11 Ways To Support Your Lymphatic System

Your guide to your lymphatic system, how it works, signs it may be under distress, and how to support lymph flow.

As someone who used to have sludge instead of lymph fluid, this topic is near and dear to my heart! It took years of visiting various docs and alternative health practitioners before someone mentioned lymph flow to me, and I’m so very glad that I dug in and figured this out. I had done a lot deep detox work for my digestive system, but I plateaued in reclaiming my health until I really prioritized the lymphatic system. I went from being puffy, in pain, stiff, sluggish, foggy, and overweight to feeling lighter, clearer, and more like myself again. I hope these tips help you too!

lymphatic system diagram

What does your lymphatic system do for you?

In a nutshell, your lymphatic system is your waste removal system + immune system architecture. It includes a vast network of 500-600 itty bitty lymph nodes, as well as tissues, organs and glands including your spleen, thymus, tonsils.

While often overlooked, your lymphatic system is a crucial component to your overall health and vitality, and it's deeply interconnected with your circulatory and digestive systems.

Your blood and lymph complement each other - think about your circulatory system like the faucets in the house, and your lymphatic system like the drains. You can’t have one without the other, and both need to function well to avoid big messy problems.

Once plasma has been delivered via your circulatory system, your lymph fluid filters out and regulates waste, bacteria, and viruses throughout your entire body.

The lymphatic system also aids in digestion and absorption of our nutrients, namely our fats. It also talks to our fat cells! [1] It can affect and be affected by a gut microbiome out of balance, as well as stagnant digestion. It’s easily taxed by our modern sedentary lifestyle, and our now ubiquitous exposure to toxins.

Toxins (heavy metals, pesticides, cleaning chemicals, etc) create additional work for the lymphatic system to process and flush out, and they also disrupt your digestion by piercing your gut lining and slowing down bile flow, which further backs up your lymph.

See the problem? Toxins are not just inflammatory agents that damage whatever cells they touch, they interrupt our various systems' ability to self-regulate, repair, and thrive.

Remember our three essential pillars of detox: 

  1. Nourish - replenish missing nutrients, so that your body has the building blocks to heal itself
  2. Release - reopen detox pathways to excavate your backlog of toxins. Lymph flow is crucial here.
  3. Flow - support ongoing vitality by continuing to nourish and release with a maintenance plan. Oh hey - lymph flow is essential here too.

Lymph flow: a moving stream runs clean.

Because your lymphatic system has no automatic pump mechanism to move your lymph, it requires mechanical stimulation to function. [2]

Translation - you gotta move your body for your lymph to flow, or you’re gonna have problems.

Lymphatic fluid is made up of white blood cells (especially lymphocytes), and fluid from your intestines called chyle [3]. Healthy lymph is a clear, watery fluid. Stagnant, dysregulated lymph can thicken to the consistency of cottage cheese. No bueno.

Slow-moving lymph can contribute to congestion, inflammation, infections, bacteria overgrowth, and dysregulation of various health systems in the body. Fast-moving lymph efficiently disposes of waste and performs crucial immune functions that protect long term health.

Signs of Lymphatic System Distress:

  • Fatigue
  • Bloating
  • Water retention
  • Stiffness, especially in the morning
  • Brain fog
  • Itchy and dry skin
  • Cellulite
  • Stubborn weight gain
  • Night sweats
  • Chronic sinusitis, colds, ear issues, frequent infections
  • Sore throats, tonsillitis
  • Breast swelling with the menstrual cycle
  • Swollen lymph nodes (most common in the groin, armpit, and neck)
  • Cold hands and feet 

How to Support Lymph Flow

Find a few things from this list that you can fold into your day to increase your resilience and support your health goals. Your body will thank you!

Crucial daily lymph support tips:

  • Hydrate with pure water! Most water (tap, “filtered,” bottled) still contains toxins such as fluoride, microplastics, pesticide and herbicide residue, and antibiotic waste. While you may feel virtuous drinking water, if it’s not pure, you’re putting pressure on your lymphatic system with additional toxins. Drink and cook with distilled or spring water.
  • Relieve stress on your digestive tract by getting your bile moving, and cleaning out the colon. It’s impossible to separate out lymph flow from digestive health, so everything you do to love up your gut is helping to support your lymphatic system. It’s estimated that your liver produces around 25-50% of your lymphatic fluid, so if your liver is stagnant, your lymph is going to be affected. [4].
  • Rebound 10 minutes a day minimum. “Rebounding” is the adult word for jumping on a mini trampoline. This is my favorite! A lower impact way to get similar benefits would be to use a vibrating plate. To get the same benefits with no equipment, do a lotta jumping jacks or dance like no one's watching. Really go for it!
  • Hustle “power” walk. Move fast enough to feel a little ridiculous, swing your arms, get out of breath. 
  • Use a supplement like Lymphatic Support to jumpstart your progress. A phenomenal, well-rounded product to support lymph flow and lymphatic system clean up. When your lymph is already backed up, the right supplements can really help turn things around!

Additional lymph tips:

  • Avoid chemicals whenever you can. Sounds obvious, but we’ve normalized chemical exposure in every area of modern life. Take a fresh look at the products you’re using and reduce your exposure to synthetic, toxic ingredients wherever you can. Simplicity wins. 
  • Wear loose clothing. A little constriction on the surface can add to your lymph stagnation, so be kind to your bod and let loose! Minimize time in constricting underwire bras (try to give yourself 12 hours a day without constriction.)
  • Use hot and cold water showers. By alternating between hot and cold water, you encourage your blood vessels to dilate and then contract. This stimulates the movement of your circulation, which in turn stimulates lymphatic flow. Start with 30 seconds of luke warm water, then move to hot. You can work your way to colder temps as you get used to the practice!
  • Break up scar tissue to keep fascia fluid moving. Small areas of scar tissue are surprisingly effective at slowing down lymph. Massage Hydroxygen into your scars to encourage cellular turnover and regeneration (it works wonders on injuries old and new). You can also use organic wheat germ oil and make some progress.
  • Start dry brushing. Use a natural bristle brush like this one to gently brush up from your feet and hands towards your heart, for 5 minutes before hopping in the shower. Use light strokes!
  • Try gua sha - more targeted than dry brushing, this ancient practice from traditional Chinese medicine really supports lymph flow. Highly recommend! Here’s our favorite gua sha set.

Feeling overwhelmed? Prioritize these 3 tips for a simple start that still maximizes lymph support:

  • Hydrate
  • Move 10-30 minutes a day (fast walking, dancing, jumping)
  • Take Lymphatic Support

Ready to make major progress?

Get your lymph flowing, and your stream running clean by picking up our Lymph Flow Kit. It includes:

  • Lymphatic Support
  • Manjistha Supreme
  • Red Root
  • Dry Brush
  • Easy checklist of lymph-boosting steps to follow
Supporting your lymph comes down to the decisions you make on the daily. Start small if you need to, and build on your momentum! We could all use more lymph support. 

The best thing about supporting your lymphatic system? You can notice the results fairly quickly. 

If you commit to these steps, you may soon be feeling less puffy, less sluggish, more energized, less foggy, more clear headed, less sensitive, with  happier skin. So worth it.

With all our love, 

Sinclair and Michael

 

PS - Follow us on Instagram for easy and inspiring detox tips. We know it’s a long learning curve, and we’re here to support you!

References:

(1) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28844882/

(2) Moore Jr, James E., and Christopher D. Bertram. “Lymphatic system flows.” Annual review of fluid mechanics 50 (2018): 459-482.

(3) https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002247.ht

(4) Chung, Chuhan, and Yasuko Iwakiri. “The lymphatic vascular system in liver diseases: its role in ascites formation.” Clinical and molecular hepatology 19.2 (2013): 99.