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Archive for lymphatic system

Staying Healthy: The Importance of Exercise

For the first almost half of this year our first blog/podcast of each month has covered a holistic monograph (our 2021 focus) dealing with family preparation.  For the remainder of the year, we’ve been looking at various ways of staying healthy. I wanted to focus this article on the importance of exercise.

In a previous blog I referred to an article I read in a medical magazine on this topic. It stated that for a person who retires from his active job and decides that he’s “done his part” and is going to just sit down and watch [football] for the rest of his life, his life expectance is only about two (2) years. That may surprise you but remember several of our body systems don’t have pumps to move nutrients along. And notable, the waste disposal systems – the kidney, the bowel, and the lymphatic system – are among them. I call it the “toothpaste effect”. How do you get toothpaste out of the tube? You squeeze it! And how do you get the dead cells out of your lymphatic system? You contract the muscles, which squeeze the lymph nodes and lymphatic tubing to move the waste to the disposal locations. If you don’t move, then neither does the toxic, dead waste your body produces. Is it any wonder the body becomes toxic and diseased?

Now, be assured, I’m not telling you you have to go join a gym and do vigorous, daily workouts. While that may be important to some, I just think of exercise as movement! Regular, active, get-your-heart-pumping movement! One writer said it’s anything that makes your muscles work and makes your body burn calories.” I like that! Just don’t become a “couch potato” and bind yourself to the TV.

While researching this article, I read dozens of resources on the importance of exercise from sources like the Mayo Clinic, the Better Health Channel, Healthline, and many others. Most come to several similar conclusions:

  • It improves your mood and makes you feel happier; reduces stress and anxiety and reduces depression by generating and mobilizing “feel good” hormones.
  • It helps you build and maintain strong muscles and bones. It is great for your skeletal system. Just like plants grow stronger in the wind, your skeleton grows stronger when it is exercised.
  • It reduces fatigue and increases energy levels by moving vital nutrients throughout the body.
  • Obvious to most of us is the fact that burning more calories also helps us to manage our weight and helps us loose weight.
  • One writer quoted “regular exercise has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, heart health, and body composition, and can decrease blood pressure and cholesterol levels.”
  • Blood and oxygen flow from exercise improves memory and brain function and may slow the aging process.
  • It helps prevent and manage many other health problems, such as Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, strokes, arthritis and many types of cancers.
  • It can improve sleep quantity and quality, especially for the older folks among us who are prone to many sleep disorders. Let’s face it, a good restful sleep is certainly more forthcoming when we go to bed tired!
  • Several writers noted that it can “put the spark back in your sex life” not only by increasing your energy, but by increasing your confidence about your physical appearance.

And quoting from an article from the Mayo Clinic, “Exercise can be fun … and social! Exercise and physical activity can be enjoyable. They give you a chance to unwind, enjoy the outdoors or simply engage in activities that make you happy.”

How much is enough? I loved my Fitbit and used it for several years. It advocated 250 steps every waking hour as a minimum. Several references stated you needed to get your heart rate to 200 minus your age for 15 minutes each day. The Mayo Clinic article advocated 150 minutes each week of moderate aerobic activity. Most references have suggestions for healthy activity.  Choose one that works for you – one that you will do regularly.  The bottom line is “get up off the couch and MOVE every day.” Find something active that you enjoy and stay at it.  One of my best friends lived to be 95, and she did water aerobics at the “Y” regularly.  It’s not so much WHAT your do, but that you do something – regularly!

–  For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

The How and Why of Lymphatic Cleansing

In dealing with our customers, I often question them about how they view the functioning of their various body systems. Curiously, when I ask about their lymphatic systems, I often just get an askance glance. Few people even know what the lymphatic system is, much less how to describe theirs as functioning. They may recognize that they have lymph nodes, but may not know what they do. But the functioning of the lymphatic system is essential to good health.

Upwards of 100,000 body cells die each day. And where do they go when they die? Into the lymphatic system. It is a system of interconnected nodes that collect and move the dead material from all over your body into the waste disposal systems of the body so it may be evacuated. We do not want to hold on to all that dead and decaying material which quickly becomes toxic to the rest of the body.

Besides the network of connected nodes to collect the dead cells there are three main larger collection points: the spleen, the tonsils and the appendix. Interestingly, many of my peers, including me, had their tonsils removed in childhood because the doctors didn’t at that time know of any serious function they performed. So, when they swelled up during an infection which caused more than average cellular death, the doctors just removed them. I know of people today who have recently had their appendixes removed due to that same logic. And, granted, we can live relatively normal lives without them, but have to stay more on top of large-scale infections without them. Now we realize a lymphatic cleanse may be warranted.

An annual lymphatic cleanse would also be recommended for folks with a more sedentary lifestyle. You see, the lymphatic system has no pump to move the waste through the body. I call this the “toothpaste” movement system. How do you get toothpaste out of the tube? You squeeze the tube. The lymphatic tubes run through muscle structures in the body. So, to get the waste to flow, you need to contract the muscle so they squeeze the tubes. No muscle movement means no squeezing on the tubes which means no movement of the dead material. Exercise is essential. And the more sedentary your lifestyle, the more you need regular cleansing of the lymphatic system.

I personally enjoy using herbs and herbal combination to cleanse. The phytonutrients in many of the herbs encourage the body to detoxify naturally. And as a rule, we should regularly cleanse the eliminative organs (kidneys and liver) and the blood and lymphatic systems, as well as the intestinal system.

Fifteen years ago, we had a test we could use to see how your body systems were working. The developer of the test worked for several months with a body of career herbalists to develop cleansing products for the kidney and the lymphatic systems. He stated that we could expect ninety percent of our clients to need these two products prior to begin any other cleansing programs. In my experience, he was accurate. Herbs for cleansing the lymphatic system include: parthenium, yarrow, capsicum, cleavers, red clover flowers, prickly ash bark, and others. They include encapsulated herbs or liquid tinctures which may be accomplished in a single month.

I cleanse my lymphatic system each year. Join me, and I hope you can feel as good as I do! Good health and God’s blessings!

  • For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

The Flow of Good Health: The Lymphatic System

I, like you, may not really give much thought to my home’s plumbing; until an uncomfortable issue arises. Clogged pipes, poor drainage—oh, what a mess that can be. The lymphatic system, like your home’s plumbing, is the drainage system of the body. Through its complex construction of lymph fluid, nodes, ducts and lymphoid tissues such as the tonsils, spleen, appendix, and thymus gland, the lymphatic system works to keep our bodies healthy. The systemic functions of the lymphatics:

  • Balance-By balancing fluids in the tissues, collecting fluid near tissues and organs and returning it to the blood stream, this process prevents fluid from building up and causing swelling.
  • Filtration-This system filters lymph by attacking any bacteria or virus when lymph fluid enters the lymph nodes and filters blood through the spleen by replacing old blood cells with new blood cells, and carrying away cell debris
  • Fights infection-Using specialized white blood cells, called lymphocytes, that are produced in the lymph, the lymphatic system fervently works around the clock to combat sneaky toxins and infections.

Unlike the circulatory system, there is not a pump to keep the flow of fluid and debris through the vessels. Instead, this system depends on muscle movement and compression to help with flow. Any lymphatic congestion is an underlying issue in chronic pain and inflammation. So how can we relieve any congestion that might present as tender and swollen nodes in the neck, breast, arm pits, or groin?

  • Movement– Inactivity creates lymphatic stagnation. Exercise as a gentle walk or gentle bouncing on a mini trampoline are excellent ways to keep lymphatic fluid moving.
  • Hydration-In dehydration, up to 70% of water loss is inside the cells, but approximately 20% is from lymph. When you are thirsty, it may be due to congested lymph fluid.
  • Deep Breathing-Deep breathing compresses the thoracic cavity which creates a pumping action in the lymph system. Sobbing and laughing work similarly. Proverbs 17:22 says laughter is a good medicine. Not only does laughter increase oxygen flow, it also creates lymphatic drainage.
  • Massage-Massaging an area can help improve lymph flow, ease pain and promote healing.

Along with these lifestyle tips to increase lymphatic flow, there are some herbs that are very helpful as well.

  • Cleavers-This herb is soothing to the lymphatic system and helps ease congestion and lessen swelling
  • Red Clover-This herb strengthens the lymph system, improves lymph flow, and aids swollen lymph nodes. This herb is particularly helpful for inflammation in the mammary glands.
  • Echinacea-This is a powerful lymphatic cleanser and immune system stimulant. It is helpful for swollen lymph nodes due to infection.

Just like with any other body system, lifestyle changes and quality supplements can be helpful in keeping this powerful system working well so you can continue to stay healthy. Here at The Healthpatch we are happy to help you with any of your natural health needs.

Health and Blessings,
Kimberly Anderson, ND

For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, OK 73130, call 405-736-1030, e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com, or visit TheHeathPatch.com.