Maintaining Healthy Lymphatics

Maintaining Healthy Lymphatics

Holistic Living Blog

By Rachelle Tetreault, DAOM,L,Ac

 

Our lymphatic system plays a huge overall role in having optimal health. It consists of lymph nodes placed strategically throughout the body, a network of both vessels and tissues mostly in our body’s vascular region to perform its many tasks. The lymphatics not only play a key role in both our immune system and immune response but assists with both protein and fat transport and metabolism. We have known the importance of healthy lymphatics in fighting infection and in cancer prevention, but now recent studies are showing even more evidence in their vital role for overall daily health.

The known significance of lymph is the clearing of metabolic waste by-products from both our tissues and cellular processes. This activity also helps absorb fat from the gut and improves circulation to help fight infections. So, it basically connects our immune system to our circulatory system. Lymph vessels empty into the veins which go into the heart.

Proper lymph flow affects our entire body. They help drain the most proximal part of the small intestine referred to as the duodenum. This helps maintain proper nutrient absorption and if impaired can lead to immunosuppression such as celiac disease. Also, renal lymphatics play a critical role in kidney development. These vital lymphatics help regulate tissue fluid and helps ward off renal disease. More recently, we have found that lymphatics are of utmost importance for lipo-protein-cholesterol removal in heart disease. This is performed by lymphatic drainage. This finding was revealed in both cardiac and aortic lymphatic studies. When functioning optimally, these lymphatics improve cardiac function, decrease the risk of arterial disease, and improve cardiac event outcomes. Not only for the heart, but lymph are assisting with the central nervous system (CNS), pulmonary, gastrointestinal, and urological systems, eyes, skin, and musculoskeletal by aiding in overall proper function and regulation.

So, what affects our lymphatic system in a negative way? There are many factors such as processed foods, low nutrient dense diet, lack of movement or exercise, stress to name a few.  Signs of congested lymph can be inflammation of the joints, headaches, skin disease, weight gain, lack of energy or vitality, and even digestion issues. You may feel puffy, have more edema, retain fluid, and feel sluggish. So… what helps the lymphatics? Proper hydration, deep breathing, good stress management, healthy phytonutrients from plants, healthy fats in diet like flax, chia, and hemp, daily activity will help improve lymphatic flow.

Lymphatic circulation is also affected by sleep cycles, genetics, and aging. But genetics play a small role when everything else in in place. When lymphatics are impaired, there are many disorders within the body system. These can range from lymphedema, lymphadenopathy, lymphoma, and splenomegaly.  Acupuncture helps stimulate lymph flow , decreasing toxins and helps assist with elimination of wastes from the body. Overall, acupuncture reduces inflammation , improves circulation, and regulates the immune system.

The release of endorphins combined with the additional calming effects of acupuncture improves lymphatic health. We know lymphatics are also affected by stress. If left untreated, this can impair our circulation and our immune system. Acupuncture helps restore balance, improve the body’s natural detoxification abilities, improves vitality (energy), and improves the function of the lymphatics.

Certain herbal formulas are used for more serious issues with the lymphatic system. They act as natural anti-inflammatory agents, clear heat, detoxify, and reduce swelling. They also aid in improving blood circulation and relieving pain. Xia ku cao is just one single herb but used in many formulas to help dissipate nodules, improve poor lymph drainage, and to help relieve inflammation. It enters the liver/ gallbladder meridians of the body. These herbal remedies are often used to help with lymphatic blockage to clear stagnation and assist with draining the lymphatic system.

A few practices exist which help fully clear the lymphatic system once stagnated. These practices would include regular deep breathing exercises and acupuncture which are great techniques to start improving the flow of lymphatics for optimal health. Herbal remedies are used if stagnation has existed a long time creating more havoc on the body with disorders like chronic lymphedema or lymphadenopathy. Start a routine of daily deep breathing with a full breath in, a pause of holding this breath and an elongated exhalation to cleanse the body of toxins.

Allow yourself healthy outlets for stress whether this be part of your daily deep breathing and stretching routine, nourishing your body with nutrient dense phytonutrients, have a regular sleep regimen to be in bed on time, and activity to get your heart pumping and body active. These activities will help prevent stagnations from occurring. Call today for your assessment and start your journey to optimal health. Call 772-353-1397. Love your life…love your lymphatics…