“Swollen Lymph Nodes” – What your body is telling you.
The lymphatic system is probably most familiar to you by the traditional check of the lymph nodes (or “glands”) around your neck. This typically takes place when a caregiver, or health practitioner feels under your jaw line and down your neck, feeling for tenderness, or lumps. Don’t be fooled, we have lymph nodes in many other areas of our body as well.
The relationship between your immune and lymphatic system is a close one. Unlike the circulatory system which has the heart to pump the blood, the lymphatic system circulates by action of surrounding muscles. The lymph fluid that flows throughout the body is increased when infection is present, resulting in inflammation (for more on inflammation check out this previous post “Inflammation”).
When the body comes in contact with an a virus/bacteria, it must be transported to the lymph nodes in order for the B and T cells of the immune system to react. The result is swelling of lymph nodes, as the immune system takes action. In some cases when the immune system is overburdened there can be chronic swelling of the lymph nodes.
Naturopathic Medicine has many tools to improve lymphatic function so that your immune system can work more effectively.
Try this simple remedy at home. (Don’t worry, like anything it gets easier after the first time)
Alternating hot and cold showers are an invigorating and extremely beneficial to improve lymphatic health.
Contrast showers improve the circulation, increase cellular oxidation, stimulate the immune system, strengthen the nervous system, and help direct toxins out of the tissues and organs.
– 1-3 minutes hot water
– 30 seconds cold water
Over time, learn to increase the contrast in temperatures for better effects (extreme hot to extreme cold – be cautious with hot depending on your hot water settings)
– Repeat 3 times
– End on cold
Ending on cold stimulates the body and has an overall warming effect.
For more tools on how to improve immune health by working on the lymphatic system contact a Naturopathic Doctor.