The lymphatic system plays a vital role in the well-being and health of your body. It transports a clear fluid called lymph that helps to drain all those yucky unwanted toxins from the body. Lymph is similar to blood, but instead of red blood cells, it carries white blood cells that play a huge part in the immune system and keeping your body healthy. While the circulatory system relies on the heart to pump blood throughout the body, the lymphatic system relies on gravity and regular movement to keep it flowing smoothly and efficiently. When your lymphatic system is happy, you will be happy. Here are five ways to keep your lymphatic system flowing happily and freely:
1. Jump on a rebounder or mini trampoline
Since the lymphatic system does not have a pump system of its own, it needs regular exercise to promote energy flow and proper circulation in the body. Jumping on a rebounder or mini trampoline is great for getting the lymphatic system moving and flowing properly. This type of rigorous exercise is reported to increase lymph flow by 15 to 30 times. The up and down vertical movement is much more beneficial for your lymphatic system than horizontal movement as done in running. It is also much easier on your bones and joints.
2. Dry skin brushing
The skin is the largest organ on your body. It plays a very important role in the detoxification of wastes and toxins. Dry brushing your skin daily stimulates the lymphatic system and helps in the process of cleansing and purifying your body. Use a natural soft-bristled brush and use long strokes always working towards the heart. You can also use circular motions. Spend as much time as you would like, anywhere from 2 to 20 minutes. It is best to shower afterwards to wash off the dead skin cells.
3. Clean up your diet
Eat a diet high in green leafy vegetables and herbs. These foods are high in chlorophyl which can cleanse and purify the blood which in turn will cleanse your lymph system. You can also buy liquid chlorophyll that is extracted from alfalfa plants; you can add this to some sparkling water or kombucha and drink daily. Eat healthy fats from nuts, seeds, coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, and ghee. They will nourish your lymph system. Garlic, ginger, and turmeric are great to supplement into your diet as they promote circulation and reduce inflammation in the body.
One great way to cleanse and alkalize your body is to squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into warm water in the morning and drink 30 minutes before breakfast. This will stimulate your digestion and alkalize your body. The lymphatic system works best in an alkaline environment. If your body is too acidic, then you are more prone to excess weight, chronic pain, and many other health issues. Did you know that cancer cannot survive in an alkaline environment?
In keeping your lymphatic system healthy, there are certain foods that you want to avoid. Stay away from anything with preservatives or additives, especially MSG. These can cause water build-up and excess swelling in the body. Also, staying away from dairy can be very beneficial as it causes the body to produce a lot of phlegm. Avoid unnaturally white foods such as refined sugar and white flour. Instead choose healthy options such as whole grains or seeds (wheat berries, millet, quinoa, & brown/black rice), and natural sweeteners (raw local honey, coconut sugar, & grade B maple syrup).
4. Emotional Release
When we feel emotions that are difficult or make us feel uneasy our bodies tend to find some place in the body to store that emotion so we don't have to feel it. In the moment we can find ease because we do not have to feel the pain, but the problem with this is that the emotional energy is still there and can cause the circulation in our bodies to slow down. It is very good to feel emotions fully when they arise, without any judgment so that they can be released when the body is done with them. Emotions are natural and they will come and go like the ebb and flow of the ocean's tide. The next time you feel a strong emotion, try to quiet your mind, and look within to where you feel it in your physical body. Place your hands over that part of your body and take deep breaths until you feel the tension start to release. Or if movement feels better than stillness, put on your favorite song and dance it out.
In Chinese Medicine the Spleen is closely related to the lymphatic system. In the Western world we do not tend to think much of the Spleen, but in Eastern culture it is of great importance. When we overwork or make bad dietary choices we end up damaging the Spleen and therefore stagnating the proper flow of the lymphatic system. One good way to reverse this or prevent it is to get regular Acupuncture treatments. This strengthens the immune system, and promotes proper circulation of energy in the body. If your lymphatic system is causing symptoms such as fatigue, swollen lymph glands, fibrocystic breasts, catching colds easily, or digestive issues, then getting on a good regular treatment plan with an individualized herbal formula can be very beneficial at restoring balance in the body. If you are feeling healthy and well, a good preventative medicine is to get an Acupuncture treatment at the change of the seasons, as this is when the energy of the atmosphere is changing and we are more prone to getting sick.