The lymphatic system is a circulatory system made up of lymphatic vessels and lymph nodes. Twice as big as the circulatory system, it is a network of tubes throughout the body and has twice the number of lymph vessels to blood vessels. The blood vessels carries nutrients and oxygen to our cells and at the same time, the lymphatic system carries the wastes, toxins and excess fluids away from our cells. If the lymphatic system is overburdened from a poor diet, a toxic bowel, free radicals, or if it isn’t moving due to shallow breathing and lack of exercise, it cannot effectively remove trapped toxins and excess fluid. A poorly functioning lymphatic system is a risk factor for the development of chronic diseases.
In a nutshell, the lymphatic system’s top job is to keep the tissue spaces clean. It moves out the garbage. Maintaining free flow of your lymphatic system is one of the most crucial things you can do to maintain your health.
Detoxification tips to improve the lymphatic system
Short burst exercise
One of the most effective ways to maximise lymph drainage, that is free, cheap and you can do anytime is — exercise. Walking, running, aerobics, and pretty much any exercise is a great way to get your lymphatic system going. However, the best and most effective way is to use a mini trampoline as the lymphatic system loves short bursts of exercise. All you need to do is rebound on a trampoline for 10 minutes a day. If you don’t have one of these, skipping with a jump rope at medium intensity for 10 minutes is also effective, as is bouncing on a pilates ball for 10 mins a day.
Eat to support your lymphatic system
Eating certain foods can support your lymph system. Some key nutrients for lymphatic health can be found in foods such as flax seeds, lemons, sea kelp, dark green veggies, radish, and garlic. Key herbs include dandelion, burdock root, parsley, goldenseal, and myrrh. Taking milk thistle tables also supports lymphatic health.
Lymphatic drainage massage
Lymphatic drainage massage supports ongoing detoxification by increasing the capacity of the lymphatic collateral vessels. The massage can increase lymph flow up to 25 times the usual rate.
Lymphatic drainage massage is a manual technique that uses a range of gentle rhythmic pumping techniques of light pressure to move the skin in the direction of the lymph flow. This stimulates the lymphatic vessels that carry substances vital to the defence of the body and removes waste products. Sometimes, aromatherapy oils such as carrot, black pepper and sweet fennel are used for their diuretic properties.
Rapid changes in body temperature, which stimulate increased circulation of both blood and lymph, are a key attribute of hydrotherapy. Exposure to sessions of heat and cold is facilitated by therapies such as hot baths, cold plunge pools, high-powered jets of hot and cold water, wading pools, foot baths, steam rooms, wet sheet packs, the application of compresses and showers, to name a few.
A simple way to do hydrotherapy, and it’s free, is to have hot/cold alternatives showers. For 30 seconds you have a cold shower, then turn on the hot and spend 30 seconds in a hot shower, back and forth, around 4 – 10 times – which you can build up too. This will open up the lymphatics and support detoxification.
A colonic treatment usually takes around 30–45 minutes, with a practitioner operating the equipment for the duration of the treatment. During the treatment, warm, purified water at low pressure gently bathes the length of the colon, softening accumulated waste and dislodging stuck faecal deposits. Heat packs and external abdominal massage may be used to assist in the release of waste.