Undigested food, infectious material, dead cells, toxins, and other debris have to be carried off by the lymphatic system. Thickened and sluggish lymph results in swelling and discomfort. Stimulation of the lymphatic system helps to clear out these materials and thus promote better health.
Very few people understand the humble working of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system consists essentially of one-way channels into which excess fluids, called lymph, are absorbed. This fluid consists of waste materials and some white blood cells. It is not under pressure and only moves because of exercise or muscle contraction. Lymph moves towards the heart where it empties into veins. The two largest areas of lymph collection are just below the clavicles, areas that are often swollen or tender due to congestion in the lymphatic system. The left side carries more fluid than the right, explaining why so many people experience worse swelling on the left side.
Lymphatic congestion or stagnation is a serious problem for many cancer patients. Many patients suffered from congestion or conditions such as mastitis before developing cancer.
The lymphatic system benefits from alkalization of the diet and improved digestion. Dietary improvement and lymphatic stimulation – massage and exercise – combined with herbs that aid lymphatic purification support the lymphatic system's ability to carry off debris.
The use of a small trampoline called a rebounder is a popular way to reduce lymphatic congestion. It is claimed that rebounding is so efficient in stimulating the lymph flow that some call it "Lymphasizing". The up-and-down rhythmic bouncing causes the one-way valves to open and close simultaneously increasing lymph flow many times over. Rebounding is a safe, gentle, low impact form of exercise that can burn more calories than jogging. Trampoline bouncing also can strengthen your heart, improve your circulation, help slow the effects of aging, revitalize vision, reduce stress, and benefit children with learning disabilities and cystic fibrosis. Rebounding offers an exercise that can be adjusted to your fitness level, is easy on your joints and back, and can be done in your home at your convenience.
Massage has been shown in numerous studies to relieve stress, improve circulation and lymph flow, enhance immune function, relieve muscle and joint pain, and correct various disorders of the muscles and nerves. Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is an advanced therapy in which the practitioner uses a range of specialized and rhythmic gentle pumping techniques to move the skin in the direction of the lymph flow. This promotes lymph flow, which in turn removes waste products. Lymphatic Drainage is a key to maximizing your ability to rejuvenate and to establish resistance to stress and disease. Some massage therapists offer this specialized form of massage.
Chronic dehydration can slow and stagnate the flow of lymph. This is just another reason to make a serious effort to drink 8 glasses of water a day. "Eight cups a day" can do more than the "apple" to "keep the doctor away".
There are homeopathic drainage products and programs designed to resolve lymph related problems and various light/laser or electrical devices developed to reduce lymphostatic edema, often used with lymphatic massage.
As a general rule, there will be only minimal improvement in places such as the axilla or groin until the thoracic duct is freed of stagnation.
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