Monday, February 14, 2011

Lymphatic Drainage for Cancer Patients

Happy Valentines Day to Everyone!

What I Do To Empower My Lymphatic System

 When you are fighting cancer, you need your immune system to heal your body while at the same time destroying the microscopic cancer cells that can lead to metastasis. The lymphatic system is an important part of our immune system and very important to overall health. It's responsible for removing waste, toxins, and other unwanted material out of your cells and tissues so they can be flushed out of your body. 

There are over 600 lymph nodes dispersed throughout your body which work along with lymph fluid & vessels and lymph organs & tissues to help the body defend itself against disease. The lymphatic system produces white blood cells and generates disease-fighting antibodies. It rids your body of toxins and cellular waste, but that's not all - it is also responsible for carrying away cancerous cells! So we want it to be working efficiently, don't we? If your lymph stops flowing freely, your garbage begins to pile up as waste accumulates in your cells and tissues. 

Lymphocytes attack bacteria and viruses in the blood. They can multiply to attack foreign agents and are carried to all of the tissues in our body by the lymph vessels. Unlike your blood which has a beating heart to move it along, the lymph depends on physical movement in order to keep it flowing. If you don't move much, your lymph doesn't move much either. That's why its important for us to engage in some form of bouncy movement every day, like brisk walking. 

The lymph fluid moves through vessels that are filled with one way valves, so the lymph always moves in the same direction. The main lymph vessels run up the legs, up the arms, and up the torso. This is why the vertical up and down movement of brisk walking, jumping rope, light jogging or jumping on a mini-trampoline is so effective to pump the lymph. 

There are three ways to activate the flow of lymph fluid away from the tissues, allowing it to take toxins away from the tissues and deliver them back into the blood supply for removal: 
1. Exercise and Vertical Movement 
2. Gravitational Pressure 
3. Massage of the Valves of the Lymph Ducts (by a therapist or by dry skin brushing). 

If you are able to go to a therapist trained in the art of lymphatic massage, it would be a great complimentary treatment. I would like to do another 3 day fast with wheat grass and fresh vegetable juice, accompanied by lymphatic massages. This is something we did at the Optimum Health Institute.  

Another way to manually "massage" and encourage the lymph to drain is to practice dry brushing. You need a  long-handled, natural-hair, skin-brush made specifically for dry skin brushing.  Brush your skin when it is dry (usually just before getting in the shower). Brushing strokes correspond with the flow of the lymph which is toward the heart: start with circular motions on the soles of the feet, stroke up each leg, up each arm, up the groin, across the armpits to the chest, etc. Brush gently down from the sides of neck to the armpits. Don't brush nipples. Don't brush wet skin. Brush the back from the spine out to each side.  Brush in counter-clockwise circles over the abdomen (corresponding with the flow of elimination).

For daily lymphatic drainage, rebounding is a fantastic exercise. It has the same effect on your body as jumping rope without the jarring effect to the ankles, knees and lower back that comes from hitting the ground. During the course of a rebounding session, the vertical bouncing creates the gravitational pressure and motion to effectively move and recycle the lymph and blood supply through the circulatory system many times.  Gentle bouncing for 10 to 20 minutes a day is all that is needed to stimulate lymph drainage. Your feet barely need to leave the mini-trampoline to be effective. I have recently added rebounding for lymphatic drainage to my regular exercise program of walking with periodic short bursts of jogging in the fresh air and sunlight.  

UPDATE: If you have osteoporosis of the spine, avoid jumping as it may cause compression fractures. In that case stick to mild bouncing without the feet leaving the trampoline, or stick to brisk walking!


Anonymous said...


Recently had many hours of Myofascial Release bodywork therapy. Before that, I had regular physical therapy. The Myofascial Release is really something, if you ever get a chance to try it. Very advanced, and works. Good for the lymph system., for info, and a practitioner near you. Jeff, from cancercompass

Jeannie said...

My acupuncture and chiropractic office offers Myofascial Release. I will talk with Dr. Audrey Vaughen about it on my next visit and report back!

Weng's Acupuncture:

Anonymous said...

forgot to mention, bouncing on a Swiss ball is supposed to help the Lymph system. Besides this, it just makes you feel good physically