The lymphatic system is a network of nodes and tubes in the body that fight infection, drain away cellular waste, and maintain fluid levels. A healthy system with functioning nodes filters and breaks down germs, toxins, and debris, which are carried away from the tissues by the lymphatic tubes and drained into the bloodstream once “cleaned.”

Unfortunately, this vital system often doesn’t work optimally in many individuals because of lifestyle and nutrition habits.

Under-functioning Lymph

One-third of the body’s lymph nodes are around the face, neck, and jaw area, so the first signs of an under-functioning lymphatic system can be skin issues such as acne, clogged pores, eczema, puffy eyes, and a dull-looking complexion. Some people can have additional signs, such as swollen lymph nodes, hands, or feet, frequent headaches, weight gain, brain fog, and fatigue.

Before starting a lymph cleanse, it is always a good idea to check with your health care practitioner if you notice any of these symptoms to rule out anything more serious.

8 Tips to Improve Lymphatic Drainage:

  1. Stay hydrated – Water is essential for the lymphatic system to flush out. Making sure to stay well hydrated is excellent support for drainage.
  2. Live and eat clean – The fewer toxins your body has to cope with, such as pesticides, additives, and chemicals, the less the lymphatic system will have to filter out. Other toxins include cleaning products, antiperspirants, and cosmetics. Choose organic, non-toxic makeup and cleaning products.
  3. Move – Exercise is one of the most significant ways to stimulate lymphatic drainage, so plan on moving your body for at least 30 minutes per day, five days per week. Find a walking buddy at work and take a walk during one of your daily breaks.
  4. Lymph-supporting foods – Include in your diet dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, chard, and beet greens; cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts; berries; garlic; nuts; and seeds.
  5. Supplements and herbs – Vitamin supplements A and C and algae-based spirulina or chlorella powders help detox and flush to keep the lymph healthy. Herbal teas made with calendula, echinacea, goldenseal, cilantro, and parsley can benefit the lymphatic system. Consult with a health care practitioner because herbs are natural but powerful and can interact with other medications or health conditions.
  6. Hot and cold therapy – Alternating hot and cold water, or a cold plunge with a steam or sauna, works to dilate and constrict blood vessels, creating a “pumping” action to help drain the lymphatic system.
  7. Dry brushing – Brushing the skin gently with a natural bristle brush stimulates the lymph to promote drainage and can be done before a shower for best results. Always brush toward the heart.
  8. Avoid tight-fitting clothes – Tight clothes can restrict lymphatic drainage and promote blockages. This is especially seen with tight underwire bras or waistbands. Choose comfortable, loose-fitting clothes to allow for unrestricted drainage.