The Lymphatic System

According to Wikipedia, “The lymphatic system….is a network of conduits that carry a clear fluid called lymph.  It also includes the lymphoid tissue through which the lymph travels….Lymphoid tissue defends the body against infections and the spread of tumors….Lymphoid tissue is found in many organs, particularly the lymph nodes.”  The body has between 500-600 lymph nodes.  The heaviest concentration of lymph nodes exist in the neck, groin, chest, abdomen and underarms and in association with the blood vessels of the intestines. 

Lymph nodes are about the size and shape of a bean and have a honeycomb structure.  They play an extremely important role in maintaining health by filtering bodily fluids and trapping foreign particles.  They also fight disease and house lymphocytes which are critical at fighting off disease.  The lymphocytes pass through the nodes and if pathogens are detected, antigens from the pathogen bind to the lymphocytes and produce antibodies.  Other types of lymphocytes contain a toxic compound and destroy invading pathogens.  Macrophages are another pathogen component that trap the intruder.  Lymph nodes can swell due to an increase of lymphocytes, antibodies and macrophages. 

The disease of the lymphatic system is called lymphedema.  It is the swelling or bloating caused by the accumulation of lymph fluid in our skin tissue in the arms or legs.  This condition will occur if the lymphatic system is damaged or has malformations.  The swelling is usually in the limbs.  Some causes of swollen lymph nodes are cancer, infections and infectious mononucleosis.  Lymph nodes act as filters.  They contain many lymphocytes or white blood cells and they will destroy bacteria and viruses in the lymph.  While fighting the infection, the node becomes swollen and tender.  You may have noticed swollen lymph nodes in your neck, but not experience any other symptoms.  I often get pain or swelling in my lymph nodes in my neck.  I believe it’s a flushing out of toxins or that my body is trying to flush out an infection.  This could be emotional or physical.  I believe that all chronic pain, suffering and diseases are caused by lack of oxygen at the cellular level.  This is what they teach at Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach, FL.  Wheatgrass and living foods are wonderful ways to get healing oxygen into your body and cells.  Dr. Guyton wrote, “The importance of this function of the lymphatics cannot be stressed too strongly, for there is no other route besides the lymphatics through which excess proteins can return to the circulatory system.”

One of the functions of the lymphatic system is removing impurities, dead cells, bacteria, unwanted organisms or toxins from the body.  Another is the absorption of fats and proteins from our diet through the intestinal lacteals.  This gives the lymph fluid its milky color.  The lymph fluid is circulated by our muscles moving.  It also helps get oxygen and nutrients to cells by removing the dead cells, toxins, poison, and excess water from around the cells.  Intestinal tract cleansing helps with the absorption of nutrients and fats needed for good lymphatic system function.  A diet high in fresh veggies and fruit will help raise your oxygen, energy and nutrient levels.  And drinking plenty of water will flush your system and hydrate your body.

A lymph system cleanse is a wonderful thing.  The lymph system is filled with waste that has built up over your lifetime.  A cleanse will help to clean every organ and system you have.  It will effect every part of your body.  You can purchase lymph system cleanses online or ask your local health food store what they recommend.

So here we are again…..back to diet.  It’s common sense.  We need fresh foods and the nutrients they provide for our energy.  This brings life to our cells.  Junk food uses up more oxygen and we need that oxygen to heal.  Fats and proteins are low in oxygen content.  They also require extra oxygen.  Processed sugar, white flour, alcohol, coffee and soda, are other foods that require precious oxygen and take it away from our cells.

Here are a few easy things to try:

Breathing…just breathing.  Breathing helps move the lymph fluid.  Take some deep breaths.  In yoga it’s called pranayama.  Take a deep breath into your belly and hold it for a couple of heartbeats.  Exhale slowly.  Exhaling toxins out.  Massage is great too.  Check with your local massage therapist to see if they offer lymphatic massage.  Don’t forget to drink water after your massage.  This will increase lymphatic flow and release toxins.  Also, try a rebounder or inversion table.  Jumping on a mini trampoline is a great form of exercise for the lymph system.  This will help the fluid pump around the body.  Cycling, walking and running are also good.  Sweating is good.  This is releasing toxins. 

Take in some good breaths and flush out the old!

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