. They are a residence for the vast majority of our immune cells (T-cells and neutrophils). They can become a location for sequestering cancer cells to be destroyed by our white blood cells in a healthy functioning immune system. However, when the environment inside the body is toxic and the pH is off, cancer will take up residence inside the nodes instead of being destroyed. When the primary drain, the colon, is plugged up, the lymphatic system can’t drain, toxins get stuck, and the immune system suffers.
What’s the purpose of the Lymphatic System?
The lymphatic system is known as the garbage route of your body. It brings unwanted irritants out of our tissues through the drainage system and our elimination outlets. It’s responsible for draining all the waste and toxic materials away from our organs and tissues throughout our entire body, including the brain. Unfortunately though, when it comes to detoxification, it’s common for most doctors not even to mention the lymphatic system, which is a tragic oversight.
The lymphatic vessels are open-ended and reach out into your tissues to collect the lymphatic fluid that washes through your tissues, cleaning up toxins and cell debris. The nodes are filtering centers where bacteria and other infections can be addressed before the lymph fluid continues to the liver and recirculates to clean more tissues. You have about 2 liters of this fluid that circulates through your tissues to keep you healthy and eliminate toxins, and there are about 600 lymph nodes throughout your body that take care of infections of all kinds.
Anyone struggling with inflamed lymph glands is dealing with toxicity, chronic inflammation, and an absence of lymphatic drainage.”
The lymphatic system helps maintain fluid balance in the body by collecting excess fluid and particulate matter from tissues and depositing them in the bloodstream. The lymph fluid is 95% water and is a gel-like fluid that thickens when cooled or stagnant. It is made up of a clear, watery fluid that contains proteins, salts, white blood cells, but mostly lymphocytes. The MTHFR gene mutation is often caused by the inability to detox these fluids, which causes toxin backup in the cells and the failure to utilize or process nutrients taken into the body. Lymphatic stimulation/circulation is critical for optimal health because it is essentially our body’s inner drainage system.
So… How do we keep the Lymphatic system moving?
Unlike the circulatory system, where the heart acts as a pump, this system has no pump and is not self-stimulating or self-regulating. The lymphatic system is unique because it needs manual stimulation and relies entirely on our conscious movement for lymphatic drainage. This is why we recommend daily exercises like dry brushing, self-massage, saunas, red light therapy, exercise, rebounding, and other forms of lymphatic stimulation (which we will discuss further in this article). Without these practices, the lymphatic system cannot flow and function properly, and you can experience swollen nodules, as well as sore muscles, skin rashes, or other health problems.
The lymphatic system also serves as the sewer system for our bodies, and when we begin to detoxify our digestive system, it all goes through our colon. It absorbs not only fat-soluble nutrients and carries them to the cells in our bodies but also gathers excess fluid and waste (much like the water and sewer system in your home) from cells. This fluid is transported upward to the neck, where it meets the subclavian vein (a large paired, deep vein that extends along each side of the neck), and liquid is returned to the circulatory system.
A Congested Lymph System and How It Happens
A congested lymphatic system can affect your entire body and is caused by many different factors. Knowing the signs of a congested lymphatic system is key to feeling better. For example, chronic stress is one of the leading causes of chronic health issues and lymph congestion. This is because when you’re under stress, your body creates stress-fighting hormones, which result in free radical waste products floating throughout the body, opening the door to health issues and reducing lymphatic drainage.
What happens when your Lymphatic system gets congested?
This list encompasses the majority of common symptoms:
- Weight gain
- Cold hands and feet
- Water retention
- Brain fog
- Skin problems
- Swollen glands
- Itchy and dry skin
- Muscle and joint pain
- Colds, sore throats, ear issues, and chronic sinusitis
There are approximately 100 to 150 lymph nodes surrounding the colon tissue, and emptying our colon stimulates the drainage of your lymphatic system by creating a void. By creating a “vacuum” of sorts, the lymphatic system will begin to drain and flow properly. Drainage is essential for the healing of any chronic illness.
Lymph nodes filter your fluids along the way, removing bacteria, cancer, viruses, and other harmful substances from the fluid. If the lymphatic system cannot remove the excess fluid via the bloodstream, this can result in swelling, known as edema. Edema is most common in feet, hands, legs, arms, and ankles. In addition, a congested lymphatic system and edema are also brought on by poor nutrition, imbalanced electrolytes, and even injury.
Detoxing Your Lymphatic System
Detoxification and some simple life strategies can help remove many toxins that cause lymphatic congestion. Here are some techniques to unclog your lymphatic system naturally:
Deep breathing: This is beneficial because your rib cage is an essential pump for healthy lymphatic movement. This is because a major cluster of your lymphatic system is in the upper chest/neck area, and deep breathing will stimulate these clusters, reducing lymphatic congestion.
Staying fully hydrated: When the Lymphatic system is well hydrated it’s able to move freely and can do its job to keep body fluids in balance, remove toxins, fight off illness, and most importantly destroy abnormal cells.
Infrared light therapy: the deep penetration of heat releases toxins from the fat layers beneath the skin through sweat. It also helps your body eliminate toxins from your internal organs. Once the first round of toxins have been eliminated, toxins from the organs move into a layer of tissue under the skin and are then eliminated through sweat.
There are other ways to help your lymphatic system work at its best, and detoxification is one critical element. You will notice constant lymphatic changes as you move through the healing process from stabilization to detoxification and then to fortification. Lymphatic drainage is something that will improve as you go.
When it comes to lymphatic drainage, initially, the primary remedies for healing are as follows:
- Physical movement (walking, exercise, dancing, jumping on mini-trampoline)
- Using digestive enzymes
- Herbal colon cleansers
- Fulvic acid
- Lymphatic-friendly foods (Water, Cranberry, Leafy greens, Nuts and seeds (like Chia Seeds), Adaptogens like Ashwagandha, Garlic, Ginger, Turmeric, Seaweed, Citrus)
- Lymphatic massage therapy
- Proper sleep
- Avoid restrictive clothing
- Alternating shower temperatures
Here are some more in-depth explanations to help with your Lymphatic Detox:
Alternating shower temperatures: You can easily cleanse your lymphatic system by shocking it with varying temperatures in the shower. For example, while taking a hot shower, suddenly switch the hot water off and let the cold water wash over you. Your blood vessels will dilate in the warmth and then constrict in the cold, creating a “pump” to help flush out this system.
Jumping on a mini-trampoline: Rebound exercise is wonderful for cleansing the lymphatic system and can have many other benefits. Movement jump-starts your system and helps it drain. Without forcing the lymphatic fluid to drain, toxins collect stagnantly in the lymph instead of leaving the body, causing all the issues we covered earlier. You can also use other types of exercise, such as walking, weight lifting, or swimming, to help flush toxins in the lymph. But rebounding (jumping) is the most effective movement therapy for increasing lymph flow and draining toxins from the body. Many natural health practitioners recommend daily rebounding as a gentle detox technique. Due to the up-down movement, lymphatic fluid is forced to flow and flush toxins. Therefore, your detox pathways must be open so the toxins can get out.
Choosing lymphatic-friendly foods as often as possible will also help keep your lymphatic system in tip-top shape. Examples are cranberries, deep leafy green veggies, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, nuts, seeds, and citrus (lemon, lime, oranges).
As the lymphatic system drains and clears toxins away, your vital organs and tissues can eliminate the toxic build-up within the depths of their cells. When the lymphatic system drains, as a result of the bowels becoming more active, we will need to support the body’s primary filtration systems – the liver and kidneys. Once the lymphatic system begins draining into the circulatory system, the amount of waste in the bloodstream increases, making more work for the liver and kidneys. As the liver and kidneys drain and cleanse themselves, our bloodstream becomes cleaner and less inflamed. Being mindful of the issues and having the tools are the first steps to optimal health.
In conclusion, the lymphatic system, often overlooked in discussions about health and wellness, plays an indispensable role in our overall well-being. It is a vital part of our immune system, cleansing our bodies of toxins and waste, and maintaining fluid balance. The lymphatic system’s importance cannot be overstated, as it influences everything from immune function to organ health. A congested lymphatic system can lead to a myriad of health issues, from fatigue to swollen glands and chronic illnesses.
To ensure that this system functions optimally, we must take an active role in its care. The lymphatic system, unlike the circulatory system, relies on our conscious efforts for stimulation. Daily practices like exercise and other forms of lymphatic stimulation are essential. Additionally, adopting a healthier lifestyle, staying hydrated, and making mindful dietary choices can contribute to the proper functioning of the lymphatic system.
If your body’s natural detoxification system is not working properly or you have other health issues, we recommend starting with a detox program. However, sometimes just moving more daily can set you on a path to much better health.
If you have any questions and seek support, please email us at email@example.com; we’re here to help!
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your health care provider before using these products.
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