The lymphatic system is not well known, but a critical part of the body — you have twice as much lymph fluid as blood! It is a network of tissues and organs that rid the body of toxins, waste, and other unwanted materials; it is part of your natural sewage treatment system. A primary function of the lymphatic system is to transport lymph fluid. Lymph is a fluid that contains white blood cells that are instrumental in fighting infection all throughout the body. Thus, a healthy lymphatic system is key to a healthy body system (John Douillard):
- Rings get tight on fingers
- Soreness and/or stiffness in the morning
- Feeling tired
- Bloating / Holding on to water
- Itchy skin
- Weight gain and extra belly fat
- Swollen glands
- Low immunity
- Brain fog
- Breast swelling or soreness with each cycle
- Dry skin
- Mild rash or acne
- Mild headaches
- Elevated histamine and irritation due to common environmental allergens
- Occasional constipation, diarrhea, and/or mucus in the stool
Although there are many reasons why the lymphatic system and lymph nodes may become congested, these can be paired down to three major causes According to John Douillard.
1. Stress has been identified as the cause of about 80% of all chronic health issues. The chemistry of stress is degenerative and lymph congesting.
2. Digestive imbalances may irritate intestinal villi, which is a classic reason for lymph congestion. As the majority of the lymph in the body surrounds the gut (Gut Associated Lymphatic Tissues – GALT), the quality of the villi are critical for proper lymph flow, detoxification, assimilation, and immunity.
3. Iodine deficiency is also a common cause of lymphatic congestion. Iodine helps to mitigate the effects of a toxic environment and supports the lymphatic system at the cellular level.
How to Improve Lymph Health
1. Exercise: The best way to get the lymphatic system moving is to exercise, and the best type of exercise is rebounding. Rebounding is jumping on a small or large trampoline. Do this for 10-20 minutes a day.
2. Near Infrared Sauna: Sauna therapy allows the body to sweat while in parasympathetic nervous system mode, so toxins are being sweated out. The circulation/release of toxins, the regeneration of tissues, and the heat all work together to improve lymphatic flow.
3. Yin Yoga: Yin Yoga requires poses to be held anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes. The change in gravity one experiences in these poses and the differences in pressure help to improve lymphatic flow. Try this video when you have an hour to spare.
4. Walking: It is important to get the body moving and the lungs functioning. Walking is something everyone can do outside or at home. Just take a break and walk. Breathe as deep as possible while walking.
5. Legs up on the Wall: That is right. Laying down with the legs straight up against the wall will improve flow in the legs. It will also encourage the elimination of toxins and aid in going to sleep.
6. Lymphatic Drainage Massage: Physically help the lymph’s to drain with a massage.