The foundation of all good health lies within the function and operation of an individual’s lymphatic system. Those pesky nodes, when stressed out, will swell in your neck, especially behind the ear, and will make it impossible to swallow.

The lymphatic system, according to the Lymphatic System Anatomy Workbook, is a series of vessels, structures and organs that collect fluid throughout the body and return it to the main circulation for distribution. The lymphocytes function in the immune process; the fluid draining through the lymphatic system is lymph. The clusters of lymph nodes, almost like a bunch of grapes, are located throughout the lymphatic vessels.

These nodes provide a filtration system for the body. They contain the all-important T-cells that eventually will fight for your life. It’s a well-known fact that a highly functioning lymphatic system can handle even the toughest invaders in your body–cancer!

It is important to remember that the immune system is your main defense for healing and long-term immunity to diseases. The immune process and your entire body’s defense mechanism is located in the lymphatic system, a system we hardly pay attention to until it’s in a state of trauma or stops functioning properly.

When bacteria, viruses, foreign chemicals and environmental pollutants will enter the body, the lymphocytes–the body’s little soldiers–begin preparing for war. But this type of war doesn’t depend upon large defense spending. It is a natural part of our everyday internal healthcare–the physician within. When these soldiers are activated they secrete large quantities of antibodies. These antibodies move into the sites of the virus or bacteria or even cancer cells and begin to engulf and destroy the disease or abnormal cells.

It doesn’t take much to understand who runs the show in our human biological house. The lymphatic system is a sure bet. It is the only thing that really lets us function and live a normal life in a germ-infested world.

The body houses hundreds and hundreds of lymph nodes, which are located everywhere imaginable. If we are to keep our lymphatic system functioning, we must be aware of their locations:

Head and neck: Under jaw, behind the ears, back of neck, base of skull, around the eyes, side of the cheek and the floor of the mouth.

Chest: Shoulder area, under armpits, breast or the mammary glands, clavicle or collar bone area, along the upper arm extending into the elbow and all along the sternum.

Stomach: Nodes sit on the stomach, the colon and all major organs like liver and kidneys.

Lower body: Groin area, pelvic girdle and all through the inner thighs. They even go along the spine in many areas.

The lymphatic system functions only as well as it is kept in good working order. Surprisingly, the lymphs are easy to care for, especially if you become aware of how they function.

Exercise is a key factor:

  • Walking, biking or any cardiovascular work. Both the cardiovascular and the respiratory system are tied into the lymphatic system.
  • Get a mini trampoline and jump on it for five to 10 minutes daily. Great for pumping leg lymphs.
  • Sit-ups and push-ups.

Self-help techniques:

  • Constantly do self massage–your jawbone, under your eyes, behind your ears, squeeze the muscles under your armpit and along side of your neck.
  • If a node is swollen or hard to touch, work around the area not on it.
  • Skin brush. It is good to use a dry vegetable brush daily on your entire body, stroking toward the heart.
  • Meditate. Stress suppresses immune function.

Bodywork:

  • Lymphatic massage manually drains the lymphs and helps promote positive movement.
  • Lymphodema, especially after surgery, should be attended to immediately through bodywork.
  • Polarity lymphatic balance uses key acupressure points to help the body move fluids and create a good energy flow.
  • Foot reflexology will stimulate certain lymphatic reflexes.

Personal cleansing:

  • Fast regularly–drink green juices or fresh carrot juice which flush the lymphs.
  • Do a colon cleanse. Work with a holistic health practitioner to set up a system to help cleanse your digestive system.
  • Sweat. Soaking in hot tubs helps release fluids in lymphs.
  • Eat good fats–avocados, olive oil, almond oil.
  • Drink water every hour on the hour.

Specific herbs for immunity:

  • Echinacea, golden seal, garlic for surface immunity
  • Ginseng, liquorices, astragaluses for deep immunity

The healthcare of the lymphatic system is truly the heart of it all. I remember a yoga teacher once saying, “You have everything you need to do what you want, you have everything you want to do what you need.”

It’s simple: Your best defense is a progressive offense.