Ever felt your neck when you’ve got a cold…
To see if your lymph nodes were swollen?
That’s the only thing I knew about the lymphatic system growing up. Useful for diagnostic purposes, I guess, but not real exciting.
But what if I told you that your lymphatic system was the key to combating acne, cellulite, water retention, aches and pains, fatigue, frequent colds … even maybe cancer?
Suddenly, it gets a whole lot more exciting!
We’re used to the idea that we have to do certain things to support our heart health, or brain function, or digestion.
But not many of us do anything to support our lymphatic system.
What does the lymphatic system even do, anyway? Why does it need supporting? Surely we’ve got enough body parts to worry about already!
Your lymphatic system matters because it’s on the front line of disease-prevention.
When your body encounters bacteria or toxins, it moves them into the lymph fluid, which carries those baddies to your lymph nodes where they’re destroyed.
It’s your own personal detox system, basically.
No wonder lymph nodes—concentrated in the neck, groin, and armpits—swell when there’s an infection or illness. They’re working hard to get rid of the stuff that’s making you sick.
Even better, the lymphatic system protects you from cancer by shooting down mutated cells before they can spread.
But when the lymphatic system gets stressed, congested or clogged, it can’t get rid of the baddies fast enough. Lymph fluid can back up, causing swelling.
You want to get that fluid moving again. You want to help it drain so your lymphatic system can keep on clearing the stuff that might otherwise make you sick.
So how can you best support this amazing system?
Start with the obvious. Hydrate, eat healthy, exercise, breathe deeply, and sweat. All things you should be doing anyway to take care of yourself.
But if you want to really supercharge your lymphatic system, here are 3 additional boosters you can incorporate into your daily routine.
1. Jiggle and jump
My daughter loves jumping. So we got her a small trampoline, called a rebounder, so she could burn off energy even when stuck at home.
Everyone who came to our house immediately noticed the trampoline in the living room. To my surprise, I began hearing stories about a grandmother who jumped on her rebounder for 10 minutes every morning, or a friend who was using a rebounder to manage her health condition, or a parent who’d bought one to help with her child’s ADHD.
Jumping is amazingly beneficial. NASA even found that it works better than treadmill running.  It helps boost lymphocyte activity (lymphocytes are the white blood cells produced by the lymphatic system). It’s great for circulation, digestion, muscle tone, and your bones.
So start jumping!
You don’t even need a rebounder to do it. A jump rope will do just fine.
I also love vibration plates, those machines you sometimes see in gyms where you stand on a vibrating plate and do various poses. Regardless of whether they help you lose weight or not, they’re superb for boosting lymphatic drainage.
2. Dry brushing
Dry brushing is one of those morning rituals that will earn its place in your daily routine, along with lemon water.
Simply get a stiff bristle brush and leave it somewhere in your bathroom where you’ll see it. (Otherwise, if you store it out of sight, you may forget to use it!)
Before you step into the shower, grab your brush and do a quick full-body brush, starting from your feet and working upwards.
Use light strokes—you don’t want to turn your skin red—and always brush towards the heart. Avoid any areas where your skin is sensitive, particularly the face.
It can take as little as 2 minutes, and the benefits will stay with you all day.
Not only does dry brushing stimulate lymphatic drainage, but it also exfoliates, boosts circulation, and may even break down cellulite.
Massages are also wonderful for getting that fluid moving again.
If you’re experiencing a condition called lymphedema, which occurs when fluid builds up post-surgery, then there’s a specific form of massage called lymphatic drainage massage that can help. This massage technique can also help reduce scarring and promote healing. However, make sure to get your doctor’s approval first.
In general, any form of massage helps with circulation, whether you see a professional or massage yourself.
So if you want vibrant health, great skin, and a body that looks and feels its best, remember your lymphatic system.
It may not be as cool or popular as other parts of the body, but it deserves a helping hand.