by Dr. Amy Duong
Today, I want to bring to attention the importance of the lymphatic system in the body’s ability to detoxify and heal acute and chronic disease, including eczema and other skin afflictions. I consider the lymphatic system the most important forgotten detoxification system. It is the body’s garbage can and it’s imperative for those suffering from eczema to help move and drain the lymphatic system for proper nourishment and maintenance of clear skin.
The lymphatic system is the body’s network of lymph vessels, lymph nodes and lymph that are spread throughout your body. There are about 700 lymph nodes in the body that filter the lymph before it returns to the circulatory system. Since the skin is the largest organ in the body, the body uses the skin as an elimination organ to rid of internal toxicity, which then manifest as itchy skin afflictions, like eczema. With eczema there is a concern with the circulation of blood to nourish the skin properly and this can be from lymph that is stagnant under the skin and not moving.
The lymphatic system does not have it’s own pumping mechanism similar to the heart’s electrical system that pumps oxygenated and de-oxygenated blood to and from the cells back to the heart. Instead, to move and therefore help to drain the lymphatic system, it must be done manually with specific daily practices.
Here are my 4 recommendations to drain the lymphatic system and promote skin healing and detox!
1. Dry Skin Brushing – This is the practice of moving the lymph that is underneath the surface of the skin to return to the major lymphatic ducts and the circulation of the heart. What you need is a dry bristle brush like this one. Start this daily routine before showering. Use the brush to go from the farthest body part towards your heart with light, short sweeps to the heart area. For example, brushing from the hand, up the arm, and around the shoulder to the heart. This practice also exfoliates the skin of all the dead, flaky cells the also prevent the skin from breathing and proper nourishment.
2. Exercise and Mini Trampoline – Choosing an exercise that is fun and moves the body, which also moves the lymphatic system. In particular, the use of a mini trampoline and jumping for 5-20 minutes daily moves the lymphatic system and oxygenates all your cells. For kids, check out this one. Happy jumping!
3. Contrast Showers – As eczema sufferers are fully aware, showers can be a difficult daily routine especially when your eczema is in an acute flare up with open lesions and also making your skin very dry afterwards. The practice of contrasts showers uses the temperature difference of hot and cold water as a pumping mechanism for your blood vessels as well as your lymphatic system to move, purify and detoxify. Start by changing the water temperature to as hot as you are tolerate for about 1-3 minutes, then quickly change the water temperature to very cold, as cold as you can tolerate. Continue for about 3 rounds. You will promote the movement of blood and lymph throughout your body and feel very rejuvenated! Don’t forget to use a natural eczema cream to hydrate the skin afterwards.
4. Lymphatic herbs – In my naturopathic training, we focused on many herbs to help the body heal. This is known as botanical medicine and there are specific herbs which function to drain the lymphatic system! Some important lymphatic herbs specific to the skin include galium, phytolacca, and arctium. Please consult your healthcare provider or naturopathic doctor for more help in choosing the right herbs and combination of herbs for your ailments.
Addressing the lymphatic system along with other naturopathic approaches including diet, leaky gut, microbial balance and stress, have been the key players to addressing eczema for my patients and myself. By incorporating some of these therapies daily to move lymph through the lymphatic circulation, the trajectory of the eczema greatly changes towards healing.
Please visit Dr. Amy Duong’s website for more information and to work with her through phone or Skype consultations. Dr. Amy’s patients come from around the world and it’s her passion to help everyone on their path to clear skin.
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