Lymphatic Support Remedy
 

Your entire body is immersed in a fluid called lymph that travels through its own complex vessel system much like your vascular (blood vessel) system. Within our blood is plasma, which is the watery part containing the oxygen, proteins, glucose and white blood cells. This "leaks" out through the capillary walls holding the blood and flows around all the cells in your tissues. The pores in the capillaries are too small to let red blood cells through, which is why lymph fluid is clear rather than red.

If you look at the second photo, you can see that blood flows to an area through the red arteriole and then branches to the left into smaller capillaries (tiny blood vessels). Those capillaries merge and become lymphatic capillaries, which is where you see the red turn into blue. At this point of merging is where lymph fluid "leaks" into the tissues and delivers the nutrients needed. Lymph fluid can enter lymphatic vessels, which you see in yellow, and travel to all the local tissues to deliver nutrients. These lymph vessels also pick up waste and debris, which can re-enter the lymph capillaries (where blue merge with red vessels) and carry back to the arteriols (blue vessels on left) so the waste can be eliminated and blood can be restocked with nutrients.

The lymph capillaries and vessels pick up the lymph fluid and start pumping it away from the cells, but lymph vessels do not have an active pump like the heart. Instead, lymph vessels have one-way valves and muscle motion pumps the lymph. That's right, the only way lymph fluid can move around and tissues get what they need is by physical movement! Your heart and your lungs operate without you having to think about it, but the lymphatic system actually needs your help.

Lymph vessels have lymph nodes built into them. Lymph nodes filter the lymph and also contain large numbers of white blood cells (a big part of the immune system) which remove foreign cells and debris from the lymph. When you get certain infections, the lymph nodes swell with billions of white blood cells working to clear the foreign cells causing the infection. The filtered lymph then flows back into the blood stream at certain points. These lymph nodes commonly swell up and are detectable by touch when we have a sore throat. You can feel them under the chin as two tender lumps on your neck just below your jaw bone. There are several places in the body where lymph nodes are strategically located for immunological purposes. These include areas such as the neck, groin, axillae, mediastinum, and abdominal cavities because antigens, or foreign pathogens, are commonly encountered in these places. We are the most familiar with the lymph nodes located in our neck area.

In addition to moving waste, excess proteins and water out of surrounding tissues, the lymph also absorbs and transports fatty acids and fats as chyle from the digestive system, transports white blood cells to and from the lymph nodes into the bones, and transports antigen-presenting cells (APCs), such as dendritic cells, to the lymph nodes where an immune response is stimulated. It can also be the transport method for cancer cells that spread from one location to another, called metastasis.

Fun Facts

  • You have just as many lymph vessels as you have blood vessels and capillaries.
  • As much as 80% of those fatty dimples you call cellulite are caused by stagnated lymph fluid, not fat.
  • Human lymph nodes are bean-shaped and range in size from a few millimeters to about 1-2 cm in their normal state.

Health Conditions

  • Lymphadenopathy is an increase in the size of a lymph node or nodes. The most common reason is the result of a nearby infection (for example, lymphadenopathy in the neck might be the result of an infection of the throat). Less commonly (particularly in children), swelling of the lymph nodes can be due to an infiltration of cancerous cells. If lymphadenopathy is generalized (meaning that the swelling is present in several lymph node groups throughout the body), it usually indicates that the person has a systemic disease.
  • Lymphadenitis, also known as adenitis, is an inflammation (swelling, tenderness, and sometimes redness and warmth of the overlying skin) of the lymph node due to an infection of the tissue in the node itself. In children, this condition most commonly involves the lymph nodes of the neck.
  • Tonsillitis occurs when the tonsils, the collections of lymphoid tissue in the back of the mouth at the top of the throat, are involved in a bacterial or viral infection that causes them to become swollen and inflamed.
  • Lymphomas are a group of cancers that arise from the lymph nodes. These diseases result when lymphocytes undergo changes and start to multiply out of control. The involved lymph nodes enlarge and the cancer cells crowd out healthy cells. They can also form tumors (solid growths) in other parts of the body.
  • Hodgkin's disease causes the cells in the lymphatic system to abnormally reproduce, eventually making the body less able to fight infection. Hodgkin's diseases cells can also spread to other organs.

Suggestions To Strengthen

  • Consistent physical movement - exercise is essential for health of the lymphatic system. If you cannot exercise, regular massage should be considered with specialized lymph drainage massage being the most effective.
  • Jumping on mini trampolines initiates some of the most effective lymphatic drainage.
  • Make sure you are addressing any low grade infections that might keep the lymph nodes overworked.
  • Plenty of water ensures there is enough fluid in the body to have a healthy blood/lymphatic exchange.
  • Hydrotherapy, the exchange of hot and cold water on the body, or on the area of need forces blood and circulation to an area and helps the lymphatic system drain.
  • Emotionally, confront any feelings of obsession you might have. Obsessed with how you look, making money, jealousy, any emotion that may be to the point of obsession will congest the lymphatic system.



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