The lymphatic system circulates, cleans, and filters all of the leftover blood in the body. There is three times more lymph in the body than blood. Learning to cleanse the lymph system is imperative for health.
80% of our immune cells reside in our ‘gut’. These immune cells are contained in Gut Associated Lymphatic Tissue (GALT). The gut is the storehouse of the lymph system, involving everything from our tonsils and adenoids in our throat to our large intestines. White blood cells that are part of the lymph system are called Lymphocytes and are made and stored in the thymus, spleen, appendix, bone marrow and lymph nodes throughout the body. As you can see, the from your mouth to your colon, the lymph is a major system that needs cleansing.
The Role of the Lymphatic System
The lymph is a type of sewer system in the body. It filters out viruses, bacteria, toxins, cancer cells, and chemicals. These foreign particles are stored in the lymph system filters. Although the body pumps blood, the lymphatic system has no pump to move the lymph through its cleaning cycle. The lymph nodes reside throughout the body near major organs. Their job is to clean the blood for those organs. The lymphatic fluid moves out of the nodes through the lymphatic ducts that lead to the liver and kidney filters and finally to the bowels for disposal.
Think about it… Every cancer diagnosis comes with a lymph node biopsy. If the body cannot remove the lymph from the nodes (remember there is no pump for this system) toxins and cancerous cells cannot be emptied into the lymphatic ducts. As toxins build up in the lymph, it becomes thick and sludge-like, making it more difficult to move through the system and clean up. These toxins fester in the system and are not recognized by the immune system in the lymph. The toxins are exposed to the organs where they can take root in that organ and cause metastasis.
This is how cancer is spread and why every diagnosis has a lymph biopsy. If the cancer is found in the lymph, it has been carried throughout the body via the lymph and in Western medicine that means chemotherapy. Chemo does not discriminate between healthy cells and cancer cells and causes overall cell death. To avoid this, it is important to keep the lymph system moving and healthy so it can alert the immune system and move the lymph to the liver for detoxification and eventual elimination through the bowel.
Toxins attack the lymph system daily. These toxins may include cigarette smoke, pollution, medication, supplements, food additives, chemicals, or pesticides. Add to these toxins the fact that most people living in the West eat a Standard American Diet (SAD), which lacks nutrients that serve as fuel. If we do not get the proper nutrition, essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, at some point our lymph systems will begin to get sluggish or fail.
Symptoms of a sluggish lymph system may include:
- Swollen fingers or bloating
- AM Soreness/stiffness
- Discoloration of legs
- Breast swelling or soreness with each cycle
- Dry or itchy skin
- Brain fog
- Cold hands/feet/poor circulation
So what pumps the lymph through the system?
- Exercise! Muscle movement stimulates the valves in the veins that help churn the lymph upwards toward the heart. Anything that creates zero gravity can also help move the lymph (trampolines, rebounding) toward axillary lymph channels.
- Deep breathing, from the diaphragm, helps move the lymph toward the ducts and channels. Our body has more lymph than blood so slow, deep breathing throughout the day creates positive and negative pressure to move the lymph.
- Diet is essential. Eliminate processed food, avoid GMO and pesticides, eat whole foods, increase plant-based foods, eat with the seasons (eating warming foods in the winter and cooling foods in the summer), eat raw fruit separate from other foods to encourage proper enzymes for digestion.
- Eat red foods like pomegranates, cherries, beets, and cranberries! All have lymph stimulating qualities and are used in Ayurveda to cleanse the system.
- Massage will help move stagnant lymph towards the heart. You can also use a natural bristle brush in the mornings and brush your body toward your heart. Brush the torso, arms and legs toward the heart using a circular motion.
- Drink lots of room temperature water. Water lubricates the lymph and lets it flow easier. Cold water hinders digestion. Make sure you have a good filter (to remove chemicals like fluoride and chlorine.) Stay away from sugary drinks and sweets.
- Low iodine has also been reported to be a sign of improper lymph flow. Lugol’s iodine helps to support toxin removal from lymph. Always be sure to contact your healthcare provider before starting a new medication.
- Acupuncture for detox and stress. Stress also plays a role in poor lymph flow and can be improved with Acupuncture and massage.
- Whole Body Vibrational Therapy is an excellent way to clean the lymph system, incorporating muscle movement, mild zero gravity, and circulation to move lymph toward the heart.
- Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, 16th Edition
The lymphatic system
- The Fat Flush Plan by Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD
- www.lifespa.com: The Miracle of Lymph-Dr John Douillard’s Lifespa