The lymphatic system is made up of organs, ducts, nodes and vessels and is a vital part of the circulatory system. It has one of the most important jobs in the human body: It moves lymphatic fluid throughout the body to regulate the balance of all fluids and helps to detoxify and remove toxins. It keeps the immune system operating well, while cleaning and nourishing all the cells in the body. Basically, it's job is to rid the body of any toxins like bacteria, viruses, white blood cells, and any other cellular waste that may build up within the body's tissues.
Sometimes this natural draining process slows down, particularly when one is sick, or after a surgery removing lymph nodes due to cancer or other reasons. In such cases, toxins are slower to leave the body and often result in swelling, or a build-up of excess fluid in the body. This clear fluid is called lymph and is made up of white blood cells including lymphocytes, which help the body’s immune system defend against harmful bacteria. When lymph is not able to easily escape the body through the lymph nodes, you may experience symptoms such as fatigue, sluggishness, brain fog, puffy and swollen skin, among many others. This can all lead to chronic illness and even lymphedema.
Lymphedema is a condition that causes the body / limbs to become swollen. This comes as a result of damage to the body’s lymphatic system - particularly the lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are basically filters for lymph to escape through. Lymph nodes are kidney-shaped, vary in size, and can be found in the neck, abdomen, groin and armpit. Lymph nodes manufacture the cells that fight off infections and cancer. Swelling of the lymph nodes, or swollen glands, occur when the lymph nodes manufacture more white blood cells to fight infection. Although not normally fatal, over time, lymphedema (especially if poorly treated) often results in a number of complications including infections, disfigurement, pain, and disability. While lymphedema cannot be cured, it can be very effectively managed, significantly reducing risks associated with it.
Lymphatic drainage is an important tool to keep the lymphatic system in good condition for optimum health. A poorly functioning lymphatic system can affect every part of the body. Lymphatic drainage is beneficial and can aid in several health ailments such as edema, certain skin disorders such as: acne, rosacea and eczema, metabolic problems such as: fatigue and sleep disorders as well as chronic pain, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Crohn's disease, arthritis and osteoporosis, and even migraines and vertigo.
Regular lymphatic drainage is important for overall optimal health and well being. Lymphatic drainage techniques can counteract the effects of adverse lifestyle choices and environmental pollutants that can compromise the immune system and cause it to become congested. Alternately, a healthier lifestyle and some simple little everyday things can help to clear up lymphatic congestion. There are a number of things you can do to help reduce or clear up lymphatic congestion.
Water from these foods, along with sipping water throughout the day will help keep your lymphatic system well lubricated. In addition, eating more raw, fresh, minimally processed foods will result is less inflammation and a lower potential influx of toxins that might otherwise clog up your lymphatic system.
Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables
The body needs constant hydration. To help the lymphatic system to do its job, a big chunk of that hydration should come from water-dense fresh fruits and vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach, oranges and apples.
Sleep in Loose-Fitting Clothes and Undergarments
The lymphatic system is always working for us. At night, while we sleep (between 10 pm and 2 am) is when the body goes through a natural major detoxification process. Wearing loose-fitting clothing is a good idea so that the lymphatic fluid (lymph) may flow freely. Optimal lymph flow decreases your chances of lymph congestion. Wearing anything tight or restrictive, especially under the arms or in the groin area where lymph nodes are may cut off the natural flow and cause congestion.
You may live a mostly sedentary life, or you may not have time for a full-blown workout at the gym, but there are still things you can do to get your blood flowing and your lymphatic system working for you.
Any sort of movement increases the pressure in lymphatic vessels, which is needed to help manually move the fluid along. It doesn't have to include a hardcore workout, a simple walk in the park or to your local convenience store is just as effective. If you are inclined to do so, yoga, a bike ride, tai chi or qigong are also lighter but very effective choices in exercise.
Spice it Up
There are many delicious ways you can help your lymphatic system do what it's supposed to do. Here are some of the best ones that support lymph drainage and help to remove toxins from your immune system:
Dandelion in its entirety (flowers, leaves and roots) all support the health of your entire body. Dandelion contains high amounts of antioxidants and flavonoids, which are all great for supporting the liver and renewing cells.
How to use it: Add the flowers to a pot of water and simmer on low for 15 to 20 minutes to make a sweet tasting, detoxifying tea.
Red Clover is a powerful tonic that helps to break down the toxins within the lymphatic system, and it's also extremely effective in cleansing the blood. It has the ability to carry waste out of the bloodstream, making it a valuable part of a detoxification protocol.
How to use it: Red clover is great as a tea. Add the flowers to a pot of water and simmer on low for 15 to 20 minutes to make a great tasting tea.
Stinging Nettle helps to support the kidneys and liver by eliminating waste - detoxifying.
How to use it: Nettle tea is energizing, so having it in the morning can help kick-start your day. You can also steam the leaves and add them to a salad, or boil them and add them to a vegetable broth for a nice, light soup.
Cilantro is most often used to detox the body of harmful heavy metals like lead and mercury.
How to use it: Cilantro is very tasty in salads, soups, smoothies or juices.
Brush it Out
Dry brushing has been used for lymphatic drainage and to improve flow, as the pressure on the skin helps push fluid through the system. Using a natural bristle brush or loofah, start by brushing the sole of one foot using swift, upward, and circular strokes.
Move up to your ankle, then the front and back of your lower leg, all the way up in the direction of your belly button or heart. Repeat this starting at the other foot moving up. Then on the arm, starting from the wrist, up to the shoulder, neck and chest. Repeat again at the other arm.
It also helps exfoliate skin, stimulate sweat and oil glands, and boost circulation, all of which invigorate the body.
Completing a detox program will give you a better sense of self. You may feel fatigued, bloated, foggy, lethargic... Pascoe's Detox Kit (which now comes in a 2-week treatment) is a homeopathic kit for the relief of indigestion, hives, bloating, irritability, fatigue, headaches, constipation and sinus congestion. The Kit includes Lymphdiaral, Quassia Similiaplex, Junipurius Similiaplex, all which are mainly made from plant-based naturally sourced medicinal ingredients that aid in the detoxification process.
Pascoe's Detox Kit focuses on the three main detoxifying organs in the body: the lymphatic system, liver and kidneys. It helps to move lymph through the lymphatic vessels and drain waste as needed.
Our Lymphdiaral® Drops can be taken on a regular basis, even when not part of a detox program. These drops are a homeopathic remedy used to relieve symptoms of swelling, inflammation, and infection, such as pain fever and swollen lymph nodes due to recurrent conditions including otitis media tonsillitis and sinusitis. They are also great for reducing overall body swelling. Our Lymphdiaral® Drainage Cream is very effective in reducing external body swelling and works almost immediately on contact. It’s effective when rubbed directly on sore muscles and joints, as well as when rubbed directly on sore throat and sinuses.
Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) / Lymphatic Massage
Who doesn't love a massage? A massage is great at any time, it feels good and rejuvenates us. But have you considered a massage that improves your overall digestion, blood circulation, liver and kidney function?
Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD), or lymphatic massage, is a type of massage technique that was developed in Germany for the treatment of lymphedema. MLD is done to increase the lymphatic system’s ability to remove excess swelling and debris from body tissues, allowing proper nutrient exchange, enhanced blood circulation and the removal of toxins. MLD promotes the healing of fractures, sprains/strains, reduces pain and swelling and encourages recovery from wounds, burns and post-surgical procedures. There are several resources online that teach how to perform a proper massage, or MLD. Using Pascoe's Lymphdiaral® Drainage Cream in your massage can drastically improve lymphatic draining almost immediately on contact. Alternately, you can find a Registered Massage Therapist in your area who specializes in MLD.
As you can see, supporting and maintaining a healthy lymphatic system can be easy and enjoyable, and can be done at home with little to no cost. By following the above recommendations, you will notice an increase in energy, clarity and focus, as well as mobility!