Your lymphatic system is probably one of the most important systems in your body for the simple reason that it is linked to your immunity. Your lymphatic system consists of an entire network of tissues and organs that help your body get rid of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials. This very important system essentially moves lymph (a clear fluid that contains infection-fighting white blood cells) throughout your body.
Despite being a vital part of your health, your lymphatic system is also one of the last things most people worry about. Doctors routinely warn you of the dangers of heart disease and diabetes. They caution you about high cholesterol and blood pressure, and even the risks of cancer, but they rarely tell you how critical lymph drainage is for your overall health.
What is the Lymphatic System?
There is still much that remains unknown about the lymphatic system, but here are a few things we can say for sure.
- The lymphatic system was first discovered in 1652 by a Danish physician, Thomas Bartholin.
- You have between 500 and 700 lymph nodes in your body that are responsible for filtering lymph fluid.
- Your spleen is the largest organ in the lymphatic system.
- Lymph is not circulated like blood—it has no pump such as your heart to push it through your body. It only flows in only one direction — upward toward your neck.
- Lymphatic system diseases can go ignored or unnoticed for many years.
- There are an array of mild, slowly progressing, serious and even deadly diseases that are known to attack your lymphatic system, causing issues and even complete failure of this vital system.
You need a healthy lymphatic system to help excrete toxins, so if it is not working properly, organs such as your liver and kidneys can quickly become contaminated as they are overloaded with toxins and chemicals. Other systems can also be affected.
It is a well-known fact in the natural health industry that the conventional medical community typically ignores lymph stagnation as a possible cause of disease. Ultimately, a poorly functioning lymphatic system can lead to any number of health issues such as digestive disorders, increased illnesses, hormonal imbalances, chronic fatigue, allergies, prostatitis, chronic sinusitis, heart disease, and eczema and other skin conditions.
It has also been linked to (3):
- Poor circulation
- Fibrocystic disease
- Repetitive parasitic infections
- Lupus erythematosis
- High blood pressure
- Bacterial and viral infections
- Puffy eyes
- Low back pain
- Ear or balance problems
- Excessive sweating
Top 14 signs of a congested lymphatic system
- Swollen fingers—rings get tight on fingers
- Occasional constipation, diarrhea, and/or mucus in your stool
- Sore or stiff joints upon waking
- Exhaustion and general fatigue
- Weight gain, extra belly fat and cellulite
- Dry, itchy skin, rashes or acne
- Swollen glands
- Low immunity
- Brain fog
- Breast swelling or soreness with each cycle
- Mild headaches
- Elevated histamine—increased allergies and irritation due to common environmental allergens
While these are some of the most commons signs of a congested lymphatic system, there are others such as cold feet and hands, digestive disorders and multiple sinus infections.
The bottom line, however, is if you have any of these symptoms for an extended period of time and your doctor cannot find a logical explanation or the symptoms worsen or multiply, you should speak to a naturopath or other holistic doctor who will investigate lymphatic issues.
In the interim, there are many easy ways to improve your lymphatic circulation, which is always a good idea even if you are not suffering from any immediate symptoms.
10 Lymph Drainage Tricks
The number one best way to increase lymph flow is through exercise. The lymphatic system does not have a pump like your heart, so the only way it circulates is by actual movement. And one proven way to do this is by using a rebounder or small trampoline (6).
Even small movements, just simple bouncing for 10-20 minutes a day, can significantly increase lymph flow 15 to 30 times more than being sedetary.