I had another request: info on the lymphatic system, and how to insure that we keep this aspect of our bodies healthy, especially detoxification during cold and flu season.
First: an extremely short explanation follows that shows us just how important this little known system of our body is to our overall health:
The lymphatic system has multiple interrelated functions:
it is responsible for the removal of interstitial fluid from tissues
it absorbs and transports fatty acids and fats as chyle from the digestive system
it transports white blood cells to and from the lymph nodes into the bones
The lymph transports antigen-presenting cells (APCs), such as dendritic cells, to the lymph nodes where an immune response is stimulated.
The blood brings nutrition and oxygen to the cells and the lymph removes the waste, debris, and disease components such as viruses. The cells are bathed in lymphatic fluid. Fluid retention in the tissues suffocates the cells so that the nutrients can’t get in and garbage accumulates.
The lymphatic system is a specialized component of the circulatory system that doesn’t have the advantage of a central pump. The flow inside the lymphatic vessels is unidirectional because of one-way valves that keep the lymph from traveling backwards but thecirculation of the lymph depends largely on movement.
How can we assist our lymphatic system:
Deep diaphragmatic breathing is possibly the best way of circulating the lymph. Breath in slowly and deeply pushing the belly out and then let the breath go slowly and completely. The dramatic pressure variance with the lung expansion and contraction moves the lymph and helps to open the ducts to allow the lymph to reenter the bloodstream at the subclavian veins at the base of the neck. Deep, slow diaphragmatic breathing for 10 minutes a day will oxygenate the blood and circulate the lymph.
A Rebounder, also known as a mini-trampoline, is a great way to exercise. A simple, gentle walk in place without even lifting the feet off of the trampoline will suffice to circulate the lymph. At the top of the bounce the body experiences a moment free of gravity and at that time all of the one-way valves in the lymphatic vessels open to allow the fluid to move up. This can even be done without a rebounder just by bouncing on the toes. Also, be sure to swing your arms, as this also helps act as a pump.
Specialized massage by a trained massage therapist is a great way to work with the lymphatic system; however, we can do this at home as well. Massage the skin in the direction of the heart. Any kind of movement such as walking will circulate the lymph because of the muscle contractions. Even laughter works well to get the fluid in motion. Iris Herbal has a couple of massage oils that greatly assist this process. If you goHEREyou’ll find more info on these lymphatic massage oils.
There are several herbs that assist the body in keeping the lymphatic system healthy. If you have been sick, a tea or tincture of either Red Root or Red Clover Blossoms will be helpful. Adding a little Calendula Flowers to your herb tea is also a good tonic.
PS…every once in a while, no matter what one does, WordPress does what IT wants and not what I want in regards to layout…sigh.