This is a guest post from Michelle Schoffro Cook, DNM, DAc, CNC. It was originally published on this blog in June of 2009.
Do you suffer from cellulite or fatty deposits?
Do you experience aches and pains?
Are you overweight?
Do you experience abdominal bloating?
Do you feel bloated or have areas on your body that seem pudgy?
Have you been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, lupus, or other chronic immune system disorder?
Have you ever yo-yo dieted?
Do you experience eye puffiness?
Do you experience 2 or more cold or flu viruses yearly?
Have you experienced breast cancer?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, your lymphatic system may be sluggish.
This system is possibly the most neglected cleansing and healing system in the body, yet it is intensely powerful. It is a complex network of fluid-filled nodes, glands, and tubes that bathe our cells and carry the body’s “sewage” away from the tissues and neutralize it. It includes the spleen, tonsils, and thymus gland and plays an important role in boosting immunity, lessening pain and inflammation, and an overall sense of lightness and health.
A recent study found that 80 percent of women have sluggish lymphatic systems and that getting them flowing smoothly is the key to easy weight loss and improved feelings of well-being. Another study found that women with cellulite showed lymphatic system deficiencies. Here’s how you can get your lymph flowing smoothly:
1. Breathe deeply. The lymph system has 3 times more fluid than blood in the body, yet no heart-type organ to pump it. One of the main ways it moves is through breathing deeply. Breathe in that sweet smell of healing oxygen.
2. Get moving. Exercise also ensures the lymph system flows properly. The best kind is rebounding on a mini-trampoline, which can dramatically improve lymph flow, but stretching and aerobic exercise also works well.
3. Drink plenty of water. Without adequate water, lymph fluid cannot flow properly. To help ensure the water is readily absorbed by your cells, I frequently add some fresh lemon juice or Cellfood oxygen+nutrient drops to pure water.
4. Forget the soda, trash the color-laden sports-drink, and drop the sugary fruit “juices” that are more sugar than fruit. These sugar, color, and preservative-laden beverages add to the already overloaded work your lymph system must handle.
5. Eat more fruit on an empty stomach. The enzymes and acids in fruit are powerful lymph cleansers. Eat them on an empty stomach for best digestion and maximum lymph-cleansing benefits. Most fruits are digested within 30 minutes or so and are quick to start helping you feel better.
6. Eat plenty of green vegetables to get adequate chlorophyll to help purify your blood and lymph.
7. Eat raw, unsalted nuts and seeds to power up your lymph with adequate fatty acids. They include: walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, macadamias, Brazil nuts, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
8. Drink pure, unsweetened cranberry juice. Cranberries and cranberry juice emulsifies stubborn fat in the lymphatic system. Dilute it about 4:1 water to cranberry juice. Alternatively, if you prefer a sweeter juice, dilute one part cranberry juice with two parts unsweetened apple juice and two parts water.
9. Add a few lymph-boosting herbal teas to your day, such as astragalus, echinacea, goldenseal, pokeroot, or wild indigo root. Consult an herbalist or natural medicine specialist before combining two or more herbs or if you’re taking any medications or suffer from any serious health conditions. Avoid using herbs while pregnant or lactating and avoid long-term use of any herb without first consulting a qualified professional.
10. Dry skin brush before showering. Use a natural bristle brush. Brush your skin in circular motions upward from the feet to the torso and from the fingers to the chest. You want to work in the same direction as your lymph flows–toward the heart.
11. Alternate hot and cold showers for several minutes. The heat dilates the blood vessels and the cold causes them to contract. Avoid this type of therapy if you have a heart or blood pressure condition or if you are pregnant.
12. Get a gentle massage. Studies show that a gentle massage can push up to 78 percent of stagnant lymph back into circulation. Massage frees trapped toxins. You can also try a lymph drainage massage. It is a special form of massage that specifically targets lymph flow in the body. Whatever type of massage you choose, make sure it is gentle. Too much pressure may feel good on the muscles but it doesn’t have the same lymph stimulating effects.
Michelle Schoffro Cook, DNM, DAc, CNC is a best-selling and six-time book author and doctor of natural medicine, whose works include: The Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, and The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan. Learn more at: www.TheLifeForceDiet.com.