How to Boost Your Health with a Lymphatic System Detox
Last summer I was stung by a wasp on my side. I had never really had a reaction to a bee sting before, so no big deal… I put some apple cider vinegar on the spot to help neutralize the venom, followed by some ice. After some time, the swelling and pain went away and I forgot about the sting.
About a week went by and I noticed a lump that kind of felt like a small bean in the area of my arm pit. After googling my symptom (which I don’t recommend, but I couldn’t help myself), I became terrified and made an emergency visit to see my doctor. My doctor was concerned, and over the course of that next week, I had an ultrasound and saw a specialist. Finally, I was told that the bean-like lump that I was feeling was a swollen lymph node, which can be the result of an injury, infection, or tumor. I immediately thought of the wasp as the culprit. It was good to know that my body was doing its job to rid itself of the venom, but I felt bad that my poor nodes had endured such trauma from it. It intrigued me to do some research and find out what I could do to help my lymphatic system detox.
What to Know About the Lymphatic System
- It filters and removes toxins and waste from every cell within the body
- It’s considered the body’s drain
- It is an integral part of the immune system, defending the body against germs, bacteria, viruses, and fungi
- It consists of vessels (which carry a transparent fluid called lymph), lymph nodes, the tonsils, spleen and thymus
- It’s one of the most important, and most forgotten, systems of the body
How it Works
- Similar to how the circulatory system transports blood through the body, the lymphatic system transports lymph fluid through the body (there is twice as much lymph fluid in the body than there is blood)
- Lymph nodes filter lymph fluid
- Once the lymph nodes detect a harmful substance in the lymph fluid, white blood cells are produced to neutralize the problem
So, in my case, the venom from the wasp sting was picked up by my lymph fluid. Once that lymph fluid passed through my lymph nodes, the nodes filtered the venom and did what they had to do to attack the problem… but they became congested and infected.
Symptoms of a Sluggish Lymphatic System
Symptoms of a congested lymphatic system may range from:
- Chronic fatigue
- Sinus infections
- Swollen fingers and bloating
- Swollen glands
- Dry skin
How to Help Your Lymphatic System Detox
There are some things you can do to help flush your lymphatic system. Here are 10 ways to help your lymphatic system detox:
1. Avoid processed foods as much as possible, and opt for organic when you can. The less bad stuff your body takes in, the less your lymphatic system will have to clean up.
2. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. Some consider red fruits and vegetables such as beets, cherries, berries, pomegranates and cranberries best for stimulating and cleansing the lymphatic system.
3. Exercise. Unlike the circulatory system, which has the heart to keep blood pumping, the lymphatic system does not have a “pump” to rely on for circulating lymph fluid. Lymphatic fluid is circulated instead by the force of muscle movement and breathing, so it’s important to keep moving and get exercise.
4. Breathe Deep. As mentioned just above, lymphatic fluid moves through our bodies by the force of muscle movement and breathing, so remember to take deep breaths throughout every day. It’ll also help to de-stress, which is also helpful in that stress can be a root cause of lymphatic congestion.
5. Drink plenty of water. Water keeps the lymphatic system lubricated and helps the lymph fluid to flow more freely. If you find it hard to take in your recommended daily amount of water, try flavoring it up with fresh fruit or vegetables. See my post on infused water ideas.
6. Rebound. Simply put, rebounding is jumping or bouncing on a mini trampoline. It’s a fun, easy exercise, and the upward and downward movement stimulates the lymphatic system and promotes drainage. Add it to your morning routine.
7. Get a lymphatic massage. A lymphatic massage, also know as lymphatic drainage, is a special kind of massage that uses gentle pressure to push stagnant lymph back into circulation.
8. Dry brush your skin. I love dry brushing for so many reasons, but primarily because it boosts circulation – both blood circulation and lymph circulation. Starting at your feet, use a natural bristle body brush to make long sweeping motions towards your heart (always brush in the direction towards your heart to encourage the blood to flow that way).
9. Relax in a sauna or take a detox bath to help your body naturally sweat out toxins. Read more on how to take a detox bath.
10. Wear loose fitting clothing because those that fit too tight (and even under wire bras) can restrict the flow of lymph fluid.