Understanding our Natural Detoxification System
While there are many uncontrollable factors in your overall health, through good
lifestyle habits and proactive health care you can have significant influence over
your physical well-being. Proper nutrition, exercise, rest, and stress management
are fairly self-explanatory, but much less concern is generally shown for practices
that assist in minimizing toxic load.
To understand the importance of minimizing toxic load, we must first define some
foundational terms and discuss how our natural detoxification systems work. A
“toxin” is any substance that causes excess stress to the body. “Toxic load” refers
to the volume of these substances that have been accumulated in the body at any
given time and the overall burden it places on the body systems and vital organs.
Toxins come from countless sources, many of which we are not even aware of.
Your body has a number of different passageways through which it is directly
exposed to toxins and several different mechanisms that it uses to deal with this
The three most vulnerable pathways are the lungs, the digestive tract, and the
skin. We are directly exposed to toxins through the food we eat, the air we
breathe, and anything that contacts our skin. Our bodies have their own natural
defense mechanisms to protect these pathways. While we have little control over
the quality of the air we breathe outside or chemicals we may be unknowingly
exposed to, there are measures we can take to minimize exposure and support
the natural mechanisms that deal with the toxins.
Understanding our Lymphatic System
The lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs that are part of the
circulatory system and that help the body remove toxins, waste and other
unwanted materials. The system’s primary role is to transport lymph, a fluid with
white blood cells that fight infection throughout the body. The lymphatic system
and the immune system work together to remove and destroy waste, debris, dead
blood cells, pathogens, toxins, and cancer cells.
A lymphatic system that does not function well can manifest in health reactions
• Brain fog / trouble concentrating
• Fatigue and lack of energy
• Cold limbs
• Bloating / constipation / diarrhea
• Swollen lymph nodes or tonsils
• Sluggish bowel function
• Inability to lose weight
• Soreness or stiffness
• Itchy skin or dry skin
• Skin rashes
• Sore/swollen breasts
• Trouble sleeping
• Frequent mood swings
Ways to Cleanse the Lymphatic System
Hydrate: Dehydration is a common cause of lymph congestion. Lymph becomes thicker and less mobile when you are dehydrated, but flows well when hydrated. Add 1 drop of citrus essential oil to a full glass of pure filtered water.
Deep Breathing - breathing for even just 5-10 repetitions (or up to 10 minutes
a day) will oxygenate the blood, circulate the lymph especially around the liver,
and provide many other benefits. If possible, do this exercise outdoors in fresh
Exercise - regular exercise is one of the easiest ways to promote a healthy
lymphatic system. It stimulates blood circulation and helps to transport oxygen
to the tissues and cells in the body.
Stress Management - managing stress are necessary to maintain a well
functioning lymphatic system.
Sauna - (if you have access) can promote detoxification, better circulation and
skin purification thereby supporting a better lymphatic system.
Dry Skin Brushing: Promotes lymphatic drainage of toxic waste. Start a habit
of dry skin brushing a few minutes before your shower or bathe using a natural
bristle brush and 1 drop of your favorite essential oil.
Massage - the use of strokes and pressure to muscles, tissues and organs
during massage help stimulate the circulatory system and expel toxins to the
circulatory system for elimination.
Hydrotherapy - refers to the use of water (hot tubs, cold showers, ice packs,
hot springs, water massage, etc.). It promotes detoxification and circulation.
Hot/Cold Showers - Lymphatic vessels contract when exposed to cold, and
dilate in response to heat. A hot and cold shower uses the properties of water
temperature and pressure to move stagnant lymphatic fluid, increase
circulation, boost immune function and metabolism.
Trampoline/Rebounder - one of the most efficient ways to reduce lymphatic
congestion, stimulate lymph flow, and exercise every cell in the body. Gentle
up and down bouncing turbo charges lymph function.
Stretch/Yoga - Stretching and yoga poses are especially effective for moving
Whole Foods - Consuming processed foods, junk food, fast foods, sugary
drinks, unhealthy fats, refined flour and sugar can cause inflammation and
create lymphatic system congestion. Eat more fruits and vegetables, especially
Detox baths - Epsom salts have been known to stimulate lymph circulation in
the body due to their high levels of Magnesium.
Essential Oils - may help stimulate our white blood cells to clean up microbes
and toxins in the body. This makes the job of the lymphatic system easier as it
helps eliminate excess waste.
Detoxifying + Cleansing Essential Oils
Regular aromatherapy treatments in conjunction with exercise and a healthy diet
can assist the body’s natural eliminatory response by stimulating the liver, lungs
and lymphatic system, kidneys, bowels, and sweat glands.
As always there are many different essential oils that can be used. Those with
depurative (blood-cleansing), diuretic (increases the production and secretion of
urine) and stimulant properties are the most helpful.
There are several essential oils that possess both depurative and diuretic
properties which makes them particularly useful for supporting the body’s natural
These include Fennel, Grapefruit, Juniper berry and Lemon.
Other useful diuretic oils are Cypress, Geranium, Tangerine, Patchouli and
Spice oils such as Black Pepper, Clove, Cardamon, Cinnamon and Ginger can
help to stimulate the circulation and flow of lymph.
Fennel also helps stimulate the circulatory system.
Grapefruit and Wild Orange have a stimulant effect on both the digestive and
Cypress and Rosemary are also hepatic, which means they help stimulate and
aid liver function.
Geranium supports the body’s natural ability to rid itself of unwanted substances.
Cilantro supports the body’s natural process of eliminating toxins.
Is your body looking for a detoxification?
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