The bodies drainage system, better known as the lymphatic system, is basically our plumber/clean up crew. It is responsible for cleaning out waste and making sure things are flowing properly. The Lymphatic System aids the immune system, in detoxifying the body, by removing waste, toxins, debris, dead blood cells, excess fluids, and pathogens. A functioning non clogged or sluggish system, not only removes toxins and waste from the bloodstream it also absorbs and transfers fats and fatty acid from the digestive track to the bloodstream and defends us from infections. The Lymphatic system, works hard daily to keep us healthy but our environment, lifestyle, foods we eat, and lack of exercise often overloads it and causes stagnation.
Our lymphatic system on its own is already very slow moving. It is also completely dependent upon us for its ability to keep moving because unlike the cardiovascular system it doesn’t have a pump to propel it along. On top of the already slow moving nature of this system, we are bombarded daily with high levels of hormones and chemicals floating in our bloodstream, in reaction to stress, like cortisol which intern causes glucose levels to be high and we all know the damage to much glucose in the bloodstream causes.
Then there are those pesky environmental toxins we are exposed to regularly, in our food, water, skin care products, cooking and eating utensils, and in the air we breath. Toxins like lead, BPA, mercury, mold, phthalates, and pesticides are circulating in our bodies at high levels, much higher now than they were in past generations. Because of our constant exposure to all of these things our bodies natural detoxification pathways become sluggish and could use help in keeping the process flowing smoothly.
While the body naturally detoxifies itself, because we live in such stressful, sedentary, and toxic times, we need to manually give our lymphatic system a hand to keep the process moving and avoid backups and sluggishness. We can manually keep our “pipes” unclogged by creating daily rituals that help stimulate the lymphatic system. Many of these manual techniques include, rebounding, skin brushing, oil pulling, detox baths, and herbal tonic/teas. Each of these techniques stimulates the lymphatic system and can easily be done regularly.
Rebounding is simply getting on a trampoline and jumping to your hearts content. Yep, you get to have fun while stimulating the lymphatic system and getting in a bit of exercise. The up and down motion of jumping on a trampoline stimulates the lymphatic system and is said to increase its flow by as much as 30x. It is also said that 20 mins of rebounding is equal to an hour of cardio, so you may want to get jumping.
Dry Skin Brushing is basically taking a body brush to dry unset or oiled skin and brushing in the direction of which the lymphatic system flows. This directly helps the flow of the lymphatic system by removing dead skin and opening up the pores giving the body another pathway to eliminate toxins and waste. Dry skin brushing daily helps to keep elimination pathways clear, lessons the lymphatic systems workload, speeds up the lymphatic flow, all while tightening the skin, improving digestion, increasing circulation, and strengthening the immune system.
Oil Pulling is an accent ayurvedic practice of restoring and maintaining optimum oral health and detoxification. The process of oil pulling is very simple. You want to oil pull first thing in the morning before you brush your teeth or even have a drink of water. You take 1 to 2tbs of the oil of your choice, I recommend coconut or sesame oil, and swish it around your mouth, making sure to to get all sides of your mouth and underneath your tongue, for 10-20mins. The swishing is said to activate enzymes in your mouth and helps to pull toxins from the bloodstream via the nerve endings under the tongue. When done, spit the oil into the toilet and throughly rinse the mouth and brush your teeth as usual.
Detox Bath stimulates lymphatic flow while cleansing the bodies largest breathing organ, the skin. I recommend using bentonite clay, epsom salt, and apple cider vinegar for an effective cleansing, detoxing, and lymphatic stimulating effect. Using these ingredients in your bath stimulates the lymphatic system by helping to flush toxins and heavy metals from your cells, stimulates lymphatic flow, and reduces inflammation.
Herbal Tonics/Teas has been used since the beginning of time for healing the body. Cleansing herbs can help rid the body of toxic build up and in turn increase the lymphatic flow by decreasing its workload on having to remove excess toxins. Great herbs for cleansing are; Bupleurum root, dandelion greens and roots, burdock root, milk thistle seeds, sarsaparilla, and reishi mushrooms, to name a few. These herbs, roots, seeds and mushrooms, work with the lymphatic system and liver to cleanse the bloodstream of heavy metals and other toxins.
Our bodies are very smart. It communicates to us when it needs something or when something is out of sorts. When our drainage system is backed up the body definitely lets you know by giving outward signs. If you have a sluggish or backed up system you may experience;
- dry skin
- swollen lymph nodes
- sinus congestion/infection
- head aches
- light colored stools
- acne breakouts
- poor circulation
- autoimmune disorder
- thyroid imbalance
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms as a result of “clogged pipes” the techniques I listed above can definitely help improve and/or remove these issues by stimulating the lymphatic system. I personally enhance my drainage and detoxification process and ease some of the workload of my lymphatic system by regularly doing many of these techniques. Because I know the environment only gets more toxic as time goes on I have made my natural detoxing methods a daily ritual. I, oil pull every morning, skin brush and take a detox bath every night, and follow my bath with an herbal tea before bed. Rebounding on the other hand, has been a little harder for me to add to my ritual list, but I am working on adding it very soon.
While doing all of the recommended techniques isn’t a must, doing at least one, to help keep things flowing, is better than doing nothing at all.