Your Lymphatic System
This system is composed of your tonsils, thymus, bone marrow, spleen, lymphatic fluid, vessels, and lymph nodes. It consists of 20 trillion cells that work as your police force and garbage collectors that are responsible for killing off the bad guys that are no longer participating in the natural processes of your body, these include cancerous cells, yeasts, bacteria, viruses, and waste products. “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 has gone wrong with your immune system.
How Your Lymphatic System Works
The lymphatic system bathes the cells in fluids as it cleans away debris and filters it to the appropriate receptacles for removal through the various systems of the body such as the skin, respiratory, sweat, urine, and stool. Your kidneys filter your blood, while the liver and spleen work to detoxify excess hormones, neurotransmitters, dead or damaged cells, bacteria, and toxins to processes them for elimination. If your lymph system stopped working for any reason you would die of toxicity within 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 can only occur with the force provided through movement of the body or through the act of breathing.
Health problems can arise when we are dealing with toxic burden, stress, or a lack of proper nutrients from the diet. One can begin to heal these issues by implementing significant diet changes to address any nutritional shortfalls, employing stress relieving techniques, and then work on getting your lymphatic system working efficiently once again.
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
- Bio-mat therapy
- 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, swimming, stretching, and yoga can help to circulate the lymph fluids.
- Dry skin brushing- the skin is the largest elimination system of the body, dry brushing can stimulate this system to work more efficiently.
- Contrast hydrotherapy- hot/cold shower therapy
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 Mini Trampoline/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 can also stimulate 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
- It 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 to use a rebounder to move the lymphatic fluid.
Lymphatic massage with castor oil
This is helpful because when Castor Oil is absorbed through the skin, the lymphocyte cell count increases. Having an increased lymphocyte cells will speed up the removal of toxins from the tissues and helps promote a state of healing. A castor oil massage is reported to be especially effective when done along the spinal column and massaged along your lymphatic pathways that line the spine on either side. One way to do this is to have your partner use their thumbs or the knuckles of both index fingers to apply circular pressure between the ribs up and down the spinal column.
- You can read more about castor oil massages and castor oil packs with this link.
Consists of far infrared heat that penetrates through the skin into the subcutaneous tissues. The FIR energy is absorbed by our cells in a process known as “resonance” or “resonant absorption.” Far infrared therapy is used by naturopathic doctors, chiropractors, physical and massage therapists, and acupuncturists as it has the ability to promote faster healing by:
- expanding the capillaries to stimulate blood flow which can aid in regeneration, circulation, and oxygenation of the cells.
- kills pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites.
- strengthens the immune system by stimulating increased production of white blood cells (leukocytes) by the bone marrow and killer T-cells by the thymus gland.
- You can find infrared mats and pads online
Dry skin brushing
Dry brushing can stimulate this system to work more efficiently
Yoga / Movement
- Reduces 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 the 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
The hot/cold alternating shower is good for anyone with cancer because of the need to increase the circulation of the lymphatic system. 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
Detox with a Bath
- Add 1 cup of apple cider vinegar to your warm bath and soak for 30 minutes. An ACV bath is said to pull toxins from the body. Those with lymphatic system cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma can do this therapy daily.
- Have a long soak in an Epson salt/sea salt/baking soda bath which can help to mobilize toxins out through the skin. Add one cup of Epson salts, 1/2 cup baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and 1/2 cup of sea salt to a warm bath and soak for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse with plain water when finished soaking to prevent the salt from drying your skin. This particular bath would be especially beneficial for those with solid tumors who are eating a mostly vegetarian diet in order to remove toxins and acids from the body.
- Read more about cancer specific diet and supplement therapies.
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.
Don’t wear antiperspirant
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.
To address lymphedema- use a combination of fresh fruit fasting and herbs
Fresh fruit fasting- raw 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 lymphatic system (lymphedema) moving again. Some fruits to include are: blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, grapes, cherries, pomegranates, cantaloupe, pineapple, watermelon, lemons, limes, and oranges. In general, fruits are very easily digested, therefore they should be eaten separately from other meals or at least 1/2 hour before your main meals, or they can easily be blended into nutritious smoothies. If you are going to do a raw fruit fast, this should be done in combination with some of the kidney cleansing herbs that are listed below.
The lymph fluid is filtered by the liver and the kidneys. Some herbs that are helpful at supporting these organs include: astragalus, burdock root, beet root, chaparral, echinacea, plantain leaf, ginger root, butcher’s broom, uva ursi, chanca piedra, curcumin, milk thistle, dandelion, stinging nettle, horsetail, and parsley.
Kidney cleansing 3 day juice fast- this would include drinking fresh juice made with beets, asparagus, celery, cucumber, ginger root, lemon and parsley.