At a time of year when many people are perhaps feeling tired and lack-lustre and would prefer to hibernate, it pays to spare a few moments considering the function of your lymphatic system. For some reason, the lymphatic system has been the insignificant cousin of the vascular system, and yet it's role is incredibly important.
Many people are trying to detox their liver right now, and think that just cutting out alcohol will be the single answer.
Analogy: Sink full of soapy water that has washed a week's worth of dirty dishes and contains much food debris - what happens when the plug is pulled? (Not adding more water (or alcohol) only stops the sink from overflowing )
Answer: The water tries to escape down the drain but the food particulate is blocking the way; it's a while since anyone cleaned out the drain so the water is very slow seeping away. Your lymphatic system is a drainage system.
In basic terms, everywhere where we have capillaries and veins in the body, we also have lymphatic vessels; their purpose is to return essential fluids and proteins to the vascular system, transport fats/fatty acids, remove waste and large particulate, and transport white blood cells around the body.
The lymphatic system lacks a pump of its own, so it's up to us to ensure it's movement around the body ~ failure to do so = stagnation.
Because of its structure and content, the lymphatic system can become stagnant and backed up very quickly, much like the afore-mentioned drain. Long term effects of a sluggish lymphatic system, if left unattended, can lead to cellulitis in the limbs or disease in various parts of the body.
How do you know if your lymphatic system is backed-up?
You will feel sluggish and heavy, and it's hard to lose excess weight. Any bugs/infections take a long time to go, with chest/lungs/throat commonly affected. Aching and stiff joints are common, as are headaches. In fact, a general feeling of malaise yet nothing specific.
What's the best way to get your lymphatic system moving?
- Rebounding (small trampoline) or vibration therapies - REGULARLY
- Wet flanneling; rub all over the body in shower/bath, paying attention to nodes (more effective than dry skin brushing) - DAILY
- Self-massage any blocked areas as soon as noticed (under arms/around breast tissue)
- Cut fats down for a few days and step up movement to reduce back-up
- Leave longer between meals; wait until really hungry before eating and make use of digestive enzymes if digestion is weak. You're waiting for the body to go into 'auto-clean' mode, and it cannot do that whilst processing more and more foods. Drink more water and eat more raw foods.
Things that help
- Burdock root
- Cider vinegar
Many people consider fresh lemon water to be helpful but they forget that it is actually alkaline in the body, and therefore, when taken close to food, actually weakens the digestive juices and interferes with effective digestion. (A client of mine who asked for help noted that her digestion and gut problems vanished after throwing out the lemons!) If you really want to take lemon juice, you will need to wait until your stomach acid has reached the correct pH before eating if you want to have good digestion.
Noteworthy here is to do some research when you embark upon a new protocol, so you understand exactly what you're doing and why. Responsibility is power!
One more thing
Don't be afraid to experiment to find what works for you and your body. About 15 years ago, I was investigating the readings from a bio-resonance machine with a homeopath friend. The readout, concerning my own body, mentioned an issue with the Canal of Schlemm (part of the lymphatic system which drains the lens of the eye). I looked up it's precise location and did some careful 'finger surgery' in front of the mirror. I was pleasantly surprised to see a small white mass (solidified lymph) pop out from where I'd surmised the canal of Schlemm to be.
As my grandmother had glaucoma, I wonder if perhaps she had a sluggish lymphatic system that blocked her Schlemm canals resulting in glaucoma...?
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