Did you know that the lymphatic system circulates and cleans all the waste residues from the blood in the body? Surprisingly, there is three times more lymph than blood in the body. This system is far too important not provide information on this subject before the toxic products of this consumerist society overwhelm our main detoxification system.
The digestive tract contains up to 80% of our immune cells. They are part of the gut-associated lymphoid tissue. Starting from the tonsils and adenoids in the throat and all the way to the colon, the gastrointestinal tract is the reservoir of the lymphatic system. The lymphocytes or white blood cells that are part of the lymphatic system are also stored and produced in the thymus, behind the heart, spleen, appendix, bone marrow, and lymph nodes scattered throughout the body. Do you see how the journey from the mouth to the colon is important for our health? Why would the body put almost the entire immune system at this location where if the exposure to food was not as vital?
What is the role of the lymphatic system?
This is the body sanitation system. About 90% of the blood pumped in the body returns to the heart. The remaining 10% is what is known as lymph and it is carried to the lymph channels for disposal. All bacteria, viruses, cancer cells, toxins and chemicals pass through the lymph, where the body is notified if a foreign particle must be eliminated.
Take a moment to consider this fact! Each cancer diagnosis is posed from a lymph node biopsy. Why? Lymph is the waste from the blood that continuously runs throughout the body every day. If it does not flow properly (as is the case in most western countries, due to the standard American diet) toxins and cancer cells cannot be released into the lymph vessels which are then taken for detoxification in the liver or kidneys and permanently removed via the colon. These cancer cells and toxins infest the body and are not recognized by the immune system as foreign objects so they slowly settle in the organs where they multiply and cause metastasis.
Thus the cancer spreads. That’s why every diagnosis is associated with lymph node biopsy and this is bad news if the cancer is localized there. As these cells are transported throughout the body the Western medicine starts a toxic chemotherapy because of systemic spread. Chemo has no capacity to distinguish between healthy and cancer cells, therefore it creates apoptosis, or killing each cell on its way. This explains why it is absolutely necessary to maintain healthy circulation of the lymphatic system so it can alert the immune cells there is a problem and quickly move the lymph to the liver for detoxification and into the colon for elimination.
The lymphatic system is exposed to a myriad of daily toxins, including cigarette smoke, pollution, drugs, food additives, chemicals and pesticides. On top of all this, most of us eat poorly, and therefore lack the necessary energy nutrients. If we don’t intake the essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals we need in our system at any given time, the system will collapse.
Symptoms of a slow lymphatic system include, but are not limited to:
- Swollen fingers
- Joint pain and stiffness in the morning
- Swelling or pain in the breasts with each menstrual cycle
- Dry skin or itching
- Brain Fog
- Cold hands and feet, poor circulation
Here are some simple tips from the Ayurvedic science to get the lymph moving again:
- Exercise! Remember, the lymphatic system has no heart. It is the movement of the muscles that boosts vein valves which help push the lymph upward toward the heart. Anything that creates zero gravity moments also helps to move the lymph (like trampoline or rollercoaster)! Jumping on a trampoline creates zero gravity which helps the lymph get back to the heart and in the auxiliary lymph nodes. This usually requires a muscular effort which cancels gravity. With only seconds without gravity the lymph returns much more easily.
- Yoga inversions also have the effect of moving the lymph from the legs to the heart. Yoga is known to detoxify and rejuvenate many slow lymphatic systems. Hot yoga also helps to speed up the process by sweating. Sweating is a very powerful detoxifier!
- Deep diaphragmatic breathing exercises with positive and negative pressures that push the lymph to the lymph channels. Our body contains much more lymph than blood so pranayama yoga breathing, as well as slow, deep breaths during the day help filter the lymph and make it move correctly. Again, yoga is excellent for the health of the lymphatic system.
- Healthy diet is imperative. Make sure you remove canned or processed food from your diet. Avoid GMOs and pesticides. Eat whole foods and concentrate on a diet based mainly on plants: fruits, vegetables, nuts and spices. Choose your menus with the seasons, that is to say, warm (steamed) meals in winter and raw and refreshing foods in the summer. Lymph thickens dangerously once it is overloaded with toxins. Eat raw fruits on an empty stomach. In Ayurvedic medicine, fruits are known for their properties to cleanse the lymph. Remember, it is much easier to prevent a disease than to cure it later on.
- Dry brush in the morning. Use a natural bristle brush and brush towards the heart and toward the top of the lymphatic duct. The lymph moves and cleans in that direction. Brush up your arms and legs in circular movements.
- Drink plenty of warm water. Stay away from sugary drinks and sweets! The water lubricates the lymph and allows it to flow more easily. Cold water can hinder digestion. Make sure you have a filter for removing fluoride and some of the heavy metals and toxins.
- Gentle massage stimulates most of stagnating lymph to the heart. Stress can play a role in the slow lymphatic circulation and massages can also help relax the nerves and allow a smoother flow. There are even specific massages to remove infections by manipulating the lymph channels. Remember that the lymphatic system is primarily composed of immune cells.
- If the iodine levels are too low the lymphatic system becomes inefficient. Lugol helps eliminate toxins from the lymph. Be sure to check with your therapist before starting a new treatment.
- Eat red foods like pomegranates, cherries, beets or cranberries! They all have properties that stimulate the lymph and are used in Ayurvedic medicine to cleanse the system.
Treat your body with love. This is your temple, and a healthy physical body is one of the keys to mental and spiritual health.