Everyone knows that the circulatory system has a very famous, much loved central component called the heart. The heart works non-stop 24/7 for an entire lifetime circulating blood. 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 the circulation depends largely on movement.
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. There are four excellent and simple methods to get the lymphatic fluid moving and each one will help to get the nutrients in and the waste products out.
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 also 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 also 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 upward. This can even be done without a rebounder just by bouncing on the toes.
Massage and movement
Lymphatic drainage is a technical skill taught by a therapist, however a gentle massage can be self administered with good effects. Lymphatic massage is gentle using very little pressure to move and stretch the skin to stimulate flow through the lymphatic capillaries that are located just under the skin. 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.
“No drug exists that has the ability to improve lymphatic flow; however, the job can easily be handled through the topical application of Castor oil,” said Dr David G. Williams. For lymphatic stimulation, a good place to put a Castor oil pack would be the lower abdomen and/or the liver. For a Castor oil pack use a cotton or wool flannel cloth folded in several layers and a good quality, cold-pressed oil. Saturate the cloth in oil and apply it to the skin. Put plastic over the pack to keep the oil from dripping, then wrap an old towel around the pack for more protection. A hot water bottle placed over the pack will increase the effectiveness of the treatment. It can be left in place as long as all night. Because of the antimicrobial properties of the oil. the same pack can be used over again many times before discarding.
Sources for this article include
The Golden Seven Plus Oneby C. Samuel West, D.N., N.D. January 1983, Samuel Publishing
Dr David G Williams complementary Newsletter v6 n1, July 1995
About the author:
Marsha Anderson practices organic gardening, plant based nutrition, and healthy living in sunny San Diego, California.