The lymph system is a network of organs and vessels throughout the body. The lymph capillaries weave between the organs and tissue collecting the fluid that gets left behind on a daily basis. Lymph tissue forms a one way system where fluid can enter but not leave. This pumpless system relies on the action of arteries, the milking motion of the heart, the thoracic changes when breathing as well as their valve structures to prevent back flow. Therefore, physical activity and passive movement encourages the lymph to flow more rapidly while immobilization decreases the flow, especially when an injured body part is involved.
Our lymphatic system affects our cardiovascular and immune systems. While the cardiovascular system needs the fluid to function properly, the immune system’s anti microbial activity is key in the functioning of the lymph. Large clusters of lymph tissue (lymph nodes) occur near the body’s surface in the inguinal, cervical and axillary areas. There are also organs whose function is similar to that of the lymphatic system. These include the spleen, the thymus, the tonsils and the Payer’s patches. The lymph nodes allow more liquid in than out, like a bottle neck and within these nodes are cells (macrophages) which destroy bacteria, cancer cells and other foreign matter before it reaches the blood stream, thereby cleaning the blood.
A healthy lymphatic system relies on two concepts:
- Stimulation: nutrition and exercise to increase optimum lymph function
- Elimination: healthy elimination organs (kidneys, bowels liver and bladder) results in the efficient removal of toxins and waste from the body.
- Avoid red meat, greasy and fried food, cheese butter and cream, vinegar and pickles, alcohol, sugar and artificial additives.
You may improve overall lymph health in two weeks by doing the following:
- Doing dry skin rubs.
- Taking cool showers.
- Drinking simple teas which support elimination eg. Cleavers, marigold and Echinacea. Par d’arco may be added for it’s strong antiviral properties.
- Eating fresh fruits especially oranges and grapes. Eating lots of green vegetables and only white meat, chicken and fish.
So, give your lymphatic system a break!
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