Your Lymphatic System: The most crucial system in your body…
And it is all-too-often ignored and neglected
Discover the astonishing secrets of your lymphatic system
And the efficient and simple actions you can take immediately to keep it humming smoothly
When we look at a new car, the first thing we notice is the car’s exterior. Glistening, glossy paint, bright interior with perfect graining, and the stylish design are features that magnetically attract our attention, with good reason. A beautiful, clean exterior is a symbol of a well-maintained vehicle.
But It’s What’s “Under the Hood” That Counts
Without checking your car’s oil level, changing the air filter, and performing other routine maintenance when required, your engine will suffer by being forced to work harder.
Continued neglect may cause severe damage to your engine, which means you’re going nowhere, in spite of your car’s dazzling exterior appearance.
Your body is no different. Shiny, glowing skin, well-defined muscles, and a fit, trim midsection are signs of health and fitness.
But if there are problems under your body’s “hood,” your external appearance will be meaningless. The organs and systems in your body must keep doing their job, every second, minute, hour, day, week, month, and year of your life.
And That Goes Double for Your Lymphatic System
The lymphatic system (or lymph system) is a web of more than 600 lymph vessels, lymph nodes, glands, organs, and lymph fluid (a clear, colorless liquid) that transports waste materials from your tissues and every cell in your body. Also, the lymph system plays a vital role in sweeping away bacteria and toxins.
The tonsils, spleen, adenoids, lymph vessels, lymph nodes, and the thymus gland are components of the lymphatic system. The lymph nodes act as traps, corralling any refuse or cells that are in the lymph fluid.
The spleen is the largest lymph organ. The spleen is in charge of blood levels and red blood cells to ward off infection.
If your spleens “radar” detects toxins or viruses in your blood, it sounds the alarm for white blood cells to go to war against the invaders. It is possible to survive if you lose your spleen to severe trauma.
However, without your spleen, you will be far more prone to infections and other complications.
Lymph vessels are bigger than capillaries but smaller than veins. In addition to removing bacteria and toxins, lymph veins are the highway for lymph fluid.
This fluid contains many nutrients, which provide nourishment to your cells. Lymph fluid flows in one direction only: up toward the neck.
Lymph fluid’s job is to transport harmful substances from your tissues into the lymph vessels and lymph organs for disposition.
All of these toxins pass through one or both lymph nodes, where they are filtered and exterminated before they can get back into your system.
Lymph vessels also send lymph fluid into your capillaries, where it is reabsorbed. The lymph vessels connect to collecting ducts, then release their fluids into two subclavian veins.
These veins combine to make up the superior vena cava, which is a sizable vein that drains blood from the upper body and sends it to the heart.
An excellent way to appreciate the lymphatic system is to think of it as a massive draining system. Like your plumber tells you, it is necessary to keep your “drains” unclogged and free-flowing to keep you in excellent health.
Why is the Lymph System Critical?
Where to begin answering that question? Your lymphatic system is responsible for a broad range of vital bodily functions. Here’s a partial list of the life-saving job your lymph system carries out continually, round the clock:
Strengthening your immune system
Ensuring your digestive system runs smoothly
Eliminating waste products
Protects you from cardiovascular disease
Unclog your arteries
Lowers deadly inflammation
Boosts your level of T-cells, which fight infections
Stimulates your all-important thyroid gland
Annihilating dying, old, or mutated cells (like cancer cells)
And more functions...much more
It’s safe to say that your lymph system acts as your body’s first line of defense against those previously mentioned diseases. That’s why it is crucial...life-saving, critical...that your lymph system continues to fire on all eight cylinders.
If your lymph system starts to slow down -- or more horrifying, if it becomes congested -- you will have opened the floodgates for a disease to enter your body and wreak havoc...serious havoc.
Consider this: if your lymph system goes on strike and shuts down, toxins and bacteria will immediately sense that the door is unlocked, run through it, and have a field day invading your body. The result? You could die within hours!
Sadly, all-too-often the lymph system is ignored and taken for granted. That is, until a dangerous affliction strikes. Then it may receive the attention it deserves. Tragically, that may come too late.
In today’s convenience-loaded society, your lymph system is under constant stress from a barrage of chemicals -- as many as 100 each day. The toxins from these unnatural substances can seep into the pores of your skin, worm their way directly into your cells, and start to clog your lymph system.
Remember, the lymph system is no different than the other systems in the body in this regard: it is in a state of finely-tuned balance. When this fragile balance is thrown out-of-whack, damage can occur.
And the Lymph System Balance is Delicate
Here’s why. Unlike your circulatory system that has your heart to act as a pump, the lymph system has no pump to keep it flowing. Therefore, it is easy for it to become sluggish, tired, and clogged.
Your lymph system can become blocked as a result of the formation of scar tissue from surgery to remove the lymph nodes, radiation, or injury to the lymph nodes or lymph vessels. Infection and cancer can also cause swollen lymph nodes.
Have you ever noticed how your doctor feels your throat? He is checking your lymph nodes for swelling.
Usually swelling of the lymph nodes is not a big deal, since the lymph nodes swell with infection-battling white blood cells when bacteria are present. This is merely your body going on red-alert and countering damaging invaders. But to be safe, swelling of the nodes warrants further investigation in case the cause of the swelling is something more serious.
And there’s another catch to lymph system problems: you might not know your lymph system is struggling until it’s too late. Here are a few of the symptoms that may be signaling problems with your lymph system:
Itchy, dry skin, acne, and skin blotches
Weight-gain, in the form of increasing slabs of ugly, disease-producing fat
Constant illness due to a weakened, compromised immune system
Fluid retention, with accompanying bloating
A sore throat, swollen tonsils, and enlarged lymph nodes
Swollen feet, hands, and ankles
Ugh! Remember, these symptoms may be merely a preview of coming attractions. There are several fatal conditions that can result from a malfunctioning lymph system:
Lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes). This is serious. According to the National Cancer Institute, the survival rate for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma is 69% for five years and 59% for ten years. But if you are over 60 years of age, or are in stage III or stage IV, have high serum LDH levels, and the lymphoma has spread to more than one organ in your body, survival rates plummet to a five-year survival rate of 53% and a ten-year survival rate of 36%.
Castleman disease. This is similar to lymphoma and can cause multiple organ failures.
Lymphangiomatosis. This is a condition that results from several cysts or lesions formed from lymphatic vessels. This is a rare and severe affliction that is congenital and often strikes children. Its causes are mostly unknown.
To use a standard cliché, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to appreciate the importance of keeping your lymph system in good, working order.
Here’s the Good News
It’s not terribly difficult to give your precious lymph system the iron-clad protection that it deserves. There are steps that you can begin to take immediately that are inexpensive and don’t require tons of exotic fitness toys.
As mentioned earlier, the lymph system has no “pump.” So YOU must be your lymph system’s “pump.” Here are a few proven methods to keep your lymphatic system happy and smiling:
Get off the couch and get moving. Any movement is better than none. Walking (especially energetic walking), jogging, golf, tennis, stair climbing, gardening, and yard work all help.
Bouncing. Also known as rebounding, this can be done on a trampoline, by skipping rope, jumping up and down, or doing jumping jacks. Research has shown that vertical (up and down) motion is more beneficial to the lymph system than horizontal (sideways) movement. This makes sense since lymph fluid travels vertically. Therefore, vertical movements can pump lymph fluid back up the body. The benefits are numerous: strengthening the body’s tissues, quicker detoxification, jump-starting the brain, lymph, and cerebral spinal fluid rejuvenation, energizing lymphatic vessels, and massaging vital tissues and organs.
Yoga. This ancient method of stretching delivers more benefits than flexibility -- including helping the lymph system eliminate toxins by squeezing the internal organs during yoga positions. These poses primarily stimulate the two most important organs of cleansing: the liver and kidneys. When the yoga poses are completed, fresh blood floods into these organs, enabling them to continue their work of eliminating waste materials and toxins.
Deep breathing. Deep breathing is as vital to the health of the lymphatic system as any of the previously mentioned exercises. Deep breathing presses the lungs into the thoracic duct. This causes lymph fluid to re-enter the bloodstream and recycle itself. The result is a massive “good riddance” to toxins. The ancient Chinese art of Chi Kung emphasizes deep breathing and has several exercises that are efficient and time-proven over thousands of years.
Inversion. Raising your feet above your head helps the lymph system drain accumulated lymphatic fluid from the legs and recycle it throughout the body. As mentioned earlier, lymph fluid flows upward toward the neck. Therefore, inversion can assist the lymph system by temporarily easing its workload. Inversion can be done with an inversion table, or with yoga poses. This is helpful because your heart has to strive mightily to get sufficient blood back up your legs. Inversion kicks in lymph system drainage by moving lymph fluid toward the heart where it can merge with vascular system blood and speed up the pace of the lymph system detoxifying your blood. This attacks cellulite, varicose veins and fluid retention with a vengeance.
Dry skin brushing. This simple technique also plays a role in maintaining the health of your lymph system. Start with a natural bristle brush, then begin brushing upward at your feet and continue to move up the entire body, aiming toward the heart.
Massage. Massage has been shown to boost the lymph system’s ability to move up to ten times as much lymph fluid than usual. If massage is unavailable, consider giving foam rolling a try. Foam rollers are inexpensive and easy to use.
Stay hydrated. This is the ultimate “no-brainer.” Proper hydration helps every aspect of the body function optimally, and that includes your lymph system. Also, consider squeezing a freshly cut lemon into your drinking water. Lemons are jammed-packed with potassium, magnesium, and calcium, which is needed for electrolyte replenishment. Make a special effort to choose lemon water or mineral water over sodas, fruit juices, and sports drinks.
Beware of toxins. As mentioned earlier, we live in a toxin-rich environment. Consider fluoride. Studies have linked fluoridation of our drinking water to approximately 100,000 cancer deaths. A reverse osmosis water filter is something for you to seriously consider. Toothpaste can also wreak havoc on many of your organs and your lymph system. Most standard kinds of toothpaste contain triclosan, which is a proven disruptor of good health. Read labels on toothpaste and look for a paste that contains natural elements. Electromagnetic Radiation, Bisphenol-A (BPA), Bisphenol-S (BPS), and Phthalates that are found in plastics, floor mats, and shower curtains are continual sources of toxic bombardment. Do everything possible to minimize your exposure to these toxins, and consider supplementing with spirulina. At times called “the original super-food,” this powerhouse antioxidant is a disease-fighter, keeps your organs healthy, and delivers a broad range of other benefits as well.
Your takeaway is this: there is nothing complicated about giving your lymph system the protection it needs and deserves. Keep these ideas in mind, and stack the odds in your favor.
Contact our clinic for the complete, total blueprint for good health, hormone replacement therapy, and the latest anti-aging and life-extension developments.
Bradford, Alex (2015), Vivid Living, Duo Publications
Parts of Lymphatic System
The Lymphatic System
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