Never heard of the lymphatic system? Most people haven’t. But it’s critical for strong immunity. You’ve heard of the circulatory system which brings nutrients to our organs and tissues. Here’s what the lymphatic system does: it helps rid your body of toxins and waste. Pretty important right? Think of what your house would smell like if you never took out the trash? Gross, I know, but it’s analogous to what can happen when you don’t let your lymph flow. The lymph is also full of white blood cells to help fight infection, and it’s key to an iron-clad immune system.
A clogged lymphatic system can cause a back-up of toxins and sludge in the body, and it is absolutely critical to get this clear when healing any health condition – including fighting viruses!
If you take the time to have a clean lymphatic system, you’ll notice even within days that you can lose weight, your skin can start to clear up, you have way more energy and—most importantly—that you will be a lot healthier overall. Your body will have the ability to remove toxins and fight infections better.
Taking care of your lymphatic system allows your immune system to attack and flush out invaders – keeping you in good health, and able to recover faster from illness.
Need to know more? Here’s a great video on how I explain the lymphatic system and how to help it:
Toxins, bacteria, and viruses from your lymphatic system exit your body in four ways, or through four “chimneys” (I also like to call them my “-ations”):
- Pee (urination)
- Poop (defecation)
- Sweat (perspiration)
- Breath (respiration)
Open up these “chimneys” by using these nine ways to help boost a healthy lymph flow.
1. Exercise & move.
Unlike the circulatory system, which depends on the heart, the lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump. You’ll notice that your legs are more swollen if you sit all the time—that’s lymphatic fluid. Get up, move, and stretch. A little goes a long way. Even simple yoga moves can break up lymph and get nodes to drain. If you don’t have a lot of time to exercise, rebounding is a great way to get in a quick workout! You can make it as gentle or as intense as you need. There are many great rebounders out there, but this one is fabulous because it folds up and can be stored out of the way. If you can work up a sweat, even better! Sweating is one way your body and lymph can rid itself of toxins.
2. Try breathwork.
A great way to move your lymph is deep, slow breathing. The lymph collectors are sitting right under the sternum—so do some breathing exercises every day. These breathing exercises are a great start and fabulous for lowering anxiety and boosting well-being, too. Here’s another technique that helps get the lymph moving. For a comprehensive breathing protocol, try the Happiness Program by the Art of Living Foundation. Breathwork every day can be a fantastic “pump” for the lymphatic system!
Mucus-forming foods clog the lymph. Sounds gross, I know, but they’re all too common: think animal protein (meat, cheese, eggs), as well as soy and gluten. Beans and lentils are also mucus-forming and would be best to eat in moderation. And it goes without saying that processed foods produce mucus (whatever comes in a box or can). The more fresh fruits and vegetables you can eat, the better and faster your lymph will clean out and your health can improve. Plus, don’t forget all of the amazing vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that fresh plant foods provide that strengthen your immunity!
4. Catch some rays.
Get more sun! We tend to be afraid of the sun, but the result is that we deprive ourselves of some of its key benefits—including helping our lymph flow. Take your computer outside, make your calls on walks, play outside with your kids, or go to the park or beach. Even in the winter, that sunlight not only replenishes vitamin D (and other nutrients) but helps your lymph flow.
5. Go green in your beauty & home routines.
The more you can avoid burdening your body with chemicals, the better your lymph can flow because it’s not being overloaded with toxins. Some chemicals are unavoidable (stores get sprayed with insecticides, pesticides get released in the air, etc.) so control the chemicals that you can: make clean and green choices when it comes to your cosmetics; the lotions, sunscreens, creams, and toothpastes you use; your shampoo; and home cleaning products. Check out the many suggestions for toxin-free products on my Resources page.
6. Stay hydrated.
A crucial part of getting your lymph to flow is making sure you are well hydrated! A good rule of thumb is to drink at least half your body weight in ounces per day. (For example, if someone weighs 200lbs, they would drink 100 ounces.) Besides the quantity, make sure the quality of your fluids is high! A good water filter is important for not allowing chemicals into your water. You can also make all sorts of ultra-hydrating drinks, like lemon-honey-ginger water, parsley water, or plain celery juice.
Pro-tip: To get your lymphatic system moving right away in the morning, start your day with drinking 16 ounces of water with half a lemon squeezed into it (optional: add some raw organic honey).
7. Take hot baths.
Fill a steaming bathtub with two cups of pure Epsom salt (make sure there are no added ingredients like artificial fragrances, flavors, or colors) and a half-cup of baking soda—this is very detoxifying and supplies your body with magnesium—hello, deep sleep! It also assists the lymph with clearing out toxins and rejuvenating cells. There are many amazing benefits to an epsom salt bath – read more here.
8. Use these essential oils.
Essential oils are great to use in the bath or massage on the legs and arms mixed with organic and if possible 100 percent pure calendula oil or St. John’s Wort oil. Calendula is great for breaking up lymph stagnation—the carrier oil and/or drinking the tea. It’s important to combine essential oils with a “carrier” oil so they can penetrate the skin. Make sure you use quality brands to ensure their purity. The brand I use for our family is Primavera, and it’s great to vary essential oils since their properties vary. Use one type in the morning, another at night, or vary each day of the week. Here are some great essential oils for lymph cleansing in particular—blend a few drops with a carrier oil like jojoba oil and rub in the inner and outer thigh, around the knees, near the armpits, and on the abdomen in a clockwise motion:
- Carrot seed
- Black pepper
- Immortelle (Helichrysum)
- Melissa (lemon balm)
- Bay leaf
- Lemon grass
The above oils are also great for boosting the immune system. For my favorite immune-boosting oils, check out this article.
You can easily add these oils to your bath by adding a few drops to the epsom salt, mixing it, then dumping it into the bath. This allows the essential oils to become emulsified in the bath, versus just floating on the bath’s surface.
You can use my coupon code amberbodilyhealth for a 10% discount on Primavera products.
9. Try dry brushing.
Dry brush your body before you go in the shower! Sounds odd I know, but it gets your circulation going and removes dead skin cells as well as toxins that clog the lymph. It will leave your skin soft, renewed, and invigorated, while at the same time physically pushing your lymph to begin flowing. You could always do that in the shower or before your shower. Here’s a great how-to video that explains the technique.
10. Use an infrared sauna.
Not only can an infrared sauna provide relief for many health conditions, it also stimulates your circulation and lymphatic flow. Plus, when you have good lymphatic drainage, the soothing heat that penetrates into cells can help free the cell from toxins clinging to it. These toxins can be released into the lymphatic system and drained out to free your body of them! The less toxins in your body, the less work your immune system is doing to protect you from them. This lends the immune system to better defend you from outside invaders versus doing damage control on the body’s inner systems.
Investing in an infrared sauna can be an amazing support for your health. Here’s an affordable option, and here’s a really nice durable option. You can also often find an infrared sauna at your local gym or fitness center for a reasonable fee. Soak it in, relax, and enjoy greater detoxification and health!
Massage in general can get the lymphatic flow going, but some massage therapists offer lymphatic massage, specifically to move the lymphatic system. It’s another wonderful way to move the lymphatic system! If your masseuse can use any of the above essential oils in their massage, even better.
Essential for Immune Health
A flowing lymph is absolutely critical for a healthy immune system! With proper lymph flow and drainage, your body can easily rid itself of toxins, which leads to overall better health. You may also see weight loss, better skin, less pain, more energy, and less overall illness. I encourage you to try these steps consistently and see the difference!
Here are more resources for your immune system:
- How To Get a Rock-Solid Immune System: 9 All-Natural Ways To Fight Disease
- 5 Best Immune-Boosting Foods on the Planet
- The Best Supplements You Need Now: A Guide To Better Health
- 5 Best Essential Oils To Conquer Viruses & Boost Your Immunity
- Letter To All Mamas
- Why Everyone Is Talking About Elderberry Syrup & What You Need To Know
- Sick & Tired of the Flu? How To Stop It FAST
Cheers to vibrant health!