I have been struggling to write this blog post, mostly since I haven’t fully healed my Lymphatics. I have come to the realization that, like most things in life, this is a process. It is not going to be an overnight quick fix. We are constantly working to heal and be the best versions of ourselves. I am jumping into this post to: one, tell you what the lymphatic system is, does, and why it is so important, and two, my story of how I found out I need to heal my lymphatic system and what steps I have taken to do so.
To keep this simple and to the point, I am going to give a bit of an overview of the lymphatic system and not go into a lot of detail. I will link a few sites that do go into more detail if you would like to research this topic.
The lymphatic system is a very important part of the immune system, fat and fat soluble nutrient absorption, and keeps fluid balance between blood and tissues. The lymphatic system is important for several reasons, this system drains excess fluid and proteins from tissues that cannot be returned to the blood vessels, without the lymphatic system draining excess fluid, our tissues would swell, blood volume would be lost, and pressure would increase. The absorption of fats and fat-soluble nutrients are done so in the small intestines through the villi to the lymphatic system to take nutrients to the blood circulation, therefore gut health is so crucial to our immune system. The lymphatic system is our defense system for infections, we are constantly exposed to micro-organisms that are harmful to us and without this system enabling the immune system we would not be able to fight the invaders off, this could be as harmful as death. The lymphatic vessels move lymph fluid, which contains white blood cells to fight infections, all throughout the body and moves towards the heart. This system gets rid of toxins and waste that could harm the body. The lymph nodes become swollen in response to infections, lymph fluid build-up, bacteria, and immune system cells. This is a great read for more insights into the lymphatic system. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/303087.php
When I was a kid I would occasionally notice a node swollen at the base of my head, top of neck area on my left side. I never knew what it was, it was painful and sometimes scary when even my mom wasn’t sure what it was. It would normally go away in a day or two and we would forget about it for a while. About 3 years ago I started to notice it again, being an adult now I was worried more than ever. I researched and since it was accompanied by sore ears I went to the doctor and was told it was a lymph node, given antibiotics and sent about my way. Little did I know the antibiotics were doing more harm than good. I was in the doctor the next month with yet another ear infection. Summer of 2018 I knew I had to make a change. I was experiencing the swollen lymph node all the time, like every day nonstop pain and headaches had accompanied it along with gut issues. Over the many years of doctors just prescribing me antibiotics every time I got sick, I had destroyed my gut health, caused my lymphatic system to be blocked with toxins, and I was sick all the time.
I went to my first ever Naturopathic Doctor, who knew right away things I would need to start doing to help me heal, that didn’t involve antibiotics or medicines. I was going to heal naturally! I first started with my gut health, as I have discussed in my previous blog, I eliminated gluten, sugars, processed foods, and dairy. As well as a good probiotic and liquid multivitamin. Along with this I was give things to do daily to stimulate the lymphatic system, so it would begin draining properly. Some things I did, and still do, include dry brushing, lymphatic massage, and rebounding (which is moving the feet up and down to stimulate the lymphatics in the ankles, jumping on a mini trampoline is great for this, though I do not have one, I began walking more and moving my feet more if I was sitting down). I have not been perfect at this, getting into a routine is the best way to remember to do things like this, I just haven’t been able to do so like I want. I am getting there though! My last visit to my Naturopath was very interesting and helpful! She noticed my node was still extremely swollen. She did this flexibility test to see if my neck had full range of motion, it did not. After explaining this for like a second, she pulled out this massage gun thing. I didn’t see it until after the massage. Basically, what it does is hammers the muscles around where it is tight until the muscle loosens, only then will the hammering stop. Extremely painful. This was the what really did it for me though! After I left the visit, I could almost instantly feel the node being drained! The weirdest thing ever, but it was such a relief. I was a little sick the rest of the night since this did release some toxins, but it was very mild and well worth it! I have felt the node occasionally be swollen, but it is ten times better than what it was at the beginning of the summer. It is crazy what our bodies are capable of, and what we do to our bodies that harm them every day. Like the tight muscles in my neck, all the hard work I was putting into getting these nodes to drain wasn’t doing any good because I was neglecting self-care of relaxing my muscles and getting a proper massage done. After that massage I have tried to practice more of the lymphatic stimulating routines and I have saw such great improvement. This is all a process, not a destination but a lifestyle to adopt every day.