Helping your lymphatic system to help you

Source: Flickr - Paul Garland

–by Sally Beare


Why a healthy lymph system can make so much difference

The lymph system doesn’t get thought about much by the average person – in fact, most of us don’t even know exactly what our lymph system is. But it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that keeping your lymph system in order can save your health and even your life.

According to the Lymphatic Research Foundation, lymphatic problems are very prevalent in the US population, resulting in a wide range of debilitating symptoms. And around 10 million Americans are estimated to have lymphedema, or swelling of tissues caused by a problematic lymphatic system.

The vital importance of the lymph system has only recently started to be recognised by the medical community, and not a moment before time. When the lymph system isn’t working properly, tissues and organs cannot function well, immunity is jeopardised and the body’s cancer surveillance system breaks down. According to the Lymphatic Research Foundation, the lymph system is also key to understanding the spread of AIDS.

What does the lymph system do?

Your lymph – the clear stuff you sometimes see seeping from a cut before the blood comes – carries various useful substances such as fats, immune cells and hormones to the places they are needed. It also acts as a waste disposal system, collecting toxins, viruses, dead and diseased cells, cancerous cells and other nasty stuff and passing it through the lymph nodes for filtration.

Your lymph nodes

You can feel your lymph nodes quite easily in your armpit, groin and neck, especially if they become swollen. Lymphedema, or swollen lymph nodes, can be caused by infections or blockage of the lymphatic system. They can also be caused by Hodgkins and Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. When lymph stops flowing… Possible symptoms of a poorly-flowing lymphatic system include swollen limbs, bursitis, joint stiffness, dry skin, acne, bad breath, body odor, lethargy, depression, glandular fever (mononucleosis), high blood pressure, aches, pains, flu-like symptoms, sinusitis, asthma, back pain, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, hormonal imbalances, headaches, sinusitis, digestive problems, cellulite, atherosclerosis and cancer.

Your lymphatic system needs help!

The lymphatic system can easily become stagnant because it doesn’t have a pump to get the lymph flowing round, as blood does with the heart – it relies mainly on being squeezed by muscles. Exercise and the right diet are the friends of your lymphatic system, whereas eating fatty foods and not drinking enough water will make it sluggish.

If you have any of the symptoms described above, you may have a clogged lymphatic system. Clogging can also be determined using Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging and Bio Meridian Screening.

If you think your lymphatic system could do with a bit of a boost, here are some common treatments which may help. If you have an illness or if you have swollen glands always consult your physician first.

Lymphatic massage (Manual Lymph Drainage)

This is a gentle type of massage which stimulates the tiny, light vessels in the lymph system and helps to clear blockages from the lymph nodes. Lymph is supposed to flow towards the heart, so strokes are always in this direction.

Lymphatic massage boosts immunity and a sense of vitality and can be especially useful for people with low energy, sports injuries, emotional issues, stress, and respiratory problems.

Lymphatic massage is contraindicated in the case of thrombosis, tumors, and major heart problems. Always make sure that you have a qualified lymphatic massage therapist who can check whether or not the treatment is suitable for you.

After a lymphatic massage, drink water as this will help with the flow of fluid which is now flushing out toxins.

Electro lymphatic therapy

This is a preventative and curative treatment based on quantum physics. The practitioner uses a light beam generator which generates negative ions to break up protein clumps, unclog the lymphatic system and help clear blockages in the lymph nodes.

Electro lymphatic therapy is claimed to be up to 12 times more effective than manual lymph drainage, as well as reaching areas that manual therapy cannot reach. It is suitable for fibromyalgia and ME sufferers since it is very gentle, producing just a warm tingling sensation.

Practitioners of ELT claim that it helps eliminate wrinkles, boosts vitality, boosts immunity, helps relieve chronic immunity-related conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus and relieves fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, pain in joints, breast and prostate problems, and water retention.

ELT is contra-indicated in the case of pregnancy, having a pacemaker, terminal illness or being highly medicated.

Rebounding – bounce your way to better health

Cardiologist Dr. William Lee Cowden recommends 20 minutes of using a rebounding trampoline (or ‘lymphaciser’) daily as an excellent way to boost lymph circulation. According to Arthur C. Guyton, M.D., of the University of Mississippi School of Medicine, rebounding causes the lymph ducts to expand, which can allow up to 14 times greater flow of lymph.

Keeping moving and taking regular exercise will also, of course, help with lymph flow. A sluggish person means sluggish lymph, an active person means active lymph, and vice versa.


Like rebounding, skipping, with its up and down movement, is an excellent way to stimulate lymph flow.

Deep breathing

Deep abdominal breathing and exercise which involves deep breathing such as Tai Chi, Aikido, Qi Gong and yoga all help to get lymph flowing smoothly. These types of gentle exercise are also ideal for older people who prefer not to do strenuous activity.

Dry skin brushing

You can encourage your lymph to move in the direction it is supposed to be going in – towards the heart – with gentle skin brushing. Using a soft dry brush with natural bristles, brush up each leg on both sides, up the torso, and up the arms towards the heart. If your brush is above the heart then brush downwards towards it. Try also moving the brush towards the collarbone on each side as important lymph glands are situated here. This can be done for 5-10 minutes daily.

Dietary help

Avoid lymph cloggers and toxifiers such as fatty foods, sugars and refined foods. Your lymph system will benefit from an overall healthy diet and plenty of water.

Magnesium and calcium together will help with the action of muscles which squeeze it along the blood vessels (green leafy veg and nuts and seeds are good sources; you may also benefit from a supplement).

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  1. Sandra Wipper says:

    I found your website by researching why my alergies are getting worse, and now I have developed asthma in the spring. I am extremely tired, with heavy brain fog. I have bags under my eyes most of the time, along with a stuffy nose. I am taking class’es and it has gotten so bad that I cannot get through one class. I just started a regimen of rebounding and liver detox to help the liver get rid of the toxins. If you have any tips please let me know. Thanks

  2. Connie Munoz says:

    Thank you for this article……I have had fibromyalgia since 1986…..almost 30 years……..My Mother died of Myeloid Leukemia……..None of my Doctors agree that my pain is because of my lymph system….I have always thought it did…..I am 59 years old now and my flare ups are getting worse…..and my lymph nodes are always inflamed……I am so sluggish and almost out of my mind……I am going to try to do everything you recommended….thank you so much……

  3. Thanks so much for such informative health tips on the lymph system my system needed a boost cause i have been telling my doctors abt d lymp nodes under my arm for years, tablets tablets and my hormones still have a very imbalance,i started my step ups exercise i do drink more water each day and try to keep d stress level down, recently i was told that i have depression and stress disorder because of my hormones d nerveousness is so hard to deal with at times i pray to God for a cure each day i know He’s able but He also created folks like you to help others so Thank You please keep me posted on how i can eat better and what to eat to help my lymp system.

  4. Thank you for your very informative article on the Lymphatic System. I have been waiting for someone to speak on what a person with Lymphatic issues should be eating.
    I found out I had Lymphedema 9 years ago. My Lymphatic system had shut down. I had Cellulitis all over my body and my body was weeping Lymph. I ended up with Congestive Heart Failure also. I have never really had anyone tell me what foods will trigger the Lymph issues and I have been researching this for years. I finally found your article and was so glad. I had knew that sugar had to play a role in some problems with mine, because I’ve been feeling poorly lately and I do think it’s because I’ve been indulging in more sugary products lately. My husband passed away suddenly from a Heart Attack 9 months ago and we had been happily married for 32 years and it came as a great shock. I stopped my exercising and eating, because it was hard for me to even get out of bed some days and I just didnt want to cook for myself, so I’d eat out. After 9 months of this, my body is aching
    and most mornings when getting out of bed, it hurts to take those first few steps.
    I wanted to share just a bit of my story, so others could read and see how important it is to take care of our bodies and yes, even our Lymph system. I do the MLD (Manual Lymph Drainage Massage) and it helps and I do feel my lymph flow when I do it. The fluid runs down the back of my throat. I also wanted to stress that bouncing on a Swiss Exercise Ball helps the Lymph drainage also and gets it moving. I am not stable enough on my feet to use a rebounder, so I use the swiss ball, but I also have the ball inside a stabilizer, so the ball doesn’t go anywhere on me. I like to bounce and dance to music while I’m sitting on it.
    I’m not trying to push anything on anyone here, just telling what has worked for me. Hope it helps and thank you again for your article on this subject. It could save someone’s life or at the very least, the quality of their life.

  5. I would say to add Buteyko Breathing to the list of deep breathing. Nasal breathing is always superior to mouth breathing of any kind even sighing is over breathing. It is the Bohr effect. Carbon dioxide is important to get the oxygen to the organs and this is best accomplished but nose breathing exclusively.

  6. I have had mild lymphedema in my arm for about 6 years now, thought to be from damaged lymph vessels from some sort of trauma. I have been to therapists for MLD with good results, and I do the lymph massage at home. It has been controlled for a long time. Recently I had a flare up in my hand, never had this type of swelling in my hand before. Dr stated from overuse and possibly the extreme cold weather. I am going to start rebounding. I am hopeful that this will help. Anyone have lymphedema that rebounding has helped alot?

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