Cleansing the lymphs is an often-overlooked part of a cleansing regimen, and it is essential. It is also essential at the first onset of a cold or flu, as it is up to our lymphatic system to help the body fight infection and toxins.
The lymphatic system is a circulatory system without a heart to act as pump, so it depends on exercise and gravity. Thus, exercise is essential for a clean lymphatic system. herbs can also help. Lymphs can cleanse via sweat too, so sweating is good. The lymphs take toxins and fats and proteins from the blood, clean them up with white blood cells, and return the fluids, now clean. If the lymphs aren't clean, the skin isn't clean, and acne/skin rashes or exzema results.
The first part of lymph cleansing is colon cleansing. Until the colon is clean, the lymphs will be backed up and stagnant. Once the colon cleansing has begun, you can start cleansing the lymphs.
So a lymphatic cleansing regime can include:
1. Sweating via detox baths (see notes), drinking ginger (heating) or chamomile (cooling, better for Pitta) tea and wrapping up in robes/towels, getting under the covers, and sweating/sleeping. Espcially good to do this while fasting. Saunas. Sunbathing.
2. Exercise. Jumping on a trampoline. This is mini-trampoline, about 20 bucks. 10 minutes a day is great for the lymphs.
Salute to the Sun: This is yoga that constantly moves from one position to the next, building up heat in the body. The positions are designed to stretch and balance the spine and all of the major muscle groups. It also massages the liver.
3. Herbs. Nettle tea, dandelion, Echinacea, yellow dock, goldenseal.
4. Dry brushing. Get a soft bristle brush meant for the bath, but use it dry on dry skin. Brush vigorously the stomach and chest - clockwise, long strokes on extremeties, circular on joints. Pay special attention to under the arms, as there is an important nerve nexus there.
5. Gravity. Lie on a board with your feet higher than your head. If you look at the graphic, you'll see the thoracic duct. This really helps the duct clear. You can also stand on your head, hands, or use a bar and hang from it with your knees or gravity boots. Even just raising your feet can help your kidneys and get more blood to the brain, but tilting the torso really helps the lymph. :)
6. Massage. Any good massage will help the lymphs. You can have someone give you a Swedish massage, and you can add to your morning routine a self-massage with pure sesame oil. This keeps you warm - especially good for Vata and Kapha, and helps balance the skin, which is good for Pitta. Jsut massage the oil into your skin with the same kind of strokes as for drying brushing immediately after your shower.
graphic of lymph system from: