The lymphatic system is an essential part of the immune system as this fluid also carries lymphocytes, dendritic cells, and immunoglobulins to fight off pathogens or regulate the body during infection. So it protects the body from pathogens while keeping bodily fluids in balance. Lymphatic congestion is a major factor leading to inflammation and disease. If the lymph is not flowing well, the cells become “sick” from their own waste and the lymph fluid becomes sludge-like, resulting in fatigue, swelling, infection & inflammation.
In regards to hormones, well all hormones, nutrients, and waste products going to and from the cells must pass through the lymphatics. If the lymphatic channels cannot remove toxins properly, no hormone is going to work optimally, and there will be deposition of waste products into the tissues.
Also the health of a woman’s lymphatic system will have a direct impact on her ability to move progesterone around the body. Because progesterone is so critical to female hormone balance, it may be more important than ever for our lymph to be moving freely, serving as a delivery system for progesterone, to balance out estrogen.
And we can’t forget about our mammary glands (male or female)! Breasts are composed primarily of fatty and connective tissues, but there is a tremendous amount of lymphatic tissue present as well. The lymph nodes in the axilla function as a protective barrier for the breast tissue, filtering toxins and regulating immune and inflammatory mechanisms that affect breast health.
Common Signs of Sluggish Lymphatics
- Brain fog
- Lack of energy
- Recurrent sore throats
- Morning mucous
- Mucous drainage (especially after dairy or flour)
- Fluid backup in the ear
- Frequent colds
- Soreness or stiffness in the morning
- Bloating, swelling, or heaviness in extremities
- Arms or hands fall asleep while sleeping
- Pain, pressure, or stiffness along your spine and shoulders
- Sore breast or breast swelling with your menstrual cycle
- Skin issues
- Itchy skin
What backs up the lymph?
- Dehydration: Being dehydrated can contribute to poor lymphatic drainage and cause lymphatic stagnation.
- Lack of Movement: Proper lymphatic flow requires deep breathing and body movement
- Chronic Digestive Imbalance: Chronic constipation or diarrhea due to damaged intestinal villi (leaky gut) promotes lymph congestion.
- Stress: The waste products of stress-fighting hormones are acidic and an acidic body leads to lymph congestion.
- Chemical Exposures: When your body is exposed to harmful chemicals in skin and body care products, cleaning products, heavy metals, mold or pesticides, it may be unable to detoxify them
Best Ways to Get your Lymphatics Flowing
- Herbal Teas – There are herbal teas that step up lymphatic action such as red clover, astragalus, mullein, goldenseal, fenugreek, ginger, wild indigo root, sarsaparilla, golden seal and olive leaf tea. Try to incorporate one of these teas or a blend of several of these into your daily routine. Teas are most effective if you drink several cups over the course of the day.
- Heat Therapy – Far infrared saunas provide a stress-free method for detoxification. Their waves penetrate deep into the human body, elevating the body’s surface temperature, activating circulation, sweating and excretion of toxins from the lymph and blood through the skin.
- Movement – Whether on a rebounder, exercise ball or even a brisk walk you can get your lymph moving whichever way you desire. Walking is a weight-bearing activity that creates gravitational pulls on the lymphatic system each time you take a step. Bouncing on a ball or rebounder turbo charges lymph function. The gravitational pull caused by the bouncing causes the one-way lymphatic valves to open and close, moving the lymph.