Have you been feeling sluggish or not quite yourself lately?
For many of us, our routines have changed drastically in the past year. Working from home, playing at home, eating at home, and going to school from home has made our bodies more sedentary. After all, walking from the couch to the kitchen is not that far!
If you have been feeling stagnant and even unwell without a clear reason - you are not alone. What I am about to share may be key to regaining your health.
Your body is incredibly resilient but it will begin to give you warning signs when what you are doing is unsustainable. One of these built in alarms can be found in your lymphatic system in the form of lymphatic congestion.
Today I will help you understand what your lymphatic system is, why it is important to your health, how it can become congested, and 7 ways you can help your body clear blockages.
What is the Lymphatic System?
Your lymphatic system is an intricate network of vessels, organs, and tissues that work together to move a clear fluid called lymph through your body and back into your bloodstream. This fluid is like a filtration system that collects fluid, nutrients, white blood cells, waste, and abnormal cells from your tissues. It carries away the harmful substances and waste to your kidneys and liver for detoxification. (1)
Lymph nodes are small glands that lymph passes through. They detect anything harmful and produce an immune response to attack and destroy invaders. You have around 600 lymph nodes throughout your body. (1)
Other organs that play vital roles in the lymphatic system are the spleen, thymus, tonsils and adenoids, bone marrow, and appendix. Each of these organs has a role in keeping your immune system working at its full capacity. They create white blood cells, house beneficial bacteria, and trap pathogens.
Why is it Important?
Your body maintains a fluid balance to function properly. Without help from the lymphatic system, fluid would begin to build up in the wrong places, you would experience severe swelling and fatal pressure changes. Everyday, around 2-3 liters of fluid is transported by your lymphatic system. (2)
The lymphatic system works through the gut membrane in your small intestine. It absorbs and delivers fat-soluble nutrients through lacteals. These nutrients are then delivered throughout the body via the network of lymph when it reaches your blood circulation. (2)
The lymphatic system is also directly tied to your immune system. Your immune system protects you from harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other pathogens on a microscopic level. If your immune system becomes compromised, your defenses are weakened and you are prone to illness, infection, and disease. (2)
Lymphatic Congestion and Symptoms
Unlike the circulatory system which is powered by the pumping of your heart, your lymphatic system is dependent on your movement to work correctly. Your lymphatic vessels can become congested and stagnant, similar to a clogged drain. Biological waste begins to accumulate and cause problems when there is congestion. You might begin to feel sluggish and experience fluid retention in your fingers or legs.
When there is systemic inflammation and swelling in your body, the lymphatic system becomes impaired. You may begin to have immune deficiencies and experience more illness. When the lymphatic flow is hindered, your body is unable to remove things like waste, damaged cells, or toxins safely. This congestion or build up of toxins and waste in your body leads to a wide array of health problems. It is important to take care of your lymphatic system so it is able to do its important job of keeping the body clean and clear with an even flow of lymphatic fluid.
How to Begin the Healing Process
Here are 7 ways that you can help support your body and clear blockages in your lymphatic system:
Drinking Water - Water is essential to your wellbeing. When you are dehydrated, all of your bodily systems feel the effects. Your lymph becomes thick and is unable to move efficiently. Staying hydrated will help your lymph stay more fluid and move with ease through our lymphatic system. Start your day with a big glass of lemon water!
Jumping Jacks or Rebounding - Exercise will help get the lymphatic fluid flowing again. Try jumping jacks or rebounding gently on a mini trampoline.
Dry Brushing - Use a natural bristle brush before you shower. Gently brush your skin in circular motions upward starting at your feet to your legs and torso. Then, brush from your fingers up to your shoulders. Always brush towards your heart, which is the same way the lymph flows.
Walking - Take breaks throughout the day to move your body and feel the energizing effects!
Lymphatic Massage - Gentle massage will help move and drain the lymph. You want to only stimulate the lymphatic system during this massage, not pressing with force into your muscle tissue. Similar to the dry brushing technique, you want to massage gently from the outer extremities towards the body.
Healthy Diet - Choose anti-inflammatory, organic, whole foods that are abundant in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Try to have leafy greens at every meal. Experiment with herbs and spices. Bulk up your plate with cruciferous veggies and colorful fruits. These foods will help your body filter toxins efficiently and prevent damage.
Avoid Toxins - Additives, chemicals, and artificial ingredients must be avoided. Be mindful of the toxic ingredients in personal hygiene products, beauty products, and cleaning products.
I hope this information inspires you to take an active role in your health. My desire is to empower you and teach you how to reach your full potential. Part of that journey is learning and maintaining our physical bodies. By incorporating small improvements and changes to your daily routine, I know that you will begin to experience new levels of energy and wellbeing. Our bodies are incredible in design and work hard each day to protect and support us. The lymphatic system is an important piece of the big picture of what makes up you!
To learn more about how you can detoxify your body, mind, and soul - check out my book, Wholistic Wisdom: Awakening Your Inner Healer. You’ll receive vital information to prepare you for the grand discovery and evolution of your inner healer. Then, you’ll master the art of releasing what no longer serves you to let everything that’s been holding you back finally fall away. It’s time to take charge of your health!
“Lymphatic System: Parts & Common Problems,” February 23, 2020. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/21199-lymphatic-system.
Macgill, Marcus. “Lymphatic System: Definition, Anatomy, Function, and Diseases,” February 23, 2018. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/303087#anatomy.