by Dr. Thomas K. Lo, Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center
Are You Taking Care of Your Lymphatic System?
Your lymphatic system is crucial for your immune system and for protecting you from inflammation and illness. If your lymphatic system is congested, it cannot protect you as effectively and can make you prone to infections and disease. Keeping your lymphatic flow smooth and free from lymph congestion can be critical to your health.
What Does Your Lymph System Do For You?
Your lymph system is a network of blood vessels and lymph nodes working together to carry fluids from your tissues to your blood and vice versa. It is your body’s inner drainage system.
You can find lymph nodes in your throat, groin, armpits, chest and abdomen.
Besides your lymph vessels and nodes, your lymph system includes several organs such as your tonsils, spleen, thymus, and adenoids.
All of these play a critical role in fighting infection, recovering from illness, and healing wounds. They recognize harmful organisms and trigger the creation of infection-fighting white blood cells called lymphocytes.
Your lymph system also helps to keep bodily fluids in balance and takes care of fluid buildup or swelling due to injury or health issues.
Ways Your Lymph System Can Become Congested
Being under a lot of stress can lead to lymph congestion. When you are under stress, your body creates stress-fighting hormones, which result in free radical waste products that can lead to a variety of health problems.
Chronic illness may lead to lymph congestion, because when your body is fighting microbes, your body is creating more white blood cells to fight them and may fill up your lymph nodes, backing up the system, and creating swelling.
Another reason for lymph congestion is digestive imbalance. Digestive imbalances may irritate the intestinal villi causing lymph congestion because a majority of your lymphatic system surrounds your gut.
Not drinking enough water and lacking physical activity can result in your lymph fluid slowing down. Your lymph system relies on pressure from muscle movement and breathing to move fluids around. A sedentary lifestyle or chronic dehydration may slow and congest your lymph system.
In addition, nutrient deficiencies may lead to lymph congestion as well. Iodine, magnesium and vitamin C are all important to mitigate the harmful effects of environmental toxins and to support your lymph system in protecting your body.
Ways to Improve Your Lymphatic System
Exercising daily may be one of the easiest and most effective ways to boost the health of your lymphatic system. Whether you are lifting weights at the gym, dancing around your home with your kids, or going for a jog with the dog you are encouraging the health of your lymphatic system and improving immune function.
Another excellent way to purify the lymphatic system is through the practice of rebounding. Rebounding is a low impact exercise, which involves jumping on a trampoline. It promotes the flow of lymph through the body and is believed to increase the drainage of toxins from organs and muscle tissue.
Use Stress Reduction Techniques to encourage the flow of lymph through your body. Some of these techniques may involve yoga, Pilates, deep breathing exercises, stretching, and maintaining good posture. These practices relieve congestion and stimulate the circulation and detoxification of lymph through the body.
When lymph becomes stagnant in extremities, a buildup of pathogenic substances, inflammatory markers and cellular debris can wreak havoc on the immune response leading to a decline in health.
These stress reduction techniques encourage the contraction and relaxation of muscle, which push debris out of organs, and decreases the likelihood of debris buildup and becoming stagnant. A simple stretch upon waking up is an easy way to initiate the circulation of lymph fluid throughout your body.
The rib cage is a major lymphatic pump in our bodies, which is essential for increasing lymphatic flow. So take in deep breaths throughout the day if possible.
One key mechanism by which our bodies remove toxins is through perspiration. That can be through exercise or using an infrared sauna. Infrared saunas offer a non-invasive form of light therapy, which heats internal muscles and organs thereby pushing toxins into circulation for their removal from the body.
The Ayurvedic practice of dry brushing boosts circulation and therefore boosts lymph flow and detoxification. Dry brushing helps to remove dead skin cells and toxic waste as well as stimulate sweat glands by opening pores and promoting underlying lymphatic circulation.
This practice is as simple as using a coarse bristle brush and moving the brush along the skin towards the heart.
Consuming a diet of anti-inflammatory foods, specifically fruits and vegetables, helps to hydrate the body and promote an alkaline environment.
Some of the best foods that detoxify the lymphatic system are red fruits and vegetables like pomegranates, cranberries, beets, cherries and raspberries. These foods boost lymphatic function and help thin bile, which is a major component to the regulation of the immune response in the gut. Consuming a diet rich in omega-3s is also critical to fighting inflammation and fighting infectious agents.
Hydration is key to the proper function of the lymphatic system as it is primarily made up of about 95% water. Sipping on lemon water is a great detoxification strategy because it not only hydrates the body but it also encourages an alkaline environment.
Your clothes may be restricting lymphatic vessels, which may hinder the adequate flow of lymph fluid, so choose your attire appropriately. Try not to wear tight-fitting undergarments which can cause the inability for fluid to be drained from the breast, arms and chest into surrounding lymph nodes. It is also recommended to never wear tight-fitting clothes while sleeping.
Getting a massage can also help. Connective tissue massages such as shiatsu massage can relieve symptoms of chronic pain and fatigue. Therapeutic self-massage treatments can be found online and offer techniques for increasing the flow of lymph fluid throughout the body.
Patients who suffer from the most common lymphatic disease known as lymphedema can benefit from a type of massage called the Manual Lymph Drainage technique performed by specialized practitioners.
Chiropractic care may also help remove anatomical disruptions, which block the flow of lymph fluid. Chiropractic care assists to remove these obstructions and relieve tension from the lymphatic vessels stimulating detoxification.
Lymph congestion can affect your entire body. Symptoms of lymph congestion may include fatigue, stiffness, muscle and joint pain, bloating, holding onto water, breast swelling during your cycle, itchy and dry skin, brain fog, headaches, weight gain, swollen glands, cold hands and feet, chronic sinusitis, colds, sore throats, or ear issues, skin problems and cellulite.
So using some of the above techniques can be a good way to help the lymph system stay decongested.
Your lymphatic system is essential for your immune system and for protecting you from inflammation and illness. Keeping your lymphatic flow smooth and free from lymph congestion can be crucial to your health and well-being.
If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation. Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing ® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health. The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107, Frederick, MD. Check out the website at www.doctorlo.com.