Numerous fads have surfaced in the wellness world revolving around detoxes and cleanses, most with minimal emphasis on lymphatic health.
However, while many people understand the importance of removing toxins from the body, they might not understand how the body expels them.
Let’s explore more about how this important detoxification system works in the body, plus some effective methods you can use to reinforce it for healthy immune function.
How Does the Lymphatic System Work?
The lymphatic system is a star player in the body’s sanitation procedure, essentially cleansing every cell. It’s made up of several parts, including the spleen, lymph nodes, thymus gland, tonsils, and bone marrow. By producing white blood cells and clearing harmful waste from tissues and organs, the system is instrumental in fighting off illness and infections.
The lymphatic system’s ability to effectively drain excess fluid and toxins is essential to maintain healthy immune function. Additionally, it plays a vital role in collecting fats and fat-soluble vitamins from the digestive system and transporting them to cells, providing essential nutrients and promoting overall vitality.
Despite being the largest circulatory network in the body, the lymphatic system requires our participation to function optimally. Unlike the heart, it lacks an automatic pump to keep fluids moving, relying instead on bodily movement, breathing, muscular activity, and a healthy digestive system to eliminate waste.
Signs of a Stagnant Lymphatic System
If the lymph nodes fail to drain properly and become blocked, they can create an environment for inflammation and disease to develop. Various unhealthy lifestyle practices can contribute to a congested or stagnant lymphatic system, such as consuming processed foods, exposure to chemicals, a sedentary lifestyle, and a lack of nutrients. These factors can upset the balance of the system and impede its functioning.
Fortunately, there are certain signs you can look for that indicate your lymphatic system may be blocked:
- Sinus infections
- Low energy
- Mucus or pain in the throat
- Acne, dryness, or other skin conditions
- Bloating or swelling in the extremities
- Inability to fight infection or heal quickly
- Soreness or stiffness upon waking
Suspect your lymphatic system may not be functioning at its best? The good news is that, with some minor adjustments, you can help reinforce your system.
9 Ways to Strengthen Your Lymphatic System
Here are some methods you can try to help strengthen your lymphatic system for optimal health and well-being.
1. Prioritize Movement
Physical activity is essential for a healthy lymphatic system because it promotes lymphatic circulation. This process helps remove waste, toxins, and excess fluids from the body, as well as stimulate immune function.
Alternatively, dynamic and intense exercises, such as jumping on a trampoline, can be incredibly effective in clearing congestion. The action of propelling the body up and down helps stimulate lymph function, with the assistance of gravitational pull causing its valves to open and close.
Even a brisk walk for just 15 minutes can trigger the lymphatic system and promote the flow of fluid. For an added benefit, swing your arms with each step to increase lymphatic movement.
2. Take Hot/Cold Showers
Another effective method to stimulate lymphatic drainage is to alternate between hot and cold water while taking a shower. This approach is useful because hot water dilates the blood vessels, while cold water constricts them, resulting in a pumping action within the body. This, in turn, stimulates the movement of stagnant fluids and the elimination of toxins.
3. Try Dry Brushing
Dry brushing is a highly beneficial practice that promotes lymphatic circulation. To experience its benefits, try this practice for 10 minutes with a natural bristled brush. Start by making circular motions from the feet towards the center of the body, and then continue at the hands moving downwards towards the heart. For an enhanced effect, follow up with a hot/cold shower and a self-massage using a natural chemical-free oil.
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4. Stay Hydrated
Dehydration is a major cause of lymphatic congestion. Drinking pure water helps cleanse the body and encourage the release of toxins. Try sipping on warm water with lemon throughout the day to boost its purifying effect.
5. Wear Loose-Fitting Clothing
For women, it’s a good idea to consider switching to a natural fabric bra that’s loose-fitting and wireless. Since many lymph nodes are located in the armpit region, tight bras can restrict drainage from the chest.
6. Breathe Deeply and Mindfully
Engage in long, deep breaths to promote lymphatic circulation and detoxification within the body. Deep breathing aids in the transportation of toxins through the blood to the liver, thereby assisting in the body’s detoxification process.
7. Update Your Diet
Stay away from processed foods, refined flour, and sugar, which can cause lymphatic congestion. Instead, opt for organic fruits and vegetables. Leafy greens and algae (chlorella, spirulina) have a high chlorophyll concentration, which is a super purifier.
Additionally, the healthy fats found in nuts, seeds, avocados, and olive oil can also support lymphatic health.
8. Sip on Herbal Tea
Many herbs are recognized for their lymphatic-stimulating properties. Try drinking herbal teas containing astragalus, ginger, fenugreek, or echinacea to experience their benefits.
9. Get a Lymphatic Massage
Consider booking a professional lymphatic massage or adding self-massage to your routine to stimulate lymphatic function and reap other benefits, such as enhanced energy, improved immune function, and healthier skin.
Since most lymph nodes are situated on the front of the body, performing self-lymphatic massage is an accessible practice. It’s important to note that, since the lymph nodes are located close to the skin’s surface, they require minimal pressure to become stimulated. To achieve optimal results, apply gentle, rhythmic strokes that align with the lymphatic system’s slow movement.
The Bottom Line
Every step you take toward improving your well-being counts and can lead you to a healthier future. By incorporating simple habits into your daily routine, you can effectively boost lymphatic function and improve your overall health.
Looking to further optimize your well-being? Take our free health and wellness assessment to discover insights for a healthier, happier you