9 ways to stimulate your lymphatic system and boost immune function
(NaturalHealth365) The lymphatic system is responsible for neutralizing toxins and purifying the body, all while transporting a precious cargo of infection-fighting cells. Yet, this life-sustaining group of nodes, glands, and organs is often overlooked or taken for granted.
The truth is: a variety of factors – including poor diet, exposure to toxins, food allergies, and sedentary lifestyle – can create an excess of waste and debris in the lymph or lymphatic system fluid. The result is a sluggish or congested lymphatic system, which can set the stage for respiratory infections, ear and sinus infections, edema, and swollen glands.
Improve the lymphatic system – naturally
Fortunately, the holistic techniques – highlighted in this article – can help you naturally unclog, stimulate and purify your lymph system.
Unlike the circulatory system, the lymphatic system lacks a propulsive center or pump. Instead, lymph is moved via the relaxation and contraction of muscles and joints. You can stimulate circulation and help propel lymph throughout the body by jumping on a trampoline for 10 to 30 minutes.
If you don’t have access to a trampoline, never fear: using a jump rope or doing jumping jacks is also effective. You’ll notice that jumping up and down (in a relaxed fashion) will energize your entire body (that’s the benefit of moving your lymph). If your body feels too uncomfortable jumping on the ground, try doing this on a surface of sand, grass or a rubber mat under your feet.
Eat raw, organic foods
You can help clear a congested lymphatic system by raising your consumption of raw foods – particularly organic fruits and vegetables, which have naturally-occurring enzymes that help clear toxins and promote their exit from the body.
Fruits and vegetables also raise the water level in the body and help to hydrate it, while their healthy amounts of fiber promote intestinal function, making it easier for intestinal fluids to migrate to lymph nodes. Also, raw foods tend to be alkaline, helping to neutralize pathogens and relieve the burden on the lymph (of course, try to remember to chew well).
In addition, at the same time, try to reduce consumption of lymph-clogging dairy, sugar, gluten, and processed foods. You’ll probably notice a nice surge in your energy level.
As the lymphatic system is 95 percent water, it is important to avoid becoming dehydrated. Experts advise drinking half your weight, in ounces, of water a day. Remember, not all water is created equal – so (if possible) drink pure spring water or purified water to reduce your toxic burden.
For added health benefits, use fresh (organic) lemon juice to flavor the water, and take advantage of this citrus fruit’s antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral benefits, along with its infection-fighting vitamin C content.
Turn things upside down
Use an inversion table, which allows you to be suspended upside down while strapped in by the feet.
Being in this unusual position can help promote free-flowing lymph. Use a quality inversion table with a safety strap to control the angle of inversion and safety locks to hold it in place.
Herbal substances can enhance the lymphatic system by improving lymphatic flow and drainage and facilitating the removal of toxins. Goosegrass, or Galium aparnine – also known as cleavers – is a time-honored lymphatic tonic valued for removing and draining trapped bacteria from lymph glands.
Red clover, with detoxifying and anti-inflammatory properties, can also be beneficial.
Using a brush with coarse bristles or a loofah sponge, gently brush the skin in the direction of the heart. Although you may feel silly doing this, experts say it stimulates circulation and encourages the movement of lymph.
By the way, dry brushing can be particularly helpful in breaking down deposits of cellulite caused by a sluggish lymphatic system.
Utilized in the body to break down proteins and aid in digestion and metabolism, enzymes can help dissolve and clear away toxic accumulations in both the lymph and the blood, promoting lymphatic drainage and stimulating the immune system.
You can take them as a supplement – or obtain them through diet by eating papaya, which contains the enzyme papain, and pineapple, which contains bromelain.
Specialized lymphatic massage uses gentle pressure and rhythmic circular motions to stimulate the flow of lymph and drainage of toxins. You can also perform a do-it-yourself version by gently massaging the lymph nodes under your jaw.
According to a 2009 review published in The Journal of Manual Manipulative Therapy, lymphatic drainage massage facilitated the removal of waste products in the lymphatic system and helped to reduce edema.
Avoid constrictive clothing
This applies particularly to underwire bras, which can significantly interfere with lymphatic flow and drainage from lymph nodes located in the armpit and upper chest. Possible consequences of long-term use of constrictive clothing could include impairment of lymphatic function, fibrocystic breast tissue, and even breast cancer.
Better to be safe … and comfortable.
BONUS TIP: Yoga
Yoga is a boon to the lymphatic system, as doing headstands, handstands, and shoulder stands significantly stimulate flow. If these aren’t practical, raising your legs and placing them on the wall is a good alternate option.
The general contraction and relaxation of muscles in yoga poses promote beneficial lymph flow. Yoga poses involving the abdomen’s rotation can be particularly effective, as twisting the abdomen squeezes organs and muscles and causes lymph to flow from the tissues.
Obviously, these are all just suggestions. Find what feels good to you, and get started today. Your body (and mind) will thank you for it.
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