Because of all the environmental toxins we’re exposed to—nearly 82,000 per week—our lymphatic systems often need a little boost.
And sometimes after surgery, damage to your lymph nodes can cause lymphedema. Here are 7 ways to improve your lymphatic system and boost your immunity. If you’re interested in learning more about how your body works, Dr. Axe provides a very detailed article of our lymphatic system.
1. Dry Brushing
"You take the dry brush and, starting at your feet and working up, sweep it all over your body in light, firm strokes, always brushing toward your heart. It's fantastic for circulation and it helps smooth cellulite. I do it every night before I get in the bath.” – Gwyneth Paltrow
Dry brushing is an Ayurvedic technique that has been used for centuries. Proponents like Gwenyth Paltrow say it exfoliates the skin and helps remove cellulite. According to Dr. Shilpi Khetarpal, MD. at the Cleveland Clinic, dry brushing is great for:
Improving lymphatic flow and drainage
Increasing blood circulation
Detoxifying your skin
Colette Dong, co-founder of a trampoline-cardio studio called The Ness, told Vogue that rebounding or jumping on a small trampoline “does wonders for weight loss,[but] the benefits you can’t see are the most valuable.”
Rebounding improves balance and coordination and stimulates the lymphatic system, which helps flush out toxins and fight disease.
“It enhances motor skills and provides a mental release and can help relieve symptoms of anxiety,” she said. You can buy a small rebounder on Amazon, but do your homework. Some rebounders need to be assembled, or get a big trampoline for the entire family like I did.
“Rebounding does wonders for weight loss, [but] the benefits you can’t see are the most valuable. It enhances motor skills and provides a mental release and can help relieve symptoms of anxiety.”– Colette Dong, co-owner of The Ness.
3. Infared Sauna
My far infrared sauna is still one of my favorite purchases six years after I was diagnosed with cancer. Not only does it allow me to sweat more (which is important for someone like me with the MTHFR mutation), but it helps me sleep better, has lowered my heavy metal toxicities, and is just a great way to detox and relax, not to mention it offers some of the benefits of heavy exercise and clears up your skin to give you a healthy glow. This article by Oriental Remedies Group says it has the following benefits:
Improved circulation and skin complexion
Strengthened cardiovascular system
I chose Heavenly Heat Infared Saunas because their cedar woods are very clean and nontoxic (You want to make sure you don't buy a brand that uses a type of wood containing terpenes, which can harm the human nervous system.) Cedar and Aspen grown at high altitudes are supposed to be the best.
4. Wim Hoff Method
I do a watered-down version of the Wim Hoff Method by jumping back and forth from my pool to my jacuzzi from cold to hot. If you do that four or five times, at minimum, you feel invigorated and your body gets used to the cold, which feels like a big boost to your immune system. The Wim Hoff Method also includes breathwork that my psychiatrist recommends for regulating emotions, increasing stamina, improving your sex drive, and getting a natural high.
Research shows that hot-cold therapy is good for improving lymphatic flow. You can try this with hot and cold showers, too. Just try to switch back and forth from cold to hot at least three or more times. The more, the better.
5. Myofascial Release
Myofascial release (MFR) and other massages are excellent for your lymphatic system. According to the Cleveland Clinic MFR:
Improves range of motion
Assists the tissue recovery process
Helps the body relax
Releases tension, knots, and stress
You can find a MFR therapist at the John F. Barnes Myofascial Release Therapist Directory, or if you're on a strict budget, you can also buy a foam roller or an MFR tool like this one on Amazon and do MFR releases on yourself.
Dancing, jumping, sweating, jogging—all help boost lymphatic drainage. I was more fatigued than usual while I was doing chemo and radiation, so I kept my exercise routine fun and light with moderate dancing, swimming, walking, aerial yoga, and jumping on my daughter’s trampoline.
7. Drinking Water
Drinking room-temperature or hot water (or herbal tea) stimulates the lymph system and prevents dehydration, which can clog your lymphatic flow and lower your immune system. Branch Basics recommends drinking hot water every 15 minutes to keep your body healthy and hydrated.