Do you feel sluggish? Maybe your lymphatic system is blocked.
The lymphatic or lymph system is a complex network of fluid-filled tubes that carries away toxins filtered through lymph nodes, which trap and neutralize harmful substances. Yet for the lymphatic system to move and deactivate toxins, our muscles have to be pumping.
The lymphatic system is a system made up of glands, lymph nodes, spleen, thymus gland, and tonsils. It bathes our body’s cells and carries the body’s cellular sewage away from the tissues to the blood, where it can be filtered by two of the body’s main detoxification organs: the liver and kidneys. This sewage is made up of chemical processes such as over-the-counter and prescriptions drugs, cigarettes, airborne pollutants, food additives, pesticides, and other toxins.
If you are feeling pain from injuries, excess weight, or pain disorders such as arthritis bursitis, headaches, and other pain, a sluggish lymphatic system may be playing a role.
In the case of chronic pain, post-surgery, or pregnancy—where little movement is present—blockage of the lymphatic system can compromise immunity and lead to further health problems due to an overwhelming buildup of toxins.
Here are 11 ways you can get your lymph flowing smoothly.
1. Take deep breathes. Your lymph system relies on the pumping action of deep breathing to help it transport toxins into the blood before they are detoxified by your liver. So take a deep breathe of oxygen through your nose and breathe out the toxins from your mouth.
2. Movement. Exercise ensures the lymph system flows properly.
3. Drink plenty of water. Lymph fluid cannot flow properly without adequate water. Add some fresh lemon juice to help ensure the water is readily absorbed by your cells.
4. Eliminate soda, sports drinks, and so-called fruit “juices.”
5. Eat more raw fruit on an empty stomach. The enzymes and acids in fruit are powerful lymph cleansers. Eat them on an empty stomach for best digestion and maximum lymph-cleansing benefits. Most fruits digest within a half hour or so. Note: If you have acid reflux or digestive issues, eat fruit with other foods.
6. Eat plenty of green vegetables. Eating plenty of greens to get adequate chlorophyll helps purify your blood and lymph.
7. Eat raw, unsalted nuts and seeds. Eating more nuts and seeds to power up your lymph with adequate fatty acids. Choose from walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, macadamias, Brazil nuts, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
8. Add herbal teas to give your lymph a boost. Drink herbal teas with astragalus, echinacea, goldenseal, pokeroot, or wild indigo root tea. Note: consult an herbalist or a naturopath before drinking these teas with medication.
9. Dry skin brush before showering. Use a natural bristle brush. Brush your dry skin in circular motions, upward from the feet to the torso and from the fingers to the chest. Work in the same direction as your lymph flows – toward the heart.
10. Alternative hot and cold shower for several minutes. The heat dilates the blood vessels and the cold causes them to contract.
11. Get a massage. Studies show that a massage can push up to 78 percent of stagnant lymph back into circulation. Massage frees trapped toxins.
Other suggestions: maintain a healthy diet by eating whole clean foods and add meditation into your routine.