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  • Writer's pictureDr. Teresa Rispoli

Lymphatic Cleansing - 8 Ways to Detox Your Lymphatic System

Updated: May 11, 2020

8 Ways to Clear Lymphatic Congestion Naturally

8 Ways to Clear Lymphatic Congestion Naturally

As part of the immune system, the #lymph system affects every part of the body. When the body becomes overloaded with toxins, pollutants, viruses, bacteria and other waste materials, these accumulate in the lymph nodes causing them to swell and become painful. Under these conditions, the lymph cannot drain properly and backs up spilling these toxins into the surrounding tissue creating an ideal environment for disease, and infections. #Lymphatic Cleansing provides relief from painful swelling caused by lymph congestion. Keeping your lymphatic system flowing smoothly, free from lymph congestion is absolutely critical to your immune system health and well-being.

Key Factors About Your Lymphatic System

Today not only you will learn how important your lymph system is, but what causes congestion, and how this stagnation causes painful symptoms. Then, of course, I will give you solutions to improve Lymphatic flow and lymphatic cleansing techniques.

Why is The Lymphatic System So Important?

The Lymphatic System is responsible for: fluid balance, fat absorption and immune defense against foreign invaders such as viruses, bacteria, fungi and cellular garbage. Sometimes these things can congest or back up the lymph. This can cause lymph edema and pain. So your lymph system has critical role in protecting you from inflammation and illness. Lymphatic Circulation

Your lymph system is a network of blood vessels and lymph nodes working together to carry fluids from your tissues to your blood and vice versa. It is basically your body’s cellular fluid drainage system.

Your lymph system is quite similar to your circulatory system, which is made up of veins, arteries, and capillaries to carry your blood around. However, your lymph vessels are smaller than your veins. They carry around a clear, watery fluid called lymph, as well as protein molecules, glucose, salt, and other substances (1).

Fluid travels around your body via the lymphatic vessels. Valves function as ‘stops’ to ensure fluids are carried to the right place and don’t move in the wrong direction. Besides your lymph vessels and nodes, your lymph system includes several organs such as your tonsils, spleen, thymus, and adenoids.

Your lymph nodes are another important part of your lymph system. They are found in a variety of areas of your body, These are found around every opening of your body such as; your throat, groin, armpits, chest, and abdomen. Your lymph nodes are very important in fighting infection, recovering from illness, and healing wounds because your immune cells are created within them. They can recognize harmful organisms and trigger the creation of infection-fighting white blood cells called lymphocytes.

When you come in contact with bacteria, microbes, or toxins, they make their way into your body and the lymphatic fluid. But once the fluid makes its way into your lymph nodes, these organisms get trapped then your immune system attacks and destroys them. Inside the lymph nodes, these harmful organisms are filtered out and white blood cells are created to protect your body.

Your lymph system also helps to keep bodily fluids in balance. This means that if your lymph system is healthy and well-functioning, you won’t experience abnormal water retention or painful swelling, called lymph edema. Your lymph system takes care of any fluid build-up or swelling due to injury or foreign invaders, when it's not congested.

How Does It Get Congested

Chronic inflammation is one of the main causes of most chronic health issues. It can also lead to lymph congestion. When you are under stress, your body creates stress-fighting hormones which result in free radical waste products that can lead to a variety of health problems, one of which is inflammation (2).

Chronic illness may lead to lymph congestion throughout your body. When your body is fighting chronic #inflammation and #microbes, your body is creating more white blood cells to fight them. However, they may end up filling up your lymph nodes, backing up the lymph system, creating lymph #edema.

Another reason for lymph congestion is digestive imbalances. Digestive imbalances may irritate the intestinal villi resulting in a common reason for lymph congestion. The majority of your lymphatic system surrounds your gut with the Gut Associated Lymphatic Tissues (GALT). Hence your gut health and the health of the intestinal villi is essential for lymph flow, #detoxification, and #immunity.

Not drinking enough water and lacking physical activity can result in your lymph fluid slowing down. Your lymph system relies on pressure from muscle movement and breathing to move fluids around. Lacking this pressure due to a sedentary lifestyle or chronic dehydration may slow and congest your lymph system.

Lastly, nutrient #deficiencies may lead to lymph congestion as well. In particular, iodine, magnesium and vitamin C, which are all important to mitigate the harmful effects of environmental #toxins and to support your lymph system in protecting your body.

Lymphatic Congestion Symptoms

Lymph congestion can affect your entire body. Symptoms include (3):



Muscle and joint pain


Holding onto water

Breast swelling during your cycle

Itchy and dry skin

Brain fog


Weight gain

Swollen glands

Cold hands and feet

Chronic sinusitis,


sore throats, or ear issues

Skin problems

If you are experiencing symptoms of lymph congestion, you may benefit from trying some natural ways to stimulate your lymph system. Try the 8 ways I recommend my patients to clear lymph congestion:

8 Ways to Clear Lymphatic Congestion

Unlike blood, lymph does not have a pump, therefore it has to rely on the contraction and relaxation of muscles to move it around. That's why exercise is so important. Major muscles move the lymph through movement. Therefore, an stagnant lifestyle that doesn’t stimulate healthy lymph circulation can easily congest the entire lymph system.

The good news is that there are a variety of techniques you can use to clean your lymph system. First, let’s discuss how your lymph system is cleansed, and some specific ways to clear lymph congestion.

How To Clean The Lymphatic System

When you thinking about cleansing a congested lymph system, your upper chest region becomes key for final drainage of toxins and ultimate lymphatic drainage. Stress reduction techniques can encourage the contraction and relaxation of the muscles to help push toxins out of your body and to decrease the chance of debris building up. Deep breathing can promote #intrathoracic pressure to improve the oxygen supply to your cells.

Your rib cage is a major lymphatic pump that is necessary for healthy lymphatic flow. Healthy posture and exercise are also essential to facilitate the supply of oxygen to your cells and to support lymphatic flow. Furthermore, there are other strategies, including lymphatic drainage massage and dry brushing which you can utilize to stimulate the lymph system all over your body to remove debris from all parts of the system (4).

It is not difficult to keep the lymph moving around your body. All you need to do is to incorporate a few simple, natural lifestyle strategies, such as deep breathing, optimal hydration, regular exercise, dry brushing, and herbal remedies to clean your lymph system. Let’s look at 8 simple ways to clear lymph congestion.

Deep Breathing

Deep diaphragmatic breathing helps your lungs to press into the thoracic duct which presses fluid back into your bloodstream, thus deep breathing facilitates proper lymph movement and detoxification, and is necessary for healthy lymphatic flow.

To practice deep diaphragmatic breathing, breathe deeply through your nose, hold it in for four counts, then exhale for two counts through your mouth. Gradually increase how long you hold and release your breath until you can hold for 20 counts and exhale for 10 counts. Repeat this two to three times per session. Practice three times a day for the best results.

Besides breathing exercises, you can try other stress reduction strategies to clear lymph congestion as well. Physical and emotional stress can both increase the risk of lymph congestion and health issues, so having effective strategies to cope with daily stress and to reduce overall stress is essential.

Mindfulness practices; meditation, guided imagery exercises, visualization techniques, grounding exercise, journaling, tai chi, yoga, spending time with loved ones, and playing with pets can help you to remain calm in the present moment, slow down, reduce stress, increase joy, and improve lymphatic flow.

Proper Hydration Encourages Lymphatic Cleansing

Lymph is about 95 percent water, hence optimal hydration is absolutely key for the proper health and functioning of your lymphatic system. Without enough water, the lymphatic fluid cannot flow properly, which can lead to lymph congestion and dehydration (6).

Water is absolutely essential to hydrate and re-hydrate your body. Adding lemon or lime to your water can expedite the process of hydration and achieving a healthy lymph flow. Lemon water is fantastic for hydration and detoxification. Lemon and lime also encourages an alkaline environment and helps to mineralize your lymph and body (3).

You may also want to try a specific Homeopathic Lymphatic Drainage Remedy to encourage lymphatic drainage. Drink cold or room temperature water as you normally would to meet the daily requirement of 8 to 10 glasses. On top of that, sip warm water every 10 to 15 minutes throughout the day to encourage lymph flow. Keep up this protocol for two weeks for the best results (3).

Regular Exercise and Movement

Regular exercise has many health benefits, including clearing lymph congestion. In fact, it is one of the easiest and most effective ways to boost healthy lymph flow. Keep in mind you have to move your major muscles to actively move lymph. So walking, running, elliptical, HIIT, swimming, dancing, hiking can all benefit your lymphatic system and improve your immune function.

Regular exercise increases the oxygen supply to your tissues, stimulates blood circulation, helps with the transportation of oxygen to your tissues and cells and reduces toxic buildup. As a result, exercise not only facilitates a healthy immune response but may prevent cancer by reducing the risk of a low oxygenated environment in the body where cancer may grow (7).

Rebounding for Lymphatic Health

Rebounding is an increasingly popular low impact exercise that involves jumping on a trampoline and is fantastic for purifying your lymph system. Rebounding improves the flow of lymph through your body, and increases the drainage of fluids and the removal of toxins.

You can find indoor mini trampolines online to use inside your house. Not to mention that trampoline jumping gyms are popping up in many cities offering a healthy and fun family activity. You can feel like a kid again while rebounding and taking care of your health.

Dry Brushing and Healing Baths

Dry skin brushing or dry brushing is an Ayurvedic technique that can boost circulation, lymphatic flow, and detoxification. Dry Brushing helps to remove dead skin cells and toxic waste, stimulate your sweat glands by opening your pores, improve immunity, prevents cellulite, initiate the development of new healthy skin cells, and promote lymphatic cleansing.

To practice dry brushing, find a brush with soft, natural bristles. Avoid synthetic or hard bristles. Begin with light, gentle brushing strokes always moving toward your heart to improve lymphatic flow back through the venous system toward your heart.

On your stomach, practice a clockwise motion to improve your natural digestive flow as well. The best time to practice dry brushing is before your shower or before a healing bath which will help to wash away dead skin cells and further improve lymphatic flow. You can learn more about dry brushing here.

Healing baths are soothing baths that can boost your immunity, reduce stress, lower pain levels, and help relaxation. You can make healing baths by adding essential oils, Epsom salt, sea salt, ginger, and other natural substances to your bath, all with different benefits. Essential oils, such as lavender or frankincense are fantastic for relaxation, an immune boost, stress relief, anxiety, and sleep. Epsom salt baths are fantastic for detoxification, circulation, and lymph flow. Sea salt baths are amazing for inflammation, detoxification, skin hydration, and skin issues (8, 9). Soak for 20 to 30 minutes with a good book, music, or a relaxation audio guide.

Homeopathic Lymphatic Drainage Remedy

I recommend the Comprehensive Detox to my patients, friends, and family who want to clear lymph, Liver, and Kidney congestion because it clears the interstitial spaces between the cells as well as these important detox organs. LEARN MORE

Alternating Showers

Taking alternate showers can stimulate your lymph system and provide an array of great health benefits. Cold showers and alternate showers may improve chronic pain, give you more energy, boost your brain function, and improve your mood (16, 17, 18, 19).

Alternate showering can have a powerful effect on your circulation and lymphatic flow. The sudden exposure to cold constricts your blood supply, while the exposure to heat dilates and expands your blood vessels allowing your body to drive blood into areas that need it. Alternate showering improves muscle contraction through your body that allows whole-body contractions to squeeze lymphatic flow through your system and boost lymphatic cleansing. Hot-cold alternating showers can improve your inflammations and boost your overall health (20, 21, 22).

To practice alternate showering, finish your shower with 30 to 60 seconds of cold shower. You may experience similar benefits if you take a cold shower or jump into a cold pool after spending some time in an infrared sauna or in a hot tub.

Lymphatic Drainage Massage

A Lymphatic Drainage Massage is much different than a regular therapeutic massage.

Lymphatic drainage massage is a specific form of specialized massage therapy designed to help your cells release toxic buildup, reduce lymph congestion, and help flush excess fluid within your tissues. It can lower your pain intensity, swollen lymph nodes, and reduce muscle and joint pains, as well as swelling and edema. (4 23, 24).

You may couple massage with essential oils or an Epsom salt bath for further lymph stimulation.

Infrared Sauna Therapy

There are over 80,000 toxic chemicals used regularly in the US and over 500 chemicals stored in the body of an average individual. Clearly, environmental toxicity is a huge concern that can lead to a clogged lymph system (25, 26).

Perspiration through sweating is one of your bodies key mechanisms to remove toxins. While exercising is essential for sweating and cleansing, infrared sauna therapy is something you can also benefit from to improve your lymphatic function and which will benefit your overall health (27, 28, 29 30, 31).

Infrared saunas are a non-invasive form of light therapy. They heat your internal muscles, push toxins to your circulatory system, and encourage removal of these toxins. Infrared saunas are much more effective than steam saunas.

While in traditional saunas that use air and steam to create perspiration, the sweat that leaves your body contains 97 percent water and 3 percent toxins. On the other hand, infrared saunas use heaters that emit radiant heat that helps you to perspire 80 percent water and 20 percent toxins. You can read more about the benefits of infrared saunas or LipoMelt Therapy here.

Final Thoughts on Lymphatic Congestion

Your lymphatic system is absolutely essential for your immune system and for protecting you from inflammation and illness. If your lymphatic system is congested, it makes you prone to infections and disease. Keeping your lymphatic flow smooth and free from lymph congestion is crucial to your health and well-being.

Thankfully, there are some powerful and simple ways to clear your immune system. These lymph congestion clearing strategies include exercise, rebounding, deep breathing, infrared saunas, healing baths, alternate showers, optimal hydration, lymphatic drainage massage, and specific herbal therapies. But one thing you must know, your lymph drains into your colon, so colon cleansing is also a very important therapy for reducing the toxic load on your body. #Colonics have been practiced for thousand of years and the benefits are wide spread. They are safe and effective for reducing colon congestion, chronic illness, pain and inflammation, and so much more. LEARN MORE

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Dr. Teresa Rispoli,
PhD., ND, LAc.

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