Lymphatic System: The detox pathway you might be forgetting about.

Lymphatic System: The detox pathway you might be forgetting about.

Are you embarking on a non-toxic lifestyle? That's brilliant! You won't regret it. But there are a few things to consider before you do. Some people can feel worse before they feel better when they suddenly begin making non-toxic choices and removing all the chemicals from their lives. This phenomenon can appertain to your lymphatic system, not to worry! The goal is to make small swaps as you transition your environment (we'll get to those in a minute.)

We also spoke with one of the most knowledgeable people about the lymphatic system, Paula Philips, LMNT, CMLDT (Certified Lymphatic Drainage Therapist), who shared how to support the lymphatic system as we detox our lives. 

Here's what she says...

Fontana: What is your Lymphatic System?

Paula: "The five major detox pathways are through our skin, lungs, kidney, colon, and liver. When we think about "detoxing" or "cleansing" the mainstream protocols tend to focus on ridding toxins from these main pathways. But to effectively decrease your toxic burden, you must also consider the lymphatic system as an integral contributor because it is your body's built-in plumbing that filters out and carries the toxic waste from every cell, tissue, and organ to the major detox pathways."

Fontana: Why is your Lymphatic System important in detoxing? 

Paula: "Unlike your blood which has a pump to circulate it, your lymph does not have a pump, so it moves very, very slowly. If your lymphatic system cannot keep up with an accumulation of chemicals your body is trying to detox, toxins will continue to get reabsorbed into your body. So we must support our lymphatic system in moving the fluid through the body efficiently."

Fontana: What makes up the Lymphatic System?

Lymphatic system depiction

Paula: "It is quite a complex system, but simply there are five major players…."

  • Lymph Fluid: A clear fluid made of cellular debris, toxins, water, excess proteins, fatty deposits, and lymphocytes.
  • Lymphatic vessels: An arrangement of vessels distributed all over the body transporting lymph fluid towards the filtering stations.
  • Secondary Filtering Stations: Lymph nodes, tonsils, spleen, Peyer's patches and mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT). 
  • Primary Filtering Stations: Thymus & Bone Marrow 
  • The Blood Filter: Spleen 

Fontana: What are five activities we can do to support our lymphatic system in detoxing?

Fontana self care for Lymphatics


  1. Get a MLD Treatment

"The single fastest way to support your lymphatic system is a Manual Lymphatic Drainage Treatment. Therapists can move lymph fluid manually throughout your body at a much higher velocity than your body is able to by itself. Lymph fluid usually travels at 10-12 beats per minute. Manual treatment can get up to 120 beats per minute! If you cannot find a local MLD therapist, use a dry brush to manually move the lymph fluid, promoting the lymphatic drainage of toxic waste, which results in many other benefits such as improved immunity and exfoliated skin."

  1. Practice Diaphragmatic Breathing 

"Constant shallow breathing leads to lymphatic congestion. Because the lymphatic system does not have a pump, the act of deep diaphragmatic breathing is the most important facilitator of lymphatic function. Deep diaphragmatic breathing for just 10 minutes daily will oxygenate your blood and support lymph circulation!

  1. Stay Hydrated 

"Lymph flows more efficiently when you are properly hydrated." Paula Says.

(We recommend filtering your water with an AquaTru filter to ensure you are drinking toxin-free, clean water.)

  1. Jump on a rebounder

“The lymphatic system significantly depends on activity in the body for its circulation. One of the worst things you could do for your lymphatic system is to sit all day without movement. The best form of exercise to stimulate your lymph flow is jumping on a rebounder! You don't need to go crazy; gentle bouncing is like a magic bullet for lymph function due to the gravitational pull.”

  1. Pay Attention to Your Diet

“Too much sodium (salty foods) will congest your lymph system, so keep your intake to less than 2,000 milligrams a day. Foods with added sugars will cause fluid retention inside the cells, hindering the normal flow of fluid through the body so try to avoid processed foods altogether. Unhealthy oils and fats like safflower and grapeseed oil raise your lymphatic load so you will want to swap hydrogenated fats and trans fats with healthy fats from whole foods like avocados. Be sure to completely avoid artificial sweeteners, decrease or cut out alcoholic beverages (sorry about that). Alcohol can also increase the lymphatic load tremendously. All in all, aim to eat more organic fruits and vegetables, especially green vegetables, chlorophyll (purifies the lymph and blood) and lots of cruciferous vegetables!”

  1. Swap out your conventional toxic household products

Toxins in pesticides, cleaning solutions, synthetic candles and personal care products can build up in your body and make it harder for you to filter and detox. Remember we said to start small! You can start with these 10 swaps that will make a big impact. 

Thanks to Paula Philips, LMNT, CMLDT we've learned a few important take-aways regarding detoxing and our lymphatic system.

  1. An active lymphatic system will help to reduce your total toxic burden, detox effectively, and revitalize your health!
  2. We learned five critical strategies to support your lymphatic system in daily detoxification. 
  3. And finally, ten swaps you can make now to lower your total toxic burden, support your detoxing body! 

Paula Philips

About Paula Phillips, LMT, ESMT, CMLDT Paula is the owner of Willow Wellness Center. She has been a therapist for 22 years and holds 11 medical massage certifications. Paula specializes in Vodder's Manual Lymphatic Drainage, Neuro-Muscular Therapy, Myofascial Release, Integrative (our form of Swedish), Pre-Natal, Hot Stone, Raindrop (done with essential oils), Equine and Canine Massage. Always leaning towards a holistic approach, Paula believes that the body, given the right environment can heal itself, in most cases.