It seems that a lot of folks around us are on a detox of some form or another. We are
desperately trying to help our bodies heal from the ongoing toxic burdens coming in through
the adulterated food and water we consume, to the perfumes, make up and colognes we wear.
Over the years there can be a troublesome buildup of toxins and heavy metals in our tissues
and lymphatic system, effecting our colon, liver, and gall bladder. As detoxing becomes even
more popular, products and recipes flood the shelves and the internet. Most are trying to
implement a detox on their own or with a trusted doctor. This all sounds like the thing to do,
however if we have lymphatic blockage or insufficient lymph flow this “detoxing” can be
detrimental to our health. What if our swollen lymph nodes contain viral, bacterial, or parasitic
loads? Where does this dead material go if the lymphatic system is congested or blocked?
We understand that the lymphatic system is remarkably like the cardiovascular system, because
it includes a network of vessels that assist in circulating body fluids. The lymph is responsible for
filtering potentially harmful particles and for immune “inspection.” Serving as one of the body’s
main vessels of immunity, the lymphatic's primary function is to create immune cells.
The lymphatic system is made up of tissues and organs that consist of lymph vessels, lymph
nodes, and lymph. The adenoids, tonsils, thymus, and spleen are all part of the lymphatic
system. The greatest number of lymph nodes are located in the neck, armpit and groin, where
they defend us against bacteria and other invaders. A lymph node functions like a kitchen
water filter. It purifies lymph before it reaches the veins. Bacteria and other microbes are taken
up by the lymph and delivered to the lymph nodes for destruction. As lymph flows through the
lymph node, at least 99 percent of the antigens in the lymph are removed.
Lymph nodes are an important component of the body's immune system and help in fighting
infections. Infections are the most common causes of swollen lymph nodes. Common infectious
causes of swollen lymph nodes are viral, bacterial, parasites, and fungal. The most common
cause of swollen lymph nodes is viral upper respiratory infections such as the common cold.
Infections caused by swollen lymph nodes is referred to as lymphadenitis.
Lymph nodes are also sometimes referred to as lymph glands, lymph nodes are small rounded
or kidney bean-shaped masses of lymphatic tissue surrounded by a capsule of connective
tissue. It is estimated that the body contains 600–700 lymph nodes, with lymph nodes found in
the center and sides of your chest area, under your arms, in the neck, and down in your groin
area. Your body processes approximately 3 liters of lymph fluid every day.
It is important to understand that our lymph system doesn’t have a way to pump or move
lymph fluid. Your heart pumps your blood through the circulatory system, but you don’t have
an organ to move lymph fluid. Instead, the lymph fluid is pushed through the lymphatic system
by contractions in the lymphatic vessels or by external forces, including muscle contractions
and the movement of your diaphragm. Which is one of the many explanations why daily
exercise is so essential for the body to maintain health. The Lymph nodes can swell (become
congested) if they are not properly managing and passing lymph fluid. As an analogy, imagine a
lot of people trying to get through a doorway. If the door is wide open, those people can pass
easily. But if the door is partially closed, the people get backed up as they try to push their way
through. Basically, the doorway gets clogged or jam-packed.
It is interesting to note that lymph flows in one direction, upward towards the neck. This is
different from our blood system, which flows in a continual loop. Some lymphatic vessels have
valves (similar to the valves in veins), which stop the lymph from running back the wrong way.
There are two drainage areas that make up the lymphatic system. The right drainage area
handles the right arm and chest. The left drainage area clears all of the other areas of the body,
including legs, the lower trunk, the upper left portion of the chest, and the left arm.
Another important lymphatic drainage area to consider is the breast area. Lymph passes from
the nipple, areola and lobules into an intricate network of lymphatic vessels. These drain into a
large group of lymph nodes called Axillary nodes, located in the breast tissue and are of great
importance when considering breast health.
In conclusion when considering a detox many are facing a lymph system that is blocked or
congested, these toxins can become displaced and will not leave the body but just move from
one tissue to the other. Some toxins pulled out in a detox are at a deeper tissue level and can
add to the toxic burden we already face. This can make us much sicker than we were before we
started. How do we know if our lymphatic system is compromised? What if I don’t feel any
swollen lymph nodes? How do we know if a detox is going to help or hurt me?
Thermography is a FDA approved, non-invasive test of the body‘s physiology. Thermography is
simply the measurement of heat. Infrared regulation thermography measures cellular
metabolism coupled with responses of the nervous system to record precise skin temperatures.
The precise measurements are taken over specific organs and target areas such as the breast. It
is able to identify physiology evidence of lymphatic dysregulation and if heavy metal toxicities
are apparent. We have found that approximately 80 percent of our female clients have
lymphatic congestion to one degree or another.
Before you start a detox we suggest you have a thermography scan to provide your doctor.
With this they can help you improve your lymphatic drainage and optimize the entire lymphatic
system before you try any type of detox. Improving your lymphatic system and lymph flow will
strengthen the immune system and thereby enable your body to eliminate, fight and win this
onslaught of toxins, bacteria, and/or heavy metals and bring you to a healthier state of being.
Pamela Klein, NA, FMNP, Certified Thermographer