Support Your Lymphatic System For Vital Health

Your body is intelligent.  The lymphatic system plays a vital role in your body’s natural ability to heal and rebalance.   The lymphatic system is a complex and expansive network of vessels, ducts, and lymph nodes, which also includes the spleen, thymus, adenoids, and tonsils.  These tissues, which make up the lymphatic system, produce, store, and transport white blood cells--removing waste from cells throughout the body and playing an important role in immune system regulation.  

The lymphatic system can be viewed as a filtration and drainage system.  It plays a primary role in protecting the body from threats such as infections, bacteria, and even cancer cells.  The fluid which flows through the lymphatic system is called lymph. Lymph carries white blood cells and is also made up of different components relative to where it is in the body; it contains proteins, bacteria and fats.  The flow of lymph ensures that wastes do not build up in tissues.

The lymphatic system is often referred to as the “second circulatory system”.  In fact, lymph nodes are located close to major arteries, since the lymphatic system connects to blood flow to keep the blood clean.  Unlike the circulatory system, which pumps blood through the heart, the lymphatic system does not have a pump to move lymph, rather it relies on muscular movement.  This is because the lymphatic system has valves which move lymph in one direction--allowing for optimal filtration and elimination.   

Throughout our lives, we encounter microbes, bacteria, and toxins that get into our bodies and enter the lymphatic fluid.  The fluid containing these invasive organisms gets trapped inside lymph nodes (small, bean-shaped structures), which is where the immune system “attacks” perceived treats via white blood cells.  Lymph fluids also travel to the spleen and thymus, before entering the bloodstream. The spleen is a filtering organ, which plays a key role in fighting infections; it also produces white blood cells which are triggered when invaders are detected.  The thymus also plays a role in filtration, creating or removing white blood cells as needed.  

Another important role of the lymphatic system is maintaining bodily balance.  When the system is working properly, we don’t retain water or experience swelling. Chances are you have had swollen lymph nodes, commonly around the throat; this is because when we are sick or injured, fluids build up around the infected or injured area.

Support Your Lymphatic Health:

  • Get Movement!
Regular movement and exercise keep lymph fluids moving and prevents stagnation.  Simply walking more can do wonders for lymphatic health. Yoga, particularly postures that involve twists, are great for supporting lymphatic health, since they help lymph drain.  
  • Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Eating a whole food diet is important to overall health.  The more nutrient-dense and chemical-free your food, the better for lymphatic health.  Aim to increase your intake of antioxidant-rich foods such as dark, leafy greens, nuts and seeds, and berries, which are abundant this time of year!  Whenever possible, choose organic and local foods.  
  • Massage
Massage allows for manual movement of the lymph.  There is a type of massage called “Lymphatic drainage massage”, which specifically helps cells release toxins and breaks up lymph stagnation.  Here is a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymaFgSpRouMf you would like to experiment trying lymphatic drainage massage on yourself. Foam rolling is another great way to move lymph; this is popular after exercise, as rolling on the muscles increases blood flow which leads to quicker recovery.

In general, you can massage yourself to help reduce pain in swollen lymph nodes, muscles or joints.  Try using some of Edye’s Naturals Lemon Cleansing Oil to massage yourself or a loved one. Edye’s Naturals Lemon Cleansing Oil contains all organic oils; it contains castor oil which research shows can help improve lymphatic drainage.  If you have swollen lymph nodes, try massaging with some Edye’s Naturals and then apply a warm compress to the area.

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