Did you know that our lymphatic system has three times more fluid than our arterial system (blood) does? The only thing is , it doesn’t have a pump!
If it doesn’t have a pump, then how does it move throughout our body?
The lymphatic system is part of the department of defense and waste management of our body. It is right under your skin. Stick with me and you’ll find out how to keep it healthy and running smoothly.
WHAT DOES THE LYMPHATIC SYSTEM DO?
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The Lymphatic System is a very miraculous thing. Not only does it protect your body by bringing nutrients in, but it also gets rid of waste that our cells put out that the body cannot or is not good to use anymore, this is called metabolic waste. This includes cancer cells, dead cells, nitrogenous waste, heavy metals, viruses, and a bunch of other things that are harmful to our body.
Our arterial system has a pump which is the heart to move things around, while our lymphatic system does not.
There are three ways we can keep it flowing and that is through moving our body through exercise, gravitational pressure and manual massage.
If we don’t keep it flowing then that’s when our immune system starts to fail and we can get very sick with disease and even get cancer.
When we are invaded with infection, bacteria, viruses, or cancer cells, our lymphatic system is designed to mount an attack on these invaders, to flush out these toxins and aid in cellular repair.
However, if we live a sedentary lifestyle, make poor food choices, have bowel obstructions from constipation, polluted environment toxins and stress, the lymphatic system can become overloaded, congested, and it cannot function like it should.
When the lymphatic system cannot flow freely and is congested it cannot get to foreign invaders and remove the threat. This is when your body will become full of toxins, and you begin to feel sluggish, and tired.
If our body is unable to fight against simple threats like a cold, the flu, a headache, weight gain, or brain fog, then that’s when we start to turn to things like caffeine, carbohydrates, drugs or sugar, which only makes matters worse for us.
Don’t worry though, because you can get it flowing again and recover your immune system. Just keep reading.
WHAT ARE LYMPH NODES?
Lymph nodes, along with lymph, lymph vessels, tonsils, thymus, spleen and your bone marrow are what our lymphatic system is comprised of. Lymph nodes are bean-shaped soft nodules that are filters for lymph.
Lymph is a clear sticky substance that surrounds our cells, collects waste, carries white blood cells (lymphocytes) which fight against viruses and bacteria. One of its job is to trap cancer cells.
Lymph nodes are all over your body, but the places they are most concentrated on are, in your neck area, groin and armpits. If you have swollen lymph nodes, this could be a sign that your body is fighting toxins like a virus, an injury, bacteria or cancer cells.
So when you feel a swollen lymph node, this tells you that your lymph nodes are doing their job by trapping these toxins and fighting against it to get rid of it.
You may even get a fever as your body is working hard. This is the time to allow your body to do it’s job, rest and give it time. However, if your lymph nodes remain enlarged for over two weeks or your fever gets to 103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, that’s when I would call a doctor.
LYMPH NODES IN THE NECK
You have a lot of lymph nodes in your head and neck. I think that’s a good thing because that means you have a lot of filters for the bad stuff going around.
You have mucus membranes to try to filter out debris in your nostrils and mouth, but sometimes the strong bacteria and viruses can get by and therefore, your lymph nodes in your head and neck are ready to catch them to do battle.
If you have swollen lymph nodes in your neck, these could be the reasons:
1) Sinus infection
2) Strep throat
4) Tooth infection
5) Skin infection
6) HIV infection
7) Ear infection
8) A cold
10) Lupus 1
LYMPH NODES IN THE ARMPITS
There are more than 20 lymph nodes in the armpit. Normally these lymph nodes cannot be felt under the skin, unless it is swollen.
Swollen lymph nodes in the armpit is called Axillary Lymphadenopathy. This could be caused by an infection, cancer or other causes. Sometimes, antiperspirants or shaving can cause cysts to grow in the armpit.
They are usually smaller, under the skin and will eventually go away. If they are hard and immovable, I would have this looked at by your doctor.
Here are some of the causes of lumps in the armpit:
1) Allergic reactions
2) Lipoma (Fatty Tissue)
3) Fungal infections
5) Bacterial infections
6) Breast cancer
LYMPH NODES IN THE GROIN
Lymph nodes in the groin are called Inguinal lymph nodes. In the upper inner thigh, there are 10 nodes close to the surface.
These nodes drain deeper into the lymph nodes that are three to five deep in the connective tissue of the upper thigh. From there, lymph fluid drains into other lymph nodes in the pelvis area.
There are several causes of lumps in the groin area, and they don’t necessarily mean they are lymph nodes.
Here are different reason for a lump in the groin area:
1) Inguinal Hernia – These are the most common type of hernias. They mostly occur in men and that’s because men’s testicles descend into the inguinal canal shortly after they are born. The inguinal canal doesn’t close all the way leaving a weakened area to where intestines can push through.
2) Genital Herpes – This is sexually transmitted disease that can cause fluid filled blisters.
3) Femoral Hernia – This is when a part of tissue pushes through the wall of the femoral canal if you over strain.
Groin lymph nodes can swell due to lymphoma or testicular cancer, or from an infection that occurs in the genitals or legs. If you feel a hard, immovable lump, see your doctor as soon as you can!
SYMPTOMS OF LYMPHATIC SYSTEM BLOCKAGE
Here are some signs that your lymphatic system is congested or blocked:
- You’re retaining water. Your skin seems puffy or your rings get tight on your fingers is a good indication that your body is holding on to water.
- Brain fog, you have chronic headaches, or are experiencing migraines often.
- Your hands and feet are always cold.
- Arthritis or inflammation of your joints. You wake every morning with soreness and stiffness.
- You’re putting on weight fast.
- You feel sluggish and tired all the time.
- Your skin is dry, or itchy or it seems you’re aging fast.
- You have diabetes.
- You have cancer.
LYMPHATIC SYSTEM DISORDERS
If we don’t make a conscious effort to keep our lymphatic system healthy, these disorders can make our lives miserable and lead to more serious diseases.
Here are some disorders of the lymphatic system:
1) Edema – Swelling caused by trapped water in the cavities and tissues of our body. This is more noticeable in the hands, feet, ankles and legs.
2) Lymphedema – This is mostly caused by removing lymph nodes or injury to a lymph node due to cancer treatment. This can cause an arm or a leg to swell up with fluid. Sometimes both arms or legs can swell up.
3) Hodgkin’s Disease – Is a blood cancer that starts in the lymphatic system. It is often curable and most common symptom is swelling of the lymph nodes.
4) Tonsilitis – This is when the tonsils in the back of your throat are infected.
5) Lymphadenopathy – A disease of the lymph nodes which make them enlarge or they are swollen. The causes are infections, auto-immune disease, or cancer.
The tips and ideas presented here are ways you can keep your lymphatic system drained and healthy.
Most of these ideas are easy to do and to incorporate into your daily lifestyle.
Deep breathing will stimulate your lymphatic system. Here is a very good exercise to do once or twice a day. This breathing exercise will also help you if you are prone to having anxiety, or are under stress.
- Close your mouth, put the tip of your tongue on the ridge of your upper teeth. Inhale slowly through your nose while mentally counting to 4.
- Hold your breath and mentally count to 7.
- Slowly exhale through your mouth while mentally counting to 8, keeping the tip of your tongue touching the ridge on your upper teeth. You can purse your lips while doing this as you’ll be making a wooshing sound.
- Repeat this about 3 to 4 times.
Here are some things we don’t think about. Our skin is our largest organ that eliminates toxins through our sweat. Some of the things we use that puts a barrier up that inhibits elimination of toxins are these:
1) Tight fitting bra – Go bra-less as much as you can.
2) Sunscreen – While we are taught to apply sunscreen liberally to reduce our chances of skin cancer, the fact of the matter is, most sunscreens create a barrier and have toxic chemicals that can enter our system through the skin. Many of us are low in Vitamin D, and we don’t even know about it because when we’re out in the sun wearing sunscreen. Best thing to do is wear a large hat or stay under the shade. You have a choice, a nice tan or a healthy body.
4) Moisturizers – Now we do need these, so go with an all natural moisturizer that doesn’t include the bad stuff like parabens , synthetic fragrances, that sort of thing.
5) Sleep in tight fitting clothes – It is between 10 pm and 2 am that the body does a major detoxification, so choose loose fitting clothes with natural fibers.
6) Dry and dead skin cells – One way to keep this from being a barrier is to perform Dry Skin Brushing. All you need is a natural bristle brush for this.
Here are some benefits of dry skin brushing:
- Makes skin softer and fresher, therefore, more youthful.
- Stimulates nerve endings in the skin, which will rejuvenate the nervous system.
- Removes dead skin cells and other impurities.
- Stimulates both lymphatic and blood circulation.
- Will open pores for better toxin removal.
- Stimulates oil producing glands.
Here is an excellent video to show you how to dry brush your skin plus some bonuses
Here are the products shown in the video:
CHANGE YOUR DIET
1) Go on an anti-inflammatory diet – Go to my Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss post and this will help you to lose weight a healthy way. The food you eat here will be all natural and anti-inflammatory. If you don’t need to lose weight, then just go to the list of foods to see foods suggested but eat a larger portion.
2) Start juicing – This is one way of getting concentrated vitamins and minerals into your system to help the lymphatic system. I’ve got some helpful posts here on Leaf and Nectar to get you started:
3) Eat raw organic fruits and vegetables – Eating live, raw fruits and vegetables is one of the best things you can do for your body. Raw foods retain much needed enzymes that cooked foods don’t.
4) Choose your carbs wisely – These are what makes you fat and clogs up your lymphatic system. Choose good grains like quinoa, wild rice, amaranth, or for noodles, choose Shiritake noodle.
5) Stop eating dairy – Dairy products makes your body produce a lot of mucus through it’s processing. All the proteins in dairy have been de-natured through the process of heating which makes these proteins indigestible, and are highly toxic to our lymphatic system. So in an attempt to get it out of the body as soon as possible, your body will make mucus. When your body is full of mucus it causes lymphatic stagnation. It increases toximia in the body.
6) Organic Apple Cider vinegar – There are so many benefits of adding this to your diet. Just add 1 to 3 teaspoons to a cup of hot or cold water before every meal. Go ahead, google it!
7) Reduce protein intake – Did you know that the maximum protein intake a human body should have is 10% of your caloric intake? Today we are bombarded with information that we should be taking in a lot of protein. People are adding protein to their fruit smoothies! What happens when we eat too much animal protein? Unlike carbs, protein cannot be stored, so what our kidneys can’t handle will be dumped back into our lymphatic system. Excess protein can result into osteoporosis, cancer and kidney disease.
8) Add lemon to your water – Citric foods are astringents. They help your lymphatic vessels contract.
9) Use natural herbs – Include herbs in your diet that enhance lymphatic health. There are many naturapathic doctors that can help you select the best herbs for this purpose.
EXERCISE FOR LYMPHATIC FLOW
You gotta move! One of the easiest forms of exercise to get your lymphatic fluid flowing is walking. Remember your lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump and therefore it is totally dependent on movement of the muscles and blood flow. When you walk, be sure to swing your arms a bit.
That’ll stimulate your lymphatic vessels and lymph nodes in your armpits. The very act of swinging your legs to walk will also stimulate and activate the lymph nodes in your groin area. Walk for at least 40 minutes, 3 to 4 times a week. This will not only stimulate your lymphatic system, but will also drain it through your sweat.
Yoga is a great way to get your lymphatic system flowing. With getting muscles contracting with flexing, stretching and heating up, creates a great environment to get the lymph flowing and draining through sweat.
I remember when my late husband, Brad, had gone to a hot yoga session for the first time, he came home with an orange glow on his cheeks and orange palms. He was following the Hallelujah Acres diet where you drink a lot of green juice mixed with carrot juice. Because he was sweating profusely, the beta-carotene in his system leaked out with his sweat. That tells you right there how effective yoga can be to drain your lymph. Be sure to drink lots of water prior to doing a yoga session. Being dehydrated while performing yoga won’t do you any good.
Rebounding is one of the best exercises you can do for your lymphatic system. Cardio exercise will get your heart pumping, blood flowing, and your muscle contracting which then gets your lymphatic system moving as well. What makes rebounding the best exercise for your lymphatic system versus running or walking, is the up and down motion. Let me explain. According to a NASA study rebounding is twice as effective than running.
There is strong evidence supporting that jumping, as an exercise, can be more beneficial than running. According to the paper published in The Journal of Applied Physiology (Bhattacharya, et al. 19980), jumping engages the same areas of the body with less impact, minimal stress on the heart, while using the same amount of oxygen that is used during running.
In short, when done correctly, jumping is easier on the body while being a challenging workout, when compared to running.
It should also be noted that the study’s focus was to assist Astronauts’ rehabilitation after experiencing weightlessness (which results in bone mass loss). So this is an exercise that can be considered therapeutic for persons who experience physical limitations.
With rebounding, you can jump out the toxins with low impact. It stimulates millions of one-way valves in your lymphatic system. It has shown to improve balance and because of it being a low impact exercise, you can perform longer intervals than you could on solid ground without tiring out.
I have done some research, and here are two of the best rebounding trampolines you can buy. I encourage you to click on the links and get more information on each one.
What I like about the above rebounder is that it comes with a rail for you to hold on to. It is definitely a quality rebounder that will last a long time and therefore worth the money. This one is rated 4 1/2 stars.
This one is also a good quality rebounder. It has a 4 Star rating on Amazon.
INFRARED SAUNA BENEFITS
Infrared saunas are a great way to detox. It provides many health benefits of the natural sun without the dangerous effects of solar radiation. When you sit in an infrared sauna the infrared energy will travel 2 to 3 inches into the body and will improve lymphatic and blood circulation. Here’s a list of benefits:
1) Detoxify – Because of the deep penetration of infrared rays into your body tissue cells, body toxins are quickly removed. Your body will sweat and your skin is purified of toxins.
2) Burns fat – When your body heats up, it sweats, therefore, you are burning calories, and getting a boost to your metabolism. Infrared also releases toxins stored in your fat cells. Studies show that there are up 800 chemical residues in fat cells. These can cause toxic overload if not removed.
3) Regenerates your skin – Infrared waves go deep into the tissues of your skin, and will help with cell replacement and cleanse your skin. It will unclog pores and remove impurities. It will increase blood circulation which will help nutrients flow and relieve psoriasis, eczema and acne.
4) Boosts immune system – Infrared heat raises your white blood cell count and killer T-cells, which then will strengthen your immune system to help fight disease. Infrared heat can reduce symptoms of a cold or flu, if treated early.
5) Helps alleviate cold hands and feet, fatigue, allergies, brain fog, and other disorders. You can find places that have infrared saunas you can use. Just google it. You can also, buy your own. We have one that is small enough to fit in our bedroom.
The things to remember to do before getting into an infrared sauna is to make sure you are well hydrated. You can also bring a glass of water with you so you can drink while you’re in there.
Bring a timer with you so you know how long you’ve been in there and don’t overheat. Avoid lotions and oils while you’re in there and line your seat with a towel to absorb perspiration. If it gets too hot, open the door for fresh air. You will still get the benefits of infrared waves.
HOT AND COLD WATER THERAPY
Have you ever been to a place, maybe as a kid, where there was a hot tub and a swimming pool? Maybe, you would sit in the hot spa, then after awhile you’d get so hot that you’d go and jump in the pool to cool off? I know I did. It was always a shock to my system to jump into that cold pool! But, I’d do it over and over again. Did you do that? Little did we know we were giving our lymphatic system a boost.
We were revving up the engine to get our bodily fluids going and starting the draining of toxin process. That’s what we need to be doing now. Go ahead, be a kid again!
You can even do this in the shower. Turn on the hot water, then when it gets too hot, switch to cold water. Do this about 5 to 7 times, alternating between hot and cold. When your body is exposed to cold water, your lymph vessels will contract, and hot water will cause them to relax.
So it’s a contract, release action for your lymph system and it’ll get fluids moving in the right direction. When your body is exposed to hot water, the blood in your body will rush to the surface of your skin to release heat to keep your vital organs protected from high temperatures.
When your body is exposed to cold water, your blood will go in the opposite direction , deeper in, to maintain heat around your vital organs. When we expose our bodies to hot and cold like this, we cause the blood to move outward, then forward, back and forth. When this happens, the lymph will go alongside the blood, which stimulates lymphatic flow.
If you watched the video above under Dry Skin Brushing, the lady talked about doing a manual massage you can do yourself. There are also places that provide professional lymphatic massage therapy that can be very beneficial, especially for those who are already suffering from lymphatic disorders or cancer.
MANUAL LYMPHATIC MASSAGE
This is a very light massage using rhythmic strokes done by a trained specialist. They will massage areas you cannot reach and know the lymph system so well that they know where to touch and you can fully relax. This will increase lymphatic flow throughout your body, strengthen immunity and relieve stress.
ELECTRIC LYMPHATIC MASSAGE
Trained specialist will use a therapeutic treatment wand that look like long electric bulbs and will lightly sweep your skin and do this all over your body. This will painlessly break down congestion using inert gas ionization.
This therapy will help remove toxins, dead and cancerous cells, fat, infectious viruses, nitrogenous wastes, heavy metals and other cell metabolic wastes.
MYOFASCIAL RELEASE MASSAGE
Your fascia is a thin fiber covering for your muscles, bones and organs. Our body goes through a lot of damage from overexertion, bad food choices, trauma and stress.
Over time, this damage can build up metabolic waste in our body’s superficial fascia. This can cause tension and restrictions in flow of nutrients and waste products in your skin and muscles.
During a myofascial release massage the fascia is released from its position of tension. The fascia will then return to its natural position. This release will be a big help to relieve pain or trauma you are experiencing. It will increase both blood and lymphatic flow throughout your body.
EMedicine Health https://www.emedicinehealth.com/swollen_lymph_glands/article_em.htm#what_are_lymph_nodes Reference* https://www.reference.com/article/purpose-lymphatic-system-62d1c70fc94b8b59?aq=how+to+drain+lymphatic+system&qo=cdpArticles
Harvard Medical School https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/how-much-protein-do-you-need-every-day-201506188096 Nabilinho https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mODSv8Iatt4
Bhattacharya, E.P. McCutcheon, E Shvartz, and J.E. Greenleaf. Body acceleration distribution and O2 uptake in humans during running and jumping. Journal of Applied Physiology. Vol 49, Issue 5. Pages 881-887. (https://www.physiology.org/doi/abs/10.1152/jappl.1922.214.171.1241) An Oasis Of Healing https://www.anoasisofhealing.com/
The content of this website is research done by me, Linda Edwards, author of blossomingwidow.com.Everything you find here is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, cure, prevent or treat any medical condition. The information you find here is not to replace your relationship with your physician or other medical professionals. The information is not intended for medical advice but rather, sharing with you knowledge I have gained through research and experience. If you apply any information you find here, it is based solely on your own discretion, and at your own risk. Linda Edwards / blossomingwidow.com shall not be held liable for any reason.