How Does the Lymph System relate to Chronic Pain?
I know, you’re likely wondering: “what does chronic pain have to do with the lymph system?!” Well, a whole lot! We have lymph nodes in clusters in various parts of the body. When detox gets sluggish, this tends to make the lymph itself sluggish and we can deal with swelling, pain, constipation, and fatigue. Stimulating, supporting, and loving the lymph can help with all of these issues.
When I was healing from EBV, I started to get “flare-ups” of fibromyalgia, even though I haven’t had any whole body pain in years. It really made me realize how true it was that a sluggish lymph could create a chronic pain condition!
Some of the most common symptoms that your lymphatic system is not properly functioning are: edema, swollen glands, constant infections or viruses, recurring tonsillitis or sore throats, constipation, chronic congestion, fatigue, and a clogged feeling in the head or behind the ears.
How to Love Your Lymph
The lymph system doesn’t have its own pump so we have to do things that help it out. There are some herbs that help, but usually we have to do some physical activity or stimulation to really get it moving.
Rebounding is a great, low-impact exercise that helps the lymph system. This is just bouncing on a small trampoline for about 10 minutes a day. This exercise is actually used in NASA because it helps to regain bone and muscle mass! Rebounding helps to literally move the lymph around and it helps cellular energy levels, as well as increasing lymphocyte activity. Read my whole post about rebounding here.
Dry skin brushing
This is a very simple method to helping the lymphatic system. Before showering, use a natural bristle brush (like this one) to brush your dry skin in circular motions upward from the feet to the torso and then from the fingers to the chest. You will want to work in the same direction as your lymph flows which is towards the heart. Be careful over sensitive areas like the breasts. The more you brush, the less sensitive your skin will become too, so if it feels uncomfortable at first you’ll find that it gets easier to do. After you are done brushing, hop in the shower to wash off the dead skin cells that you’ve brushed off! This is such an easy, quick thing to add to your daily routine. Keep your brush tacked up in the bathroom too so you remember!
Castor Oil Packs
Castor oils packs are an old remedy that have been proven to be effective at reducing tumors, helping endometriosis, reduces inflammation, boosts lymphocyte activity, and help the liver work more efficiently.
When making castor oil packs, the best options are to get organic, cold-pressed, hexane free castor oil (or at least cold pressed and hexane free like this one) and to use a cotton flannel or an undyed plain white cotton tshirt.
The easiest way to make castor oil packs: Get the recommended cotton flannel or an old, UN-dyed t-shirt, fold it to fit over your liver area. Then soak the entire material in castor oil, put the soaked pack over your liver and then put a small blanket, old t-shirt, rag or towel over the soaked pack to protect your clothes.
Heating pads or hot water packs are personal choice- I like to lay on my right side with the pack for about an hour and the body heat seems to work. Then relax with the pack for about an hour. You can start out slowly with it, maybe doing ten minutes the first night and slowly increasing until you get to an hour. Now that I am used to them, sometimes I even fall asleep with them on- that does tend to stain my pajamas but I get such deep sleep!
If you want to clean your skin off, use baking soda and water. I keep the pack in a sealed jar and add a little more oil each time, and I wash it once a month with a ton of baking soda and hot water.
For best results use at least 4 consecutive days a week. The more consistent you are with them, the more benefit you will get! You can rotate the packs around too- liver, adrenals/kidneys, thyroid, and even the colon if you have constipation.
Some people claim that castor oil packs are great for soothing menstrual pain, but others claim they can increase blood flow. I personally skip the packs during that time of the month, but I leave that choice up to you!
Who doesn’t like a good massage (whether from a professional or with a tool like this)? I think the way to benefit most from massage is to get it done at a chiropractor’s office from a massage therapist. You can go in for a chiropractic adjustment and then get a nice relaxing massage. Both of these methods help to keep the lymph system working properly. Most chiropractors take insurance, so you would only spend a small amount of money to get these services done! Some massage therapists even offer specific lymphatic drainage massages.
Infrared Heating Pad
Another great lymph lover and overall pain reducer is a far infrared heating pad like this one. We call this the “magic pad” because of how amazing it is!
Benefits of the infrared heating pad:
- Stimulates blood flow and better circulation
- Weight loss
- Stimulates the metabolic rate- can help with healing any chronic illness people are dealing with if they are in slow oxidation.
- Heals the lymph system, boost the immune system, and encourages the body to heal underlying infections like parasites, EBV, and Candida
- Aids in more effective detoxification- our bodies are overloaded with toxins, and those with sluggish metabolisms will have a hard time properly detoxing.
- Detox support for heavy metals and other toxins
- Improved joint and muscle health (these pads are especially used for pain relief- FIR heals a lot deeper internally than traditional heating pads.)
Other Lymph Helpers
- yoga (especially legs on the wall. That inversion is priceless for aiding the lymph!)
- Stretching, walking, dancing- basically all movement can help the lymph. If you’re exercise intolerant due to low adrenal function, just start slow with increasing movement, or work on adding in one of the above suggestions so you can still rest but not be stagnant.
- Nettle Infusions
- Red root, ginger, Echinacea, goldenseal, cleavers, astragalus are all great herbs for the lymph as well!