Posted on by Phyllis Keith

The lymphatic system (LS) is often called the
body’s unsung hero because it works hard to
keep us healthy, but most of us don’t know
much about it.

It wasn’t until my oncologist stressed the need
to take care of my LS to avoid lymphedema that
I began researching its importance. If someone
has lymphedema, their LS cannot sufficiently
drain the lymph fluid and swelling occurs, most
often in the arms and legs.

According to Dr. Gerald M. Lemole, author of
the book
Lymph & Longevity
(Scribner, 2021; not
available at Costco), the better your LS runs, the
better your body runs. The LS is the second line
of defense—after skin—against foreign invaders,
such as viruses and bacteria.

Josh Axe, a chiropractor and nutritionist,
explains that “the LS—which consists of nodes
and lymph vessels—is a significant part of your
immune system. Its main jobs include
defending against illnesses and infections and
helping the body eliminate waste and
abnormal cells.”

He adds that “the spleen and thymus are a part
of the LS,” as well as the tonsils and adenoids,
which “help trap pathogens before they can
cause infections.”

According to Axe, the LS:
● Removes harmful bacteria and pathogens from the body
● Produces immune cells
● Removes excess fluids from body tissues and reduces swelling/inflammation.

According to Lemole, the lymphatic system doesn’t have a central engine or pump like the heart,
which pumps blood throughout the circulatory system. Instead, the LS works through pressure,
meaning your lymph fluid primarily moves when you do. When you don’t move, it doesn’t move
much, either.

Increased circulation, including increased blood flow and the flow of lymph fluid, is critical for
removing waste from the body. So, get up and move every hour. Take a short walk around your
house or add some stretches while sitting at your desk.

Another tip: Stay hydrated, but avoid sugary drinks and excess alcohol. The body needs plenty of
water for blood flow and lymphatic drainage.

These simple changes can make a significant difference in your lymphatic system and your
overall health.

Go with the flow
Dr. Gerald M. Lemole, a board-certified cardiothoracic surgeon, offers the following suggestions to help increase lymph flow:
● Practice deep diaphragmatic breathing to help move lymphatic fluid.
● Various yoga pose movements help to move lymphatic fluid through the lymphatic system.
● A NASA study found that jumping on a mini-tampoline can move lymphatic fluid four times faster than walking.—DHE
ENOS, DEBORAH HERLAX. (2024, January). A good defense. Costco Connection, page 49.

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