Thursday, December 8, 2011

Therapy Thursday: Keeping the Lymphatic System Clean

Your lymphatic system is closely related to your circulatory system.  Lymph, a clear fluid containing white blood cells, comprises about 50% more of your bodily fluids than blood.  This important fluid and system help with transporting nutrients to the cells, keep your immunity strong and maintain proper fluid levels in the body.  The lymph nodes and connecting vessels act like drains to remove excess fluid from organs and tissue.  Without it, you would blow up like a balloon with edema.  

Unlike blood, the lymphatic system doesn't have an organ pumping it through the body.  In fact, lymph moves very slowly compared to blood.  Movement relies on breathing and muscular/skeletal movement.  Consequently, a sedentary life means a poorly functioning lymphatic system.  This can lead to many problems, including skin issues, weak immunity, and eventually chronic diseases like cancer.  

So, there are several ways to keep your lymphatic system clean.  First, make sure your diet is high in fresh, organic, raw plant-based foods.  Natural foods, especially greens and high-water-content foods, clean the lymph on their own.  A processed foods diet creates more gunk for the lymph and body to deal with.  Add a sedentary life on top of that and you have a recipe for disaster.

Getting up and moving is one of the best things you can do for your lymphatic system.  Weight-bearing exercise like walking, running or hiking is best.  If you have a trampoline, the bouncing movement can really wake up the lymphatic system.  Some studies have shown that lymph movement increases by as much as 15% during exercise.  This may be another reason that people who exercise don't get sick as often as sedentary people.  

Finally, there are herbs and detox programs you can do to stimulate the lymph.  Most of the herbs that cleanse the liver also function as lymphatic cleansers.  Consider doing a week cleanse with herbs like dandelion, burdock, nettles, wild indigo or chicory.  Also, sitting in a hot sauna or steam room can help.  

Whatever you do, make sure to consider the effects of your choices on this important system.  The more care you give to it, the better it will serve you.  Be healthy!

Mystic Merman

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