Lymphatic System 101
October 16, 2014
The amazing human body was designed to be completely self cleaning. The lymphatic system is the star of this process and its job is to remove wastes from the cells. Clean cells produce clean tissue and reproduce clean, healthy cells. As important and fundamental to our health as this system is, it certainly tends to be overlooked and underrated.
I believe these two things to be true:
- Taking note and addressing a compromised lymphatic system in a child will prevent future chronic conditions.
- Simple but mindful efforts by adults will support the lymphatic system to clean up residual waste and encourage the body to heal from a wide array of chronic conditions.
To be able to address and clean up a compromised system and support the work of your healthy system we need to understand some basics. Here are some cool FAQ’s to get you up to speed:
What are the components to the lymphatic system?
- Lymphatic Fluid: the clear fluid around the cells that carries away waste product.
- Lymphatic Vessels: collect this fluid and send it towards the center of the body. There are 2x as many lymph vessels as there are blood vessels!
- Lymphatic Nodes & Organs: are the filtering stations and include Bone Marrow, Thymus, Spleen, Tonsils-Adenoids, Appendix, and Nodes. We are home to 400-700 lymph nodes, half which reside in our abdomen.
How does lymphatic fluid move?
Unlike the circulatory system that can count on the powerhouse of the heart, lymph fluid is propelled through the lymph vessels by the rhythmic contractions of teeny muscular units called lymphangions.
Here is the direction the fluid flows in a healthy body:
What can cause lymphatic stagnation?
- An Acidic Environment. Lymph drains optimally in an alkaline environment. While under stress, the body is forced to manufacture and secrete excess stress-fighting hormones to boost energy. It is the waste products of these hormones that are very acidic. Chronic stress is known to shift the chemistry of the body to an acidic state leading to lymph congestion.
- Chronic Digestive Imbalances may irritate intestinal villi, which is a classic cause for lymph congestion. As the majority of the lymph in the body surrounds the gut, the quality of the villi is critical for proper lymph flow, detoxification, assimilation and immunity.
- Dehydration can contribute to poor lymphatic drainage and cause lymphatic stagnation. Here is a great ayurvedic test and cure for dehydration. Test: Sip hot water every 10-15 minutes throughout the day. Do it religiously for one day. If by the end of that day you are experiencing a dry mouth and are now thirsty for this once tasteless sip of hot water, this is a good indication you are dehydrated and your lymph is congested. Cure: Try this rehydration therapy, sip hot water every 10-15 minutes for 2 weeks straight. Keep a thermos of hot water nearby to make it easy to follow this protocol.
What are some early symptoms of lymphatic stagnation?
- Soreness and/or stiffness in the morning
- Morning brain fog
- Bloating, swelling or heaviness in extremities
- Itchy or dry skin
- Breast swelling or soreness with each cycle
- Slow or sluggish bowels
Because understanding and supporting a healthy lymphatic system is such a vital key to your overall health I’ll be sharing more about it in the next few weeks.
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