***As with all articles and content on Earth Conscious Life, this is not medical advice. Consult with a qualified practitioner before making any changes to diet or lifestyle.***
You’ve probably heard a lot about the immune system and its importance to health.
You’ve probably also heard about “detoxes”— and as we’ve touched upon in other articles, about all the benefits of sweats, saunas, steam rooms, and other strategies to open the skin to expel.
Each of these methods has something in common.
It’s a system in our bodies we don’t talk about much, and which doesn’t get addressed often enough by doctors…
…the lymphatic system.
Google image search “the lymphatic system” sometime. You might be shocked!
Some pictures show that it’s more extensive and far-reaching than the veins and arteries in our bodies.
One easy way to think about the lymphatic system is describing it as your body’s “waterways.”
Lymph ties in not only with blood vessels, but also your glands, liver, kidneys, and lymph nodes all over the body.
What’s its purpose? To remove waste from your body (detoxification), especially through the skin, and with help from your kidneys and liver. It also helps fight off pathogens, infections, and sickness with help from the immune system.
In fact, when your sweat glands are at work (like when you’re experiencing a fever fighting a cold), that’s your lymphatic system at work, too!
Often we hear about going "on" a detox. But our bodies are ALWAYS detoxing. How 'clogged' up those detoxification pathways are, will determine how optimized or ineffective our normal clean up process functions.
Seems like a pretty important system for health, right?
Unfortunately, the lymphatic system gets overlooked all the time.
Why? Because the medical world didn’t understand what the heck it was until recently!
Even now, it’s still considered a “mysterious” system— which is funny, considering that detoxifying remedies, sweat baths, and saunas have been used for healing purposes for thousands of years.
On the other hand, the lymphatic system has been important to healing in ancient medicine traditions like Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda.
Things like lymph blockage, stagnancy, and swollen lymph nodes are important things to address for healing. Resolving them may help issues with skin health, liver health, immunity, and even supporting cancer treatment (or reducing its risk)!
And yes, there are remedies and tonics for supporting the lymphatic system.
Want to go the extra mile reducing your cancer risk, boosting skin health, liver health, kidney health, and immunity (or just want a mild detox)? Taking care of your lymphatics is a great way to cover all these bases.
And here’s how:
Take lymphatic-boosting alternatives. These are herbs that support lymph movement, like cleavers, red clover, or red root (consult with your doctor or herbalist before using)
Try dry brushing. With a bristle brush on dry skin, simply brush along your skin starting from your neck, chest, and stomach outwards to your fingertips and toes. This may help your lymphatic system to keep moving!
Always stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water does a lot of heavy lifting for your lymph (it’s your waterways after all).
Keep moving. Exercise and moving your body are essential. One great way to get lymph moving is by “rebounding,” a set of exercises while jumping on a trampoline. These are supposed to kick your lymph into high gear!
**REMEMBER: Unlike the circulatory system, the lymph is the one major system in the body that does not have its own pump. Your movements are the pump. Mindful exercise and movement is critical for lymphatic health.
And don’t forget….
…breaking a nice sweat, such as in a steam room or sauna, does WONDERS for this oft-overlooked health system.