As human beings, we all have a lymphatic system which is part of our miraculous and intelligent body. But how many of us can say we have any idea what the lymphatic system does, why it is important or why we should care?
The lymphatic system is something like a employee; doing multiple jobs efficiently to help the system work smoothly.
The lymphatic nodes, trunks and vessels that form the human lymph system are present throughout the entire body from head to fingertips, torso to toes.
Current science estimates that each of our bodies contains approximately 34 trillion cells. As each of those cells performs its constant activity to keep the body healthy and alive, waste products are generated. One of the jobs of the lymphatic system is to carry excess liquids, cell waste, dead cells, and toxins away to be filtered by organs (spleen) or eliminated through waste (kidneys). We could sort of think of it as a sewer system for the body.
Another function of the lymphatic system is producing mucus for organs. When you have a gooey nose during an illness, your lymphatic system is in high gear! Your lymph system is working hard to process large amounts of cellular debris and toxins. When the capacity of the lymph system is exceeded, we develop symptoms of swollen sinuses, runny noses and earache.
The lymph system also plays a major role in aiding our body’s immunity to viruses and bacteria by producing white blood cells called lymphocytes. These lymphocytes are instrumental in detecting and ridding the body of foreign microorganisms.
Maintaining circulation of the lymphatic system is essential to keeping the nodes and lymph vessels healthy, so that they may efficiently remove waste from the body and allow immune boosting cell production to function properly.
So how do we do it?
Regular exercise is always a fantastic option. Remember, you don’t have to run a marathon or spend hours at a gym; simply walking for 20 minutes once a day will contribute substantially to lymphatic movement as well as overall health.
Rebounding on a mini trampoline for 10-20 minutes a day is another excellent way to stimulate the lymph system and there are specialized activities such as Kundalini Yoga, which incorporate exercise sets (called kriyas) that are specifically for working the lymphatic system. Even just doing 3 minutes of shoulder stand is a great way to drain your lymph fluid.
Another fabulous method of care for your lymphatic system is through dry skin brushing. What is that, you ask? Dry skin brushing is a method of using a stiff natural bristle brush to brush the skin. The brushing of the skin helps stimulate the lymph nodes and vessels thus promoting circulation of the lymph system. Dry skin brushing also helps remove dead skin cells from the epidermis (outermost layer of skin). Another benefit, skin brushing feels great! A once a day skin brushing session takes about 5-10 minutes, and is a relaxing way to do something good for yourself.
You can find an excellent dry skin brush at your local health food store, they are usually less than $10. Charts are available on line or through local wellness stores that show you the best step by step way to brush each part of your body for maximum benefit to your lymphatic system. Always dry skin brush before you shower, not after – shower that loose stuff off! An excellent way to clean your dry skin brush is by soaking the bristles for an hour or so in some apple cider vinegar. Rinse your brush off in clean water and let dry completely before the next use. Apple cider vinegar is a wonderfully natural antibacterial/antimicrobial agent that makes a great non-toxic household cleaning agent.
If your congested in your head area. Try out the self lymph drainage massage shown in the video below.
So think about taking a few minutes each day to help nourish and maintain your wonderful lymphatic system. A little effort from you will reap many years of health!
Sources: Encyclopedia Britannica, Lymphatic System; Lymphnotes.com, The Lymphatic System; National Geographic, How Many Cells Are In Your Body? October 23, 2013 online article; Lymphatic System Drawing, Tutorvista.com, Human Anatomy; Nutritionalmuscletesting.com, The Lymphatic System. Image via jeremyswan.com