Our Lymphatic Health

Our lymphatic system is an integral part of our immune and circulatory system. It is our natural filtration and flows through our whole body. Particles such as excess protein, damaged blood cells, bacteria, and viruses are all filtered through the lymphatic system. It is designed to protect and cleanse our body, making it very important that we strengthen and care for it.

This system is one of the few without a pump, meaning it needs to be manually stimulated. Through exercise and/or self massage, we can assist our bodies natural detoxification process. Lying just beneath the surface of our skin, the lymphatic system does not need a lot of pressure to be manipulated. By practicing a daily self massage routine, we can maintain our healthy bodies and really get to know ourselves.

Lymph massage is for every body. As you can see in the diagrams below, we have many lymph nodes all over our bodies, and these are the key points to move the fluids towards. Our chest areas, for whatever body you are in, are one of the most dense areas for lymph nodes, making breast and chest massage very important. There are even a few studies currently theorizing that wearing tight and underwire bras can contribute to developing breast cancer since they restrict the flow of our filtration system, resulting in toxins building up in those areas.

Lymphatic massage is an ancient practice, used throughout many cultures. The Romans invented the Stlegida, the Chinese invented the Gua Sha, and many different cultures used dry brushing. There are many different tools you can incorporate, such as a face roller, bongers, and scraping tools. You do not need fancy tools for self massage though. You own hands can do a lot.

Not only is a self massage practice good for your lymphatic health, but it is also wonderful self care! By feeling our whole bodies, it can calm the nervous system and give us that moment of peace and quiet. You can turn this into a whole activity where you light some candles, turn on some music, take a soothing bath first, add some body oils to your massage, and really take care of yourself. This is also a great way to keep track of anything changing in your body like new lumps, swollen lymph nodes, or odd moles.

I personally use a Gua Sha on my face, neck, and chest, and then just my hands on the rest of my body. I can tell a huge difference in my anxiety levels when I take the time to care for myself in this way, as well as the glow of my skin.

Herbs and herbal body oils are also a great addition to our lymph health. Body oils will help our hands or tools glide while also nourishing our skin. The skin is our largest organ. With direct access to the nervous, lymphatic, and immune systems, it is incredibly absorbent and assists easy access of these systems. As opposed to water (like in lotion), using oils to hydrate our bodies keeps these systems nourished, running smoothly, and functioning at the highest possible level. Herbal body oils are the perfect preparation for soothing the nervous system, releasing anxiety and depression, adding herbs into our lymphatic system, and nourishing the skin.

How to make a Herbal Body Oil

Two jars
Herb or herbs of choice (fresh, enough to fill 3/4, dried, enough to fill 1/2)
Oil of choice

  1. There are a few different method but I prefer the folk method. First, ensure your tools are sterilized. Grind or chop your herbs to expose as much surface area as possible. If you are using fresh plant material, leave them laid out for 24 hours to allow any bugs to crawl away and to loose some of the water from the plant (water will increase the chances of your oil spoiling).
  2. Add plant material to jar, following the amount laid out in the supplies section.Pour the oil over the plant material until there is one inch of space from the top. Set wax paper over the opening and screw on lid. Let this sit in a cool dark place for 24 hours. You will start to see the plant material swell with the oil. If there is still room at the top of the jar after this time, top off with more oil.
  3. Let this sit for 4-6 weeks and shake it when you remember (once a day to a few times a week).
  4. Now it is time to strain. Set your funnel in your second jar and lay the cheesecloth over it. Slowly pour your oil over the cheesecloth and let it drain through naturally. After it has stopped dripping, squeeze out nay remaining oil. Compost the herbs and repeat straining process until you have gone through your whole jar.
  5. Keep your oil in a dark, dry and cool place for up to one year. Keep an eye out for mold or changes in smell. You can add some of your oil to a dropper or pump bottle for easier access. Remember to never touch the dropper vial with your skin as you are introducing bacteria to the rest of the product.

There are numerous herbs that are a tremendous ally to our filtration systems. Whether we make a tea, use them in a body oil, or add these wild foods to our diets, we are adding another layer of care and support to our bodies. A few powerful lymph allies are:

Astraglus, Astrgalus membranaceus
Calendula, Calendula officinalis
Cleavers, Galium aparine
Dandelion, Taraxacm officinale
Echinacea, Echinacea purpurea

No matter what method you use, there are many ways to care for your lymphatic system. Try them out and see what feels best for you. Spring is the perfect time to pick up a new cleaning practice. Spring cleaning is not just about our homes, but also our bodies and our lives.

Check out these small batch, hand-crafted herbal body oils.

***All information and content on this site are presented for educational and entertainment purposes only. Nothing presented on this site is intended to constitute or be used as a substitute for advice from a licensed medical professional and should not be taken as such. If you are experiencing any medical emergency including possible envenomation, please contact your local emergency services immediately. Always consult with your primary care physician before beginning any herbal treatment.***

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