The lymphatic system is a hidden powerhouse in the body’s self-regulating activity. It has multiple roles, but its primary job is as the body’s sanitation engineer.
Arterial blood leaves the heart loaded with oxygen. Once that oxygen is delivered to the cells, 90% of that fluid returns to the circulation as venous blood. The venous system returns blood to the heart where it’s re-charged with oxygen. The remaining 10% is a clear, pale yellow-ish fluid known as lymph.
One of the lymphatic fluid’s jobs is to absorb fats and fat-soluble vitamins from your digestive system! It carries these nutrients to the cells where they can be used as energy reserves and in tasks like cell wall repair.
Lymphatic fluid removes waste products that have accumulated in the spaces between cells, like debris from dead cells. Lymph nodes are packed with white blood cells that attack toxins and pathogens; they act as filters or traps for these foreign particles.
So the lymphatic system is a vital part of your immune system. Swollen lymph nodes are most typically an indication that the body is fighting off an infection. These are often found in the neck, but can also occur in the armpits and groin. You may need some short term support for your immune system as a whole; I’ve had good success with supplementation for my patients. If swollen lymph nodes persist, you should see your healthcare practitioner.
Help promote healthy lymphatic drainage by brushing your skin! You can do this in the shower, using a washcloth or a soft bristled brush. Start at the fingertips, and brush towards the heart. Use a gentle, firm stroke. Brush down from the head and neck on both the front and back of your body. Then from your toes up the legs, over the belly and buttocks, again towards the heart.
It feels great, it’s good for your skin, and it helps your body do its job!