7 Ways to Stimulate the Lymphatic System
What is the lymphatic system?
One of two major circulatory systems in the body, the lymphatic system is responsible for carrying away cellular waste and protects us from infections. Remember those painful swollen lymph nodes during a cold or flu? That’s your lymphatic system at work! Think of the lymphatic system as an in-house sanitation center featuring a network of pipes and drains (vessels, specialized cells, tissues, and organs) that ensure toxic waste is removed from every cell, tissue, and organ in the body!
When the lymphatic system becomes congested or backed up, wastes and toxins surmount, making us ill. We experience these lingering toxins in the form of headaches, brain fog, fatigue, recurring swollen throats, frequent infections, skin disorders, sluggish bowel function, bloating, joint pain, and more!
Unlike the heart in the circulatory system, the lymphatic system does not have a “pump” so to speak and needs help to move these toxic wastes along.
Here are seven ways to stimulate the lymphatic system and facilitate more vibrant living:
1. Practice Proper Breathing:
Shallow breathing can lead to lymphatic congestion. Deep elongated breathing, as in meditation or yoga, doubles as stress relief and vitalizes the diaphragm and abdominal muscles, assisting in pushing lymph through the vessels.
2. Stay Hydrated:
As we learned in our article on hydration, water is critical for numerous body functions and processes. The lymphatic system is yet another one! The lymphatic system is comprised primarily of water (95%), so adequate hydration is necessary for transporting and flushing toxins from the body. Add fresh squeezed lemon to your water for an added boost.
3. Get moving:
The lymphatic system lacks a pump and so, sedentary lifestyles inevitably contribute to lymphatic stagnation! Muscle contractions help to move things along and alleviate the stagnation. Walking, running, yoga, jumping rope, biking, dancing, and anything else that promotes movement is great for the lymph system. Not to mention, exercise leads to perspiration and can aid in toxin elimination! 4. Dry Brushing:
A large portion of lymph vessels are located just under the skin and can be stimulated when brushed, helping encourage movement of lymph. Just as it sounds, use a soft, natural bristled brush and brush in long smooth strokes. Start at the feet and work your way towards the heart, always. Can be done daily for as little or as often as you’d like!
Acupuncture has a lymph and thyroid meridian, so it activates the lymph system by default. Because acupuncture is an immune stimulating system that moves the Qi (oxygen) and blood thru all vessels including blood and lymph, and runs it thru the liver and gut, it has a powerful effect that has been proven with evidence that it detoxifies lymph. Acupuncture repairs the DNA by detoxifying that which the blood vessels dump on the lymph.
6. Eat Whole Foods.
Processed foods, refined sugars, unhealthy fats, and other inflammatory food products create an environment for lymphatic congestion. Focus on whole foods to reduce inflammation, stimulate the lymph system, and feel vibrant. Consume more fruits, vegetables, and organic healthy fats like nuts, seeds, avocado, coconut oil, and ghee.
7. Detoxifying Epsom Salt Baths:
Add one cup of Epsom salt to a warm bath and soak for 15 to 30 minutes. Hot water opens the pores of the skin and the salt helps draw out impurities and other toxins. Make this part of your weekly self-care routine and enjoy it’s benefits as you relax.