Many people are unaware of 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 a vital part of the proper function of our immune system and our overall health.
What is the Lymphatic System?
Our lymphatic system is a subsystem of the circulatory system and immune system, and it is critical to our immune system, unlike all others. It protects us from illness and harmful diseases causing inflammation by supplying disease-fighting cells called lymphocytes. The lymphatic system is a part of the vascular system, a network of vessels and ducts, nodes, and other tissues that work together. 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.
Lymph nodes within the 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. When the primary drain, the colon, is plugged up, the lymphatic system can't drain, toxins get stuck, and the immune system suffers.
Purpose of the Lymphatic System
The lymphatic system is known as the garbage route bringing unwanted irritants out of our tissues through the drainage system and our elimination outlets. It is responsible for draining all the waste and toxic materials away from our organs and tissues throughout our entire body, including the brain. Unfortunately, when it comes to detoxification, it's common for most doctors not even to mention the lymphatic system, which is tragic.
The lymphatic vessels are open-ended and reach out into our tissues to collect the lymphatic fluid that washes through our 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. We have about 2 liters of this fluid that circulates through our tissues to keep us healthy and eliminate toxins, and we have about 600 lymph nodes throughout our 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.
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 to work optimally. 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 we will 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. Did you know that chronic stress is one of the leading causes of chronic health issues and lymph congestion? That is because when we are under stress, our body creates stress-fighting hormones, which results in free radical waste products floating throughout the body, opening the door to health issues.
This list encompasses the majority of common symptoms:
- Weight gain
- Cold hands and feet
- Water retention
- Brain fog
- Skin problems
- Swollen glands
- Skin problems
- Itchy and dry skin
- Muscle and joint pain
- Skin problems
- Colds, sore throats, ear issues, and chronic sinusitis
- Did we mention skin problems?
There are approximately 100 to 150 lymph nodes surrounding the colon tissue, and emptying our colon stimulates the drainage of our lymphatic system by creating a void in the system. 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 serve as filters of this fluid 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 results 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.
How to Cleanse the Lymphatic System: Lymphatic Detox
Detoxification and some simple life strategies can help remove many toxins that cause this congestion. Deep breathing is beneficial because your rib cage is an essential lymphatic pump for healthy lymphatic movement as a major cluster of your lymphatic system is in the upper chest neck area. Staying fully hydrated is crucial as well. Another easy and effective access to the lymphatic system is the skin, which is one reason why dry brushing and infrared light therapy can be so effective as a detox method.
Using 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 has 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 to healing are:
- Physical movement (walking, exercise, dancing, jump on mini-trampoline)
- Digestive enzymes
- Herbal colon cleansers such as Digestive Detox
- Fulvic acid
- Lymphatic friendly foods
- Sauna and massage therapy
- Proper sleep
- Avoid restrictive clothing
- Alternating shower temperatures
Your lymphatic system is an extensive and complex system that requires special attention when detoxing. 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.
You can also implement jumping on a mini-trampoline. Rebound exercise is wonderful for cleansing the lymphatic system. Movement turns on the garbage disposal – without movement that forces the lymphatic fluid to drain, toxins collect stagnantly in the lymph instead of leaving the body. Other types of exercise, such as walking, weight lifting, or swimming, will also help flush toxins in the lymph.
Rebounding 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 and seeds, and citrus (lemon, lime, oranges).
As the lymphatic system drains and clears toxins away, our 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 bodies' 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 pro-inflammatory. Being mindful of the issues and having the tools are the first steps to optimal health.
If your body's natural detoxification system is not working properly or has other health issues, you may want to start with a detox program. However, sometimes just a good house cleaning can set you on a path to much better health.
If you have any questions and seek support, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org; we'll be glad 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.