If you have been living with nagging health issues and are looking to restore your health and feel better, one function of the body that is vital to address is detoxification. One system of the body that is of particular importance for detoxification is the lymphatic system.
The lymphatic system, which runs parallel to the circulatory system, contains a hundreds of lymphatic vessels and bean shaped nodes that are located throughout the body. This system carries a clear fluid, known as lymph throughout the body. Lymphatic fluid helps to deliver vital white blood cells throughout the body which help to fight disease. But lymph fluid is also where toxins are deposited from the body to be filtered by the lymph nodes.
The lymphatic system is a vital part of our immune system and when it becomes clogged and the lymphatic fluid is not allowed to flow freely, it compromises your immune system and allows toxins to build up. The resulting buildup of toxins can cause symptoms and can ultimately lead to infection and disease.
How do you know if your lymphatic system is clogged?
There are several tell tale signs that lymphatic fluid is not moving effectively and that toxins are building up in your body.
- Swelling in your fingers/rings fitting more tightly
- Brain fog
- Digestive issues
- Sinus infections
- Skin problems/dry and or itchy skin
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Chronic fatigue
- Feeling sore or stiff when you wake up in the morning
- Unexplained injuries
- Excess weight
- Cold hands and feet
- Worsened allergies
- Food sensitivities
- Increased colds and flu
Unlike the circulatory system, in which the heart acts as a pump, this system has no pump. But there are certain things that you can do to activate your lymphatic system and get it flowing and removing toxins again.
How to get the lymphatic system moving
When you exercise and actively move your body, it activates the flow of lymphatic fluid throughout the body. Exercising is the most effective way of increasing the function of the lymphatic system. But you do not have to engage in vigorous exercise to get the lymphatic fluid moving! Gentle to moderate intensity is all you need! Exercise also helps encourage perspiration, which helps to release toxins. This can help to lighten the toxic load on the lymphatic system.
Slow, relaxed deep breathing is a simple way to activate the lymphatic system. Most people do not breathe deeply throughout the day. In fact, while focusing on tasks, most people actually hold their breath without being aware that they are doing so. It is important to make a conscious effort to make some time throughout your day to practice some deep breathing. That will help you to detox….and it’s great for reducing stress as well, which can also add to the toxins in your body!
Dry brushing is the use of a soft, natural bristle brush on dry skin in order to manually activate the lymphatic system. Here is a video that will show you the best way to incorporate skin brushing into your daily routine.
Other ways you can support your lymphatic system
Clean up your diet
If you are eating foods that are packaged and highly processed, you are most likely consuming a large amount of chemical additives, preservatives, artificial coloring and flavors. These chemicals are unnatural add to the toxic load on the body. It becomes much more challenging for the lymphatic system and other detoxification organs to effectively filter out so many toxins and can make you sick more quickly.
Switch to a diet of whole foods instead of pre-packaged, convenience foods. Be sure to include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables! Vegetables such as dark, leafy greens, low sugar fruits and nuts such as walnuts and almonds can actually help to promote the flow of lymphatic fluid as well as reducing the amount of toxins entering your body. When you can, opt for organic versions of these foods. Organic versions will expose you to far fewer pesticides, herbicides and fungicides, and will lower the toxic stress on the body as well!
Don’t wear tight fitting clothing
Clothing that is tight fitting can reduce circulation throughout the body. Tight clothing can actually reduce and restrict the movement of the lymphatic system preventing detoxification. Bras and tight fitting underwear can constrict flow in areas where there are a highly concentrated number of lymph nodes, and can lead to an increase in the symptoms associated with toxin buildup in the body. It is okay to wear these items on occasion, but it is important to not wear them for long periods of time on a regular basis. For instance, women who wear a bra for long periods of time should reconsider doing so and men who wear tight fitting underwear, may want to consider switching to boxer shorts.
Drink plenty of water
All of the organs and systems of the body need regular hydration in order to function properly. The lymphatic system is no exception. This system is comprised primarily of water and so it is vital that you are getting enough clean, filtered water to support full functioning. Keeping yourself well hydrated also supports the rest of the body’s natural detoxification pathways and can reduce the load on the lymphatic system as well.
With so many living a sedentary life, eating unhealthy foods and not actively doing what they can to move the lymphatic system, it is no surprise that many face the symptoms that accompany a system that is sluggish or clogged. But taking action to support the detoxification of your body by moving lymph will help you to ultimately avoid chronic illness, increase energy and lead you on the path to better health.