Researchers proved recently that 98 percent of the venous return to the heart and lungs happens through the lymphatic system. However, researchers (and the rest of us) still have a lot to learn when it comes to the lymphatic system.

We know that it plays a critical role in detoxification and immune health and that the lymph takes in what we put on our body. Fats, blood cells, bacteria, viruses, and proteins all flow from one lymph to the next, and what the system cannot purify and move on, it stores in the lymph node.
To keep your lymphatic system healthy and functioning well, “there’s a lot you can do on your own, in conjunction with lymphatic massage,” says Vodder Certified Lymphatic and Decongestive Therapist Kit Lee, LMT.

At the Raby Institute, Kit uses a variety of massage techniques and tools, including lymphatic massage, kinesiology taping, and pneumatic compression of the arms, chest, and legs to improve patients’ blood flow and lymph drainage.
Kit encourages people to maintain their lymphatic health at home as well through simple, everyday lifestyle choices.

  1. Take care of your skin: Make sure you’re using safe products, free of toxins and harsh chemicals.
  2. Shower at night: Showering at night removes the day’s toxins from your body before you sleep, a time when you have very little lymph flow.
  3. Drink lots of fluid: The lymphatic system is roughly 95% water, and without enough of it, lymphatic fluid can’t flow properly. Hydrate with water, fresh juices, herbal teas, and broths.
  4. Use a dry brush weekly: Brush your skin lightly with a natural bristle brush or massage yourself with a salt scrub toward your axillaries before showering to optimize the lymph system’s detoxifying effects and increase energy levels.
  5. Practice gentle lymphatic massage: Massaging your body and breasts every day will help break up fibrous tissue, keeping your lymph flowing better.
  6. Wear loose clothing to sleep: Tight clothes restrict lymph flow. Choose loose-fitting clothing made from natural fibers such as wool, cotton, silk, or linen.
  7. Breathe deeply: This expands your lungs and keeps the lymph system active and flowing.
  8. Exercise: Move the body to pump lymphatic fluid and keep blood flowing. Some of the best exercises for lymph drainage include water exercises (the water acts as compression, so you get a double push) or a brisk walk.
For more information on lymphatic massage at the Raby Institute, please call us at (312) 276-1212.
Integrative medicine is about seeing every person fully – recognizing that good healthcare attends to and nurtures body, mind, and spirit.