Your Lymphatic System
“The average American body has 1,000 times more heavy toxic metals than our primitive ancestors. Toxins shut down the ability of the immune system to mount a good battle against the cancer cells. As your cells divide billions of times daily, mistake cells are the inevitable consequence. These mistake cells sometimes grow into cancer cells, which your immune system recognizes as being defective and then gobbles them up like Pac Man. The average adult gets 6 bouts of cancer in a lifetime, yet only 42% of Americans will end up in a cancer hospital. The other 58% had a respectable immune system, which protected the person against defective cells rising up to become palpable life-threatening cancer. Get your immune system working and the end of cancer is in sight.” Patrick Quillin, author of Beating Cancer with Nutrition.
Your immune system consists of 20 trillion cells that work as your police force and garbage collectors. It is responsible for killing the bad guys that are not participating in the natural processes of your body, these include cancer cells, yeasts, bacteria, viruses, and dead cells. “Kill the bad guys and take out the trash.” That is what your immune system is supposed to do. But if you have cancer, something is wrong with your immune system: usually either stress, toxic burden, or malnutrition. One way to address toxic burden is to get the lymphatic system moving efficiently.
How Your Lymphatic System Works
Is composed of your tonsils, thymus, bone marrow, spleen, lymphatic fluid, vessels, and lymph nodes. This often overlooked system is your body’s sanitation department that cleans up all of the debris which is created by the other systems of the body. Your skin is your largest detox organ, with the liver and spleen working just about as hard. The kidneys work to filter your blood, while your liver and spleen cleanse your blood and lymph fluids of excess hormones, neurotransmitters, dead or damaged cells, bacteria, and toxins to processes them for elimination. This system continually bathes the cells in fluid as it cleans away debris and filters it through the appropriate receptacles for removal through the various systems including respiratory, sweat, urine, and stool. If your lymph system stopped working for any reason you would die of toxicity in a matter of hours.
You have about three times more lymphatic fluid than blood, yet this system has no dedicated muscle to pump the fluid that circulates through a vast network of capillaries and ducts. Its pulsing only occurs by the force that is provided through the motion of the body and through the breath.
Video of how the lymphatic system works
Ways to encourage the lymphatic system to work more efficiently:
- Stay hydrated- this helps the body to flush out the toxins. You can do this by drinking 8-10 glasses of pure water daily.
- Rebounding, or light jumping on a Mini Trampoline
- Lymphatic massage with Castor Oil. When castor oil is absorbed through the skin the lymphocyte cell count increases. Increased lymphocyte cells will speed up the removal of toxins from your tissues, which helps promote a state of healing. A castor oil massage is reported to be especially effective when done along your spinal column and then massaged deeply along your lymphatic pathways that line the spine on either side. An effective way to do this is to have a partner use their thumbs or the knuckles of both index fingers and apply circular pressure between the ribs as they travel up and down the back on either side of the spinal column.
- Deep breathing to expand your chest fully and then exhaling slowly as you become conscious of your breath. Visualize your lungs breathing in fresh clean air and releasing toxins on the exhale.
- Movement such as: walking, biking, and swimming
- Stretching and yoga routines can help to circulate the lymph fluids.
- Dry skin brushing- watch the video below.
- Contrast hydrotherapy- hot/cold shower therapy
- Herbs that are helpful for cleansing the lymphatic system include Astragalus, burdock root, calendula officinalis, chaparral, cleavers leaf, echinacea, plantain leaf, poke root, red root, and white oak bark.
- Fresh fruit fasting to move the lymphatic system- Fruits have astringent like qualities that work to specifically target and cleanse the lymphatic fluids and to keep it moving which is extremely important when you are healing from cancer. They can also be used to cleanse the kidneys and get a stagnant system moving again (lymphodema). To address this issue one can go on an all fruit/fruit smoothie fast for several days along with the addition of kidney supporting herbs. Some powerful fruits to include are: blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, grapes, cherries, pomegranates, cantaloupe, papaya, pineapple, watermelon, lemons, limes, and oranges. Fruits are very easily digested, therefore they should be eaten separately, or about 1/2 hour before your main meals, or they can easily be blended into smoothies. You can begin by starting your day with a big bowl of fresh fruit to cleanse the digestive system, or you can set aside a few days for an all fruit and green smoothie cleanse.
- How to make nutritious green smoothies.
- Do not wear antiperspirant as this can clog the lymphatic system under the armpits. You want your body to sweat and release toxins freely. You can mix equal parts of essential oils with a carrier oil and rub this over the chest and arm pit areas to work as a natural deodorant.
Remove your bra
Reduce the amount of time that you are wearing your bra– Tight bras severely restrict the circulation of both blood and lymph fluid from circulating throughout the breast area. The circulatory system brings much needed oxygen-rich, nutrient-filled blood to the area. It also removes the accumulated toxins and carbon dioxide. Both are very important and are often impaired by wearing a bra. In the book Dressed to Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras, the authors present some shocking statistics regarding the length of time a woman wears a bra and her increased risk of developing breast cancer.
- Women who wear a bra 24 hours a day have a 3 in 4 chance of breast cancer.
- Women who wear a bra more than 12 hours a day (though not to bed) had a 1 in 7 chance of breast cancer.
- Wearing a bra less than 12 hours a day had a 1 in 152 chance of breast cancer.
- Women who rarely or never wore bras had a 1 in 168 chance of breast cancer.
- Never wear your bra to bed.
According to Dr. David Williams, “Wearing a bra at least 14 hours a day tends to increase the hormone prolactin, which decreases circulation in the breast tissue. Decreasing circulation can impede your body’s natural removal of carcinogenic fluids that become trapped in the breast’s sac‐like glands (lymph nodes). These glands make up the largest mass of lymph nodes in the upper part of your body’s lymphatic system.” The mammary glands are filled with lymphatic vessels that move from the breast to the lymph nodes located under the armpit, to the collar bone, and then the thoracic duct. It is through these pathways that the breast drains toxins and keeps its internal environment clean. When something impedes this natural process, the estrogen byproducts become destructive free radicals that can create cellular damage, thus leading to breast cancer. If you must wear your bra, consider wearing one that does not cut tightly under or along the outer edges of the breasts where these milk ducts are located. Also remember to take it off whenever possible to allow your lymphatic system to flow freely.
This consists of aerobic bouncing in the form of jumping jacks, twisting, running in place, dancing, etc on a mini trampoline to get your lymphatic fluids pumping and your body sweating out toxins. Even if you are too weak to jump, you can still sit on the rebounder and bounce gently in order to stimulate this system. A typical routine is to warm up for a couple minutes with light bouncing, then do 5-10 minutes of strength and aerobic bounce variations, and then cool down with a couple more minutes of light bouncing.
- Rebounding stimulates the millions of one-way valves that make up the lymphatic system. This action benefits the immune system’s capacity for fighting disease, destroying cancer cells, eliminating antigens, and preventing future illness.
- White blood cell counts can nearly triple following rebounding which will provide a greater defense at destroying cancerous cells
- Circulates oxygen to all of the tissues and cells.
- Just 2 minutes of rebounding offers the equivalent physiological benefits as 6 minutes of running, 10 minutes of swimming and 22 minutes of walking.
- It provides an increased G-force (gravitational load), which benefits the body by strengthening the musculoskeletal systems.
- Protects the joints from the chronic fatigue and impact delivered by exercising on hard surfaces.
- Offers relief from neck and back pains, headaches, and other pain caused by lack of exercise.
- Has been shown to benefit body alignment and posture.
- Enhances the digestion and elimination processes.
How a rebounder can move the lymphatic fluid.
Dry skin brushing
Dry brushing demonstration
- Helps to ease anxiety in breast cancer outpatients, according to a 2009 study of 98 outpatients assigned to receive either yoga training or a brief therapy session prior to undergoing surgery. The study also showed that daily yoga sessions helped to manage treatment-related side effects.
- Reducing Stress: patients who practice yoga had lower levels of stress, anxiety, and depression than those who didn’t practice yoga, according to a study published in 2009.
- Improving Quality of Life- In a pilot study published in 2006, researchers found that a seven-week yoga program significantly improved quality of life for cancer survivors. The researchers also observed a significant improvement in emotional function among the study’s 20 yoga-practicing participants.
- Enhancing Sleep Quality-A 2004 study of 39 lymphoma patients indicated that attending a weekly yoga session may help reduce sleep disturbance, improve sleep quality, lengthen sleep duration, and reduce the use of sleep medications.
- Read more about the health benefits of yoga
Video – Yoga for Beginners
hot/cold shower therapy is good for anyone with cancer because of the need to increase the circulation of the lymphatic system. Your lymph nodes are the clean up crew of the body, when they get overloaded they will form blockages and become swollen. Taking a shower that alternates between very hot and very cold water can work to stimulate this circulation system, decrease inflammation, improve elimination, and bring needed oxygen into the body.
Hot and cold hydrotherapy is performed in the shower by having very hot water on your body for a couple of minutes and then switching to very cold water for one minute. Then back to hot and again back to cold.
The hot water circulates the red blood cells up toward the surface of your skin, then the cold water draws the red blood cells back down deep into the organs. The action of going back and forth is what gets the circulation moving. Repeat the hot and cold action for at least three to five cycles, finally ending at a neutral temperature.
- Read more about contrast hydrotherapy
The benefits of contrast hydrotherapy