The lymphatic system is widely recognized by doctors of Oriental Medicine for its importance to preventive health care. They understand how lymphatic function supports every other system in the body, including the immune, digestive, detoxification and nervous systems. In fact, many believe that poor lymph health underlies a host of conditions, from cellulite to cancer.
The reality is that you have twice as much lymph fluid in your body as blood. The lymph continuously bathes each cell and drains away the waste in a circulatory system powered only by your breathing and movement. If the movement of the lymph stopped entirely you would die in a matter of hours.
FUNCTIONS OF THE LYMPHATIC SYSTEM:
•Carries nutrients and oxygen to the body’s cells and tissues
•Provides the medium for the function of the immune system
•Moves and manages wastes and toxins within the cells and tissues
•Removes larger protein wastes from the interstitial space (the spaces between the cells)
•Maintains fluid balance in tissues
•Removes foreign particulates and environmental toxins
•Transports long-chain fatty acids (in food) from the small intestine to the liver
Because lymph cleanses nearly every cell in your body, symptoms of chronic lymph blockage are diverse but can include worsened allergies and food sensitivities, frequent cold and flu infections, joint pain, headaches and migraines, menstrual cramps, arthritis, fibrocystic breasts, breast tenderness, sinusitis, loss of appetite and GI issues, muscle cramping, tissue swelling, fatigue, mental fuzziness, mood irregularities, depression, parasitic overgrowth, skin breakouts, acne, and cellulite. In general, you may feel tired and toxic, with a heaviness in your abdomen. In Chinese medicine, practitioners call this “excessive damp” that undermines your whole health.
Stagnant lymph can also interfere with the system’s ability to cleanse more potentially hazardous concerns, such as bacteria and cancerous or diseased cells from organ tissue. Viral infections, bacteria, and cancerous or mutagenic cells move through the lymph fluid, where they are targeted and destroyed in the lymph nodes — when the system is adequate to the task.
Cellulite and “saddle bags” along the thighs are partially the result of impaired lymph flow to certain areas, causing immobilized pockets of fat and trapping toxins. Over 90% of women have some form of cellulite resulting from weight gain, a genetic predisposition, or inactivity. Improving the circulation of lymph in areas prone to cellulite and reducing toxic burden are two successful ways to diminish cellulite from the inside out.
REJUVENATING YOUR LYMPH SYSTEM
•Clean up your diet. Reduce your body’s toxic burden by avoiding processed food, eating organic when possible, and reducing simple sugars and carbohydrates. Get tested for heavy metal exposure (lead and mercury are very common in the US). The idea here is that the less waste your lymph has to deal with, the more easily it will flow.
•Nutritional detox and colon cleanse, supported by liver enzymes, will ease your liver and kidney burden, which in turn will decrease pressure on your spleen.
•Investigate any food sensitivities or allergies that may be affecting your digestion. Take a medical-grade multivitamin to support your cellular function, digestion, and elimination. Look into probiotic supplements to help maintain a healthy ratio of intestinal flora.
•Drink plenty of purified or filtered water — at least six to eight 8–oz glasses per day. Your body needs hydration to keep the fluids running!
•Consider regular visits to a lymph drainage therapist. This is a wonderful and healthy way to pamper yourself (and your internal organs). This is especially invaluable during a detox. Our electronically-assisted lymphatic drainage treatments are extremely effective. See more at www.Acu-Na.com
•Practice deep breathing. Breathing deeply from the diaphragm, not shallowly from the chest, and through the nose rather than the mouth, is one of the best ways to move lymph fluid through your body.
•Get regular physical exercise. Jumping on a rebounder, or mini-trampoline, just five minutes a day is a great way to get your lymph system pumping. Walking, stretching, tai chi, qigong, yoga, Pilates, and other moderate activities are helpful, too — especially if you do them every day. Or find an activity that suits you. Some women prefer ballroom dancing, others swimming. What’s important is that you make it a regular and joy-inducing part of your life.
•Don’t be afraid to sweat! A weekly sauna or steam bath is a pleasant way to facilitate a healthy sweat, and sweating helps detoxify the body and so supports lymphatic function. Avoid aluminum-based antiperspirants (they block sweating and add to your toxic load) and choose natural deodorants instead.
•Avoid restrictive clothing that press on your lymph nodes. Underwires and overtight bras, jeans, and skirts can impede lymph flow. Try to go bra-free for at least 12 hours a day, and don’t sleep in one. If this is uncomfortable for you, consider buying a stretchy camisole.
•If you are concerned about cellulite, massaging those specific areas and the lymph nodes in the groin on a daily basis can be helpful.
•Consider acupuncture. Chinese medical doctors are far ahead of their Western counterparts when it comes to “unsticking” the lymph system. As a treatment or preventative, acupuncture can be a great way to keep things moving. It can also help alleviate discomfort that may arise while you are detoxing.
•Examine your emotional issues. Sometimes we get stuck in a particular pattern of stress that reduces our capacity to make positive changes. Your lymph can become blocked when you are feeling stuck or unable to express yourself. Remember that your life, too, is a progression, and “our biography becomes our biology.” If you find the same situations arising over and over, you may want to take a closer look. Discuss any areas that feel stagnant or obtrusive with a friend, partner, therapist or trusted advisor. You may find that as your lymph system unbinds, so does your spirit.
-Some excerpts used from article “The Lymph System and your Health” by Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN NP
Further reading: https://scribeschool.net/lymphatic%20-system-info-for-scribes.html