The lymphatic system may be one of the most ignored body systems, but it is one of the most important. It is a key to the body’s immune defenses because it can render harmful bacteria harmless – it removes waste from every cell in the body and helps regulate the immune system.
The lymphatic system includes the lymph vessels, a network of tubing, millions of tiny vessels, ducts, and valves that flush and filter waste products from cells and tissues. Lymph nodes, lymph fluid, tonsils, the spleen and the thymus gland are part of this network as well. By itself, the lymphatic system is twice as large as the arterial system.
If it doesn’t flow freely, the lymph fluid becomes thick and toxic and may foster a breeding ground for infection and contribute to a lowered immune response and other health problems. Dehydration, poor diet and lack of exercise contribute to lymphatic congestion.
- Aches and pains; swollen glands or tenderness
- Cellulite, obesity, swollen fingers
- Numbness or tingling in the extremities
- Eczema and other skin conditions
- Frequent colds
Causes of a sluggish lymphatic system
- Lack of exercise
- Poor diet
Natural Solutions Tips to Support the Lymphatic System
- Gently bouncing or rebounding on a mini trampoline is the best exercise to move the lymph. The lymph “pump” relies on muscle contraction, gravity and stimulation to circulate. The feet don’t have to leave the surface of the trampoline for one to receive benefits, and some mini-trampolines come equipped with stabilizer bars. Start slowly, and gradually add more time. Rebound ten to twenty minutes every day.
- Dry skin brushing promotes the flow of lymph, opens pores and helps the skin to breathe. Use a natural bristle brush and brush skin always towards the heart. Do not brush throat or face. Then bathe or shower.
- Bathing in a seaweed bath stimulates lymphatic activity. Add the seaweed bag to the tub and gently squeeze the seaweed bag to release the minerals into the hot bath water. Stay in the bath 20-30 minutes and then rinse off.
- Drinking plenty of pure water helps flush the lymphatic system. Sip hot water every 10-15 minutes.
- Deep breathing helps to pump lymph fluid.
Herbs and essential oils that help cleanse and move the lymph
- Bay Laurel
Whole foods (especially red and green foods) that support a healthy lymphatic system
- Green vegetables
Note: If you are considering doing a detox, BEFORE you do, make sure the lymphatic system, an important detoxification channel, is moving. It wouldn’t do much good to flush more cellular waste into a clogged pipe! Remember, it is your body’s biggest drain, and lymph needs to flow freely!
Barbara Howard is a natural health writer and specializes in natural health and LOHAS, Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability. She writes for newsletters and publications as Total Health Magazine, SkinInc Magazine, has a column, “Natural Solutions”, in Health Matters Magazine, online portals such as Care2.com and tm.org. She is also a marketing consultant and she specializes in natural health marketing and communications. Read her blog at Natural Solutions News.
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