Lymph isn’t a sexy thing to talk about. We all have it and yet there are not tons of articles and trending posts about how to keep your lymph health. It is this quiet little area of our bodies that just is there until we are sick though even then I am not sure there is a lot of understanding for its function. I know I don’t wonder daily about my own lymph and am much more concerned with the number on the scale or something more tangible in the forefront of my own health.
Perhaps though lymph should be at the forefront.
With increases in autoimmune disorders and cancers in lymphatic systems it seems time to look more deeply at this system and ways we can improve this system to support health and vitality.
What is Lymph and the Lymphatic System?
This is an interesting system that intertwines and runs parallel to our blood vessels and veins. It works in conjunction with blood flow to support immune response. This could explain why most of us don’t think about our lymph system until we encounter an illness. Nonetheless, it is there working all the time in companionship with our immune system doing its best to respond to bacteria, pathogens, viruses and everything in between.
There are a few components to the lymphatic system including the lymph itself, lymph nodes, spleen, thymus gland and tonsils. The lymph vessels move lymph itself to the different areas of the body and act as an intermediary between tissue and blood. Lymph is a straw colored substance that is between the blood and tissue of our bodies.
Lymph is used to kill bacteria, foreign matter and particles in our body that can harm our health and gets it to the right place for elimination. It works with our immune system to produce the cells needed for organ health. The lymph nodes located throughout our body, works to sequester pathogens so the immune system can deal with them hopefully before a problem festers. Our spleen kicks in to help by filtering out bacteria and storing extra red blood cells and platelets we need for healing.
The lymph system lacks a pump to move lymph around. In the blood system for instance, blood is pushed around by the beats of the heart to reach all corners of our body. The lymph system relies on muscle contractions and body movement to push lymph where it needs to go. The more you move the more it moves. Herein lies the reason a sedentary lifestyle can add up to major health issues. If you are not someone who moves frequently or has other ways for movement to occur in your day, then lymph sits too.
Lymph congestion is a term used to describe someone with minimal lymph flow or clogged lymph flow. It is the result of sedentary lifestyles, poor diet, stress and lack of sleep. All of these things seem simple enough to fix but for most of us with busy lives taking care of ourselves can sometimes take the back burner.
Movement does not have to be extreme to be effective in moving lymph. Walking is excellent, even a gentle slow walk is good. Yoga is also good for lymph movement. Stretching, cycling and any form of movement where we contract muscles creates lymph movement. Taking regular breaks from your desk even just to stretch are marked improvements to incorporate in your day.
Diet means eating foods that do not trigger an overdrive response in our body. Salts, sugars, processed foods, sodas and convenience foods all add up to things that set our immune response on active. Think of these like foreign matters our body cannot process and it creates a red flare response in our body in the way of inflammation, indigestion, weight gain and other health issues. This depletes our adrenals and wears on our lymph. It also lowers energy so we do not feel like moving.
Stress impacts lymph because when we live regularly in the fight or flight mode our lymph is distracted. Our immune system is trying to respond to perceived threats from stress and over time can become weakened as a result. This makes us susceptible to illness. With our lymph system already trying to respond to the immune systems needs then an illness comes along, it can be challenged to fight back.
Lack of sleep does not seem like a factor for lymph health but in fact it is a direct player. When we sleep our body performs repair work and restores levels for the next day’s needs. If we are not getting adequate sleep our body starts with a low battery from the onset making our systems work even harder the next day.
Natural Support for Lymph Health
In addition to diet, movement, stress management and sleep there are other natural support techniques we can use for lymph health.
Dry brushing. This technique can support improving lymph circulation
Massage therapy. All massages are beneficial and there is even a lymph drainage technique that can be used to further increase lymph movement
Bounce, Vibrational and Rebounding – Get on your kid’s trampoline and jump with them! The motion of jumping is incredible for triggering lymph movement in our body
Hydration – Staying full hydrated helps our muscles perform in the contraction process and helps keep lymph in the right consistency.
I also like this massage blend of oils to help with lymph stimulation. It can be used in certain areas of the body or as part of a fully body massage.
Lymphatic Mover Massage Blend
2% dilution ratio with grapeseed carrier oil
1 oz grapeseed carrier oil
2 drops doTERRA Ginger (stimulates flow of lymph)
3 drops doTERRA Geranium (supports lymph elimination of waste)
1 drop doTERRA Rosemary (stimulates lymph flow & elimination of waste)
3 drops doTERRA Tea Tree (supports body’s ability to produce white blood cells)
3 drops doTERRA Peppermint (aids in cleansing, purifying and has an antiseptic effect on mucous membranes)
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