16 Ways to Detox Your Lymphatic System (2022)

By Marilee Nelson |

16 Ways to Detox Your Lymphatic System (1)

Lymph: The missing link in a liver detox

Thinking about doing a detox cleanse or reducing your chemical exposure? If you've been following along with our Common Household Chemicals to Avoid series, you know how easy it can be to start removing harmful chemicals from your home. Many people get discouraged when they go on a fast or start removing toxins from their lives because they feel sick or feel tired and don’t know why. Why would that happen? One reason may be that the lymphatic system is backed up and not able to keep up with the chemicals the body is trying to unload.

How does the lymphatic system work?

A peak functioning lymphatic system is key to health and vitality, but this critically important part of the body is one that most people don’t appreciate or know much about. Your lymphatic system is your body’s built-in sanitation center, the plumbing that carries away and filters out poisonous waste products from every cell, tissue and organ. It absorbs fats and fat-soluble vitamins from the digestive tract and delivers them to the cells of the body. It is also an essential part of the immune system that maintains fluid levels, fights infection and produces disease fighting white blood cells. Twice as extensive as the arterial blood supply system which brings oxygen and nutrients to the cells, the lymph is the take away garbage collector and is the largest circulatory system in the body. But, the lymphatic system needs your help to move the fluid through the body because it doesn’t have an automatic pump like the heart, which moves the blood in the circulatory system.1

The lymph system is made up of:

  • Lymphatic vessels - a system of vessels distributed all over the body, gathering clear lymphatic fluid, which surrounds the cells. Lymphatic fluid collects and takes metabolic cellular waste, dead cells, and toxins towards the subclavian veins at the base of the neck to be event ually eliminated through sweat, urine, and through the bowels.
  • Lymphocytes - the primary cells of the lymphatic system. There are two major classes of lymphocytes: T cells and B cells. The T cells mature in the thymus, kill invaders, destroy abnormal cells and direct the actions of other lymphocytes. The B cells mature in the bone marrow and produce antibodies that combine with antigens of foreign cells, labeling those cells for destruction.
  • Lymph nodes - filtering stations where lymphocytes along with macrophages (another type of white blood cell) engulf and destroy bacteria and other foreign substances in the lymphatic fluid.2
  • Tonsils, Adenoids, Appendix, and Peyer's patches - small masses of lymphatic tissue that prevent infection in areas where bacteria is abundant.
  • Thymus - a small gland under your breastbone that helps produce white blood cells.
  • Spleen - the organ connected with lymph system that produces lymphocytes.
  • Bone marrow - where lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) are born.

Signs your lymphatic system is backed up

Lymphatic congestion is a major factor leading to inflammation and disease. If the lymph is not flowing well, the cells are poisoned from their own waste and the lymph fluid becomes a toxic cesspool, resulting in fatigue, swelling, infection, inflammation, disease, and more symptoms (see below). A combination of a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, and a toxic environment all contribute to this backup. Rapid improvements in the quality of the cells and blood occur once easy lifestyle changes are made so that the lymphatic system is activated and working efficiently.

(Video) Top 15 Ways To Detox Your Lymphatic System

16 Ways to Detox Your Lymphatic System (2)

  • Headaches
  • Brain fog
  • Swollen lymph nodes or tonsils
  • Lack of energy
  • Recurrent sore throats
  • Morning mucous
  • Mucous drainage (especially after dairy or flour)
  • Fluid backup in the ear (especially in children)
  • Ear popping and ringing
  • Reduced ability to fight infection (frequent cold or flu)
  • Constipation or slugging bowel function
  • Inability to lose weight
  • Soreness or stiffness in the morning
  • Bloating, swelling, or heaviness in extremities
  • Arms or hands fall asleep while sleeping
  • Pain, pressure, or stiffness along your spine and shoulders
  • Sore breast or breast swelling with your menstrual cycle
  • Itchy skin
  • Acne, dry skin or other skin issues

What backs up the lymph?

  • Lack of Movement: Proper lymphatic flow requires deep breathing and body movement - the contraction of skeletal muscles force tiny one- way valves of the lymph system to open and close and push the fluid to the subclavian veins.
  • Dehydration: Being dehydrated can contribute to poor lymphatic drainage and cause lymphatic stagnation.
  • Stress: The waste products of stress-fighting hormones are acidic and an acidic body leads to lymph congestion.
  • Chronic Digestive Imbalance: Chronic constipation or diarrhea due to damaged intestinal villi promotes lymph congestion.
  • Processed Foods: An unhealthy diet, particularly one containing processed foods and bad fats, will lead to a sluggish lymphatic system.
  • Chemical Exposures: When your body is exposed to harmful chemicals in skin and body care products, cleaning products or pesticides, it may be unable to unload or detoxify immediately.

How to detox the lymphatic system

An active lymphatic system will help to reduce your toxic body burden, increase circulation, and revitalize your health. Here are many options that will get your lymphatic system moving and pumping out toxins. You’ll find that some of these tips are fun to put into action, many of them are inexpensive or free, and most involve minimal time and effort. Pick three or four suggestions that work for you and put them into practice for 10 days – experience the difference it makes in your energy and wellbeing.

1. Take a few minutes for deep breathing

Fact: Although the lymphatic system has no pump like the heart in the circulatory system, the movement from the act of breathing, that we do 24/7, is a lymphatic pump in itself and can help direct lymph through the chest. Proper breathing is the most important facilitator of lymphatic function. Constant shallow breathing leads to lymphatic congestion. Tip: Augment the circulation of lymph through deep diaphragmatic breathing. Breathe in slowly through your nose, deeply pushing the stomach out. Slowly let your breath go out through your mouth. Deep, slow diaphragmatic breathing for even just 5-10 repetitions (or up to 10 minutes a day) will oxygenate the blood, circulate the lymph especially around the liver, and provide many other benefits. If possible, do this exercise outdoors in fresh air. Video demonstration: Diaphragmatic Breathing.

2. Hydrate daily with water

Fact: Dehydration is a common cause of lymph congestion. Lymph becomes thicker and less mobile when you are dehydrated, but flows well when hydrated. Water, and truly only pure water, can adequately rehydrate the body. Tip: The best lymph-moving rehydration technique is to sip hot, purified water every 15 minutes throughout the day. Keep a thermos of hot water nearby to make it easy. Don’t overcompensate - we are not promoting overdrinking. Use urine color to help determine hydration level - if your urine is clear, you are drinking too much water. Helpful chart: Dehydrated Urine Colors.

3. Dry brush your skin

Fact: Dry skin brushing promotes lymphatic drainage of toxic waste, which results in many other benefits such as improved immunity, refreshed skin, and reduction of cellulite.3 Tip: Start a habit of dry skin brushing a few minutes before your shower or bathe using an inexpensive natural bristle brush. You can find these in many retail shops, health stores, and online. Hard pressure is not necessary - the lymphatic system is close to the surface of the skin and it only takes a light pressure to release congestion. MindBodyGreen has a helpful step by step guide to dry skin brushing. Green Smoothie Girl has made a downloadable pdf (and video) showing two different brushing methods.

4. Alternate hot and cold in your shower

Fact: Lymphatic vessels contract when exposed to cold, and dilate in response to heat. A hot and cold shower is a type of hydrotherapy that uses the properties of water temperature and pressure to move stagnant lymphatic fluid, increase circulation, boost immune function and metabolism. Tip: After dry skin brushing, super charge your morning shower experience by alternating hot and cold water for between 90 seconds and several minutes.4 Be sure to always end on cold water. Note: Avoid this if you are pregnant, or if you have a heart or blood pressure condition.

(Video) How to Detoxify Your Lymphatic System

5. Move around whenever you can

Fact: The lymphatic system depends largely on large muscle activity in the body for its circulation. Stagnation from sitting all day is a major problem. People who sit at their computers without taking breaks develop a sluggish lymph system because they do not move. Tip: Get up to clean up! The good news is any exercise helps - move around for a minute or two every 15 – 20 minutes, do knee bends, go for a walk during lunch, stretch throughout the day and develop a regular exercise routine. Gentle exercise like walking, stretching, rebounding (see below), and swimming are great for moving the lymph.

6. Go for a walk

Fact: One of the best ways to activate lymphatic flow is to take a brisk walk. Walking is a weight-bearing activity that creates gravitational pulls on the lymphatic system each time you take a step. Tip: Plan to take a 15-30 minute brisk walk each day. Swing your arms and power walk for the best results. If you are not up to that, even a leisurely walk will be helpful.5

7. Jump on a rebounder

Fact: The use of a small trampoline - a “rebounder” - is one of the most efficient ways to reduce lymphatic congestion, stimulate lymph flow, and exercise every cell in the body. Gentle up and down bouncing turbo charges lymph function. The gravitational pull caused by the bouncing causes the one-way lymphatic valves to open and close, moving the lymph.6 Tip: To get the most benefit out of rebounding, start with The Health Bounce - gently bouncing up and down without your feet leaving the mat. This is a very low impact exercise and very effective at moving your lymphatic system - just two minutes clears the lymph. Build up intensity slowly as rebounding can release too many toxins if you jump in too fast.

8. Bounce on an exercise ball

Fact: If you don’t have a rebounder, you can utilize the same gravitational pull principle as the rebounder by using an inexpensive exercise ball or yoga ball. Tip: Always start with a short bouncing time and simple, gentle movements. Even small movements for short periods of time can be very effective in moving the lymph. Build up the intensity of the exercise slowly. Video demonstration:

(Video) How To Cleanse Your Lymphatic System

Rebounding to Activate the Lymphatic System


9. Stretch or practice yoga daily

Fact: Stretching and yoga poses are especially effective for moving lymph. Tip: Holding stretches combined with conscious deep breathing can help direct lymph through the deep channels of the chest.

10. Get a lymph massage

Fact: Lymphatic massage reduces swelling, helps detoxify the body, and helps speed regeneration of tissues and cells. You can go for a whole body massage or focus on targeted areas. For example, backed up lymphatic fluid in the head can contribute to head congestion, stuffiness, feeling of pressure in the head or ears, sinus congestion, vertigo, dizziness, even insomnia.7 A simple self-massage can be used to bring that fluid down from the head. This is a great technique for cold and allergies season. Tip: Schedule a lymphatic massage with a professional lymphatic massage therapist or do your own self massage. Video demonstration: Lymphatic Drainage for the Legs. Try a head massage before bed to improve sleep or in the morning to reduce facial puffiness. Video demonstration: Self Lymphatic Draining Massage.

11. Far infrared sauna

Fact: Far infrared saunas provide a gentle, side-effect-free, effective mechanism for detoxification. Their waves penetrate deep into the human body, elevating the body's surface temperature, activating circulation, sweating and excretion of toxins from the lymph and blood through the skin. The heat also increases your heart rate and encourages deeper breathing, which boosts the drainage process even further. Tip: If you have access to an infrared sauna, take advantage of this effective lymphatic activator. Practice conscious deep breathing during your sauna to supercharge lymphatic drainage. Take a break every 15 minutes to shower in cold water for 30 seconds to promote even more circulation and stimulation of the lymph.

12. Wear natural fibers & loose, comfortable clothing

Fact: The chemicals in synthetic clothing (made from petrochemicals) are absorbed through the skin, taken up by the lymphatic system and added to the body’s burden of toxins. Tight-fitting clothes can also contribute to a myriad of problems, including restricted lymph flow. Tip: Wear comfortable clothes made from natural fibers such as cotton, silk, flax/linen, wool, or other natural fibers.8

13. Consider your bras and underwear

Fact: The breast, arm and upper chest area are drained by a large cluster of lymph nodes found in the armpit. Underwire bras or any bra that leaves red marks or indentations from being too tight interferes with lymphatic circulation and may contribute to swollen lymph nodes, fibrocystic breast tissue and breast cancer.9 For men, tight pants and briefs restrict the flow of lymphatic fluid in the testicles causing toxic buildup, which can lead to infertility and greater chance of developing cancer.10 Tip: Avoid underwire bras (particularly with metal underwires) or any tight-fitting bra that is constricting. Buy natural fiber bras and go bra-free when possible. As a general rule, choose loose-fitting pants and underwear made of natural fibers.

(Video) Lymph Cleansing Breathing Exercise | TAKE A DEEP BREATH | Breathing Exercises

14. Cosmetics and skin care products

Fact: Your skin is the largest organ of elimination and absorption—what goes on the skin goes into the body, into the lymph and adds to the trash load. Tip: Avoid products that include synthetic preservatives, fragrances, foaming agents, and other harmful synthetic chemicals. Instead, seek out cosmetics and skin care products that use safe, plant-based or food-grade ingredients, as they will ultimately be absorbed through your skin and processed by your lymph.

15. Eat Whole Foods, especially healthy fats, fruits & veggies

Fact: Consuming processed foods, junk food, fast foods, sugary drinks, unhealthy fats, refined flour and sugar can cause inflammation and create lymphatic system congestion. Tip: Eat more fruits and vegetables, especially green vegetables. Chlorophyll purifies the lymph and blood. Eat healthy organic fats such as nuts and seeds, avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, organic ghee and butter.

16. Drink herbal teas that affect the lymph

Fact: There are herbal teas that step up lymphatic action such as red clover, astragalus, mullein, goldenseal, fenugreek, ginger, wild indigo root, sarsaparilla, golden seal and olive leaf tea. Tip: Try to incorporate one of these teas or a blend of several of these into your daily routine. Teas are most effective if you drink several cups over the course of the day. If you are pregnant, nursing, or on medication consult an herbalist or a naturopath before drinking these teas.

Understanding how the lymph works and what to do to mobilize your lymphatic system is priceless information. It can make the difference in smoother detox process, catching or not catching a cold, or having a “flu-free winter”. The exciting news is that keeping the lymph moving doesn’t have to cost money – just move with a few daily exercises, drink plenty of water, and eat healthy food. When the lymph is working, the complexion glows and the body is full of vitality; and if you become ill, you have tools to help regain your health. This is a fundamental part of a conscious preventive health care plan.


    16 Ways to Detox Your Lymphatic System? ›

    How to detox the lymphatic system
    • Take a few minutes for deep breathing. ...
    • Hydrate daily with water. ...
    • Dry brush your skin. ...
    • Alternate hot and cold in your shower. ...
    • Move around whenever you can. ...
    • Go for a walk. ...
    • Jump on a rebounder. ...
    • Bounce on an exercise ball.
    Aug 20, 2021

    What can I drink to cleanse my lymphatic system? ›

    Stay well-hydrated by sipping warm purified water throughout the day to help keep your lymph flowing well. Avoid sugar-laden soft drinks, processed juices, sports drinks, and alcohol, which add an additional metabolic burden on the body as well as too much caffeine, which dehydrates the body.

    What is the best lymphatic system cleanse? ›

    Some of the best cleansing foods for the lymphatic system are:
    1. Leafy green vegetables.
    2. Low sugar fruits.
    3. Ground flaxseed.
    4. Chia seeds.
    5. Avocados.
    6. Garlic.
    7. Brazil nuts.
    8. Almonds.
    Nov 1, 2021

    How long does it take to clean lymphatic system? ›

    A person should schedule a series of sessions (one Lymphatic Detox Treatment per week for three weeks) and continue treatment until they notice a change. Treat yourself to one or two lymphatic drainage sessions every three months if you experience a high frequency of common colds, allergies or headaches.

    How can I repair my lymphatic system naturally? ›

    7 Ways You Can Naturally Care For Your Lymph
    1. Lymphatic drainage massage. ...
    2. Exercise. ...
    3. Deep breathing. ...
    4. Dry brushing. ...
    5. Clean up your diet. ...
    6. Wear loose clothing. ...
    7. Stay hydrated.
    May 22, 2020

    How do I drain my lymphatic myself? ›

    Place your flat hands on either side of your neck, just under your ears. Gently stretch the skin back (away from your face) and down, then release. Try to massage your neck in a slow, gentle way, following a rhythm. Repeat 10 to 15 times.

    What foods are good for lymphatic drainage? ›

    Nutrition and The Lymphatic System
    • Green Leafy Vegetables. Includes spinach, kale, chard, arugula, collard greens, beet greens, etc. ...
    • Cruciferous Vegetables. Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts. ...
    • Berries. ...
    • Omega-3's. ...
    • Nuts and seeds. ...
    • Herbs and spices (turmeric, ginger, garlic) ...
    • Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Coconut Oil.

    How do I know if my lymphatic system is clogged? ›

    1) Soreness/Stiffness – If you often wake up sore or stiff in the morning, you may have sluggish or congested lymph fluid. You may also notice that you feel pain that tends to move around place to place in the body.

    What tea is good for lymph nodes? ›

    What is the best tea for swollen lymph nodes?
    • Red Root.
    • Peppermint.
    • Ginger Root.
    • Calendula.
    • Cleavers.
    • Echinacea.
    • Chamomile.
    Apr 6, 2022

    Is Magnesium good for lymph nodes? ›

    Magnesium is significantly higher in lymph nodes of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma compared with Hodgkin's lymphoma and normal values, but is not altered significantly in spleen tissues. The distribution of the other elements examined is not altered significantly in malignant lymphomas.

    How do you fix lymphatic blockage? ›

    Treatment options may include:
    1. Exercise. Exercise helps to restore flexibility and strength, and it improves drainage. ...
    2. Bandage. Wearing a customized compression sleeve or elastic bandage may help to prevent an accumulation of fluid.
    3. Arm pump. ...
    4. Diet. ...
    5. Keep the arm raised. ...
    6. Infection Prevention.

    What is a lymphatic tea? ›

    Description: This mineral-rich herbal blend is designed to drain the lymphatic system. It helps to. disperse lymphatic congestion (swelling in your lymph glands), improves nutrient absorption, and. enhances immune function. The ingredients in this tea work together to clean and tone the lymphatic.

    Does apple cider vinegar help the lymphatic system? ›

    Apple cider vinegar's potassium content helps to break up mucus in the body and clearing the lymph nodes. This also aids in the removal of toxins.

    How do you flush lymph nodes in your neck? ›

    Place you hand on your collarbone. Move your hand down your chest in half circles toward your underarm. Massage your chest to help reduce swelling. This massage will move the lymph fluid from your neck and chest to your underarm lymph vessels and nodes.

    What juice is good for lymph nodes? ›

    Raw beets are powerful lymphatic cleansers since they thin the bile for more effective fat digestion and scrub the intestinal villi where the lymphatic vessels originate to keep the lymph flowing. Try fresh raw beet juice or grated raw beets in your salad to enjoy these lymph-cleansing benefits.

    Does lemon water help lymphatic system? ›

    1) Drink warm lemon water every morning.

    It flushes your system, helps eliminate overnight build up and provides the necessary fluid to perform all day long. The lemon provides the added benefit of alkalizing the fluid and mineralizing the body and the lymphatic system.

    Does apple cider vinegar help the lymphatic system? ›

    Apple cider vinegar's potassium content helps to break up mucus in the body and clearing the lymph nodes. This also aids in the removal of toxins.


    1. 365 Lymphatic Detox Exercise Style 16 - Sit up
    (365 Cancer Prevention Society)
    2. A cleanse won't detox your body -- but here's what will | Body Stuff with Dr. Jen Gunter
    3. 5 Best Ways To Drain Your Lymph
    (Foods That Heal You Catherine)
    4. Lymphatic System: Crash Course Anatomy & Physiology #44
    5. هذا هو السبب الرئيسي لجميع أمراضكم والحل بسيط لا يريد أن يفصح عنه الأطباء
    (أسرار العقل)
    6. Lymphatic Self Massage Follow Along - Step 5: Underarm [Part 5 of 16]
    (UHN Patient Education)

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