Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Detoxification 101: The Lymphatic System (Part 4)

 Hello friends,

Today, let's discuss the lymphatic system  as part of our detoxification series. Refer to the links to join in the conversation for the other posts in this series on the Skin and the Liver.

What is the Lymphatic System? 
-The lymphatic system is a major part of the body's immune system. The lymphatic system aids the immune system in removing and destroying waste, toxins, pathogens, dead blood cells, and cancer cells from the body.  In addition, the lymphatic system removes excess fluid and waste from the interstitial spaces between cells.
Basically, it acts as a filtration system.

The lymphatic system does not have a pump! (like the circulatory system). Therefore, it is highly dependent on movement ( such as exercise, dancing, jumping, physical activity, massage etc.) to help it do its job efficiently. I think another great reason to exercise!

It is important to note that if the other elimination organs of the skin, liver, intestines, and kidneys are working at top capacity, then the lymphatic system is able to to do its job even better.
A poor working lymphatic system can cause swelling, joint pain, skin puffiness, nausea etc.

So what makes us the Lymphatic System?
Lymph nodes, bone marrow, the spleen, tonsils, and the thymus gland all make up the Lymphatic system.

Ways to encourage the Lymphatic System to do its jobs:
  1. Exercise. "Nuff said...
  2. Massage...such as the Lymphatic Massage
  3. Dry Skin Brushing - stimulates the lymphatic system to drain and remove from the entire body
  4. A healthy-balanced diet-mostly plants; little processed foods
  5. Sweat - Don't be afraid to sweat. Sweating is a great overall health. Sweating eliminates waste and toxins and helps support a healthy Lymphatic system. 
Well, my friends, I hope this helps. If you have any questions or comments, please do so in the comment section below.

Take Care,

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Detoxification 101: The Skin (Part 3)

Hello friends,

I promised to write a post on the skin being one of the largest elimination organs, so here it is! Please refer to my detoxification post and the liver detox post for more details on detoxification. 

The skin is the largest organ. Yes, the biggest!
Its function is to protect everything else that’s underneath; which means that we need to show our skin constant love and care. The skin also helps to control our body temperature.
The skin is made up of 3 layers:
                The top layer - epidermis (what you see)
                Middle Layer –  the dermis, houses nerve endings, blood vessels, oil glands, sweat glands, collagen and elastin
                Third layer – this is where you can find the subcutaneous tissue (fat).

So now that we’ve quickly gone over the layers, let’s talk about how we can keep our skin healthy via detoxing. 

The epidermis is what we can see, but what we cannot see is the formation of new skin cells. As new skin cells push their way to the epidermis, old skin or dead skin cells slough off.

Did you know that a typical skin cell has a life cycle of about 2 weeks? In fact, we lose about 30,000-40,000 skin cells per minute, every day.

So what does the skin have to do with detoxification?

The process of detoxifying :: removing toxins:: removing impurities::cleansing.

Again, the skin is the largest organ. It is a major detoxifying organ, because it excretes waste via sweat. Also, the skin acts as a respiratory organ- it is porous; it breathes.  For instance, one of the side effects of going through any detox often involves skin blemishes. This is a sign of the detoxification process-toxins being expelled through our pores. Our bodies are constantly cleansing and removing waste, but there are many things that we can do to help that process run more smoothly.

Important note: The skin is a reflection of our insides. In other words, the skin reflects the health of our large intestines and other organs. (this is why daily bowel movements are so important for me). There is  definitely a connection between the large intestines and the skin. When the body has a difficult time removing waste through the colon (i.e. bowel movements), the body finds other avenues to get rid of that waste. And that pathway is usually the skin (gross right!). Pimples, blemishes, acne, cysts all surface as the body tries to get rid of waste. Some people can eat whatever and still have perfect skin, that is not the case for me. My skin is not perfect at all, but it has definitely improved.

It is of utmost importance that we keep our intestines clean. Make a conscious effort to get as much water, veggies and fruits as you can will definitely help to do just that. If you’re being with me for a little while, then you know I do this via my delicious green smoothies. (link ) In summary, a clean large intestine reflects healthier looking skin, but this is just 1 way of keeping the skin clear. There are many other ways:

  1.  Skin Brushing – I’ve never tried this yet, but I hope to do so in the near future. Dry skin brushing is easy to do and the health benefits are amazing. Dry skin brushing improves blood circulation to the skin encouraging the lymphatic system to release toxins and to drain any trapped metabolic waste, thereby, keeping the blood and other tissues clean. Also dry skin brushing reduces cellulite and puffiness. Most visibly, dry skin brushing sloughs away dry, dead skin to help reveal new skin cells. 
  2. Sweating- a great way to detox the body and release toxins and waste. Sweating is good; this is why I’m against deodorants that prevent sweating under the arms for long periods of time. Infrared saunas are especially great for this method of skin detoxing. They encourage sweating and claim to improve circulation and to eliminate heavy metals in the body.   
  3. Exercising- is not only great for the skin, but for overall health. I love cardio workouts for this reason. I get to sweat and my heart gets a great workout.
  4. Baths- not just any bath- A detox bath will definitely assist the body in the elimination of waste and toxins. Ingredients like Epsom salt, baking soda, bentonite clay, essential oils, like lavender, tea tree oil etc. are key to most detox bath recipes.

** These are just some ways to encourage your body to detox via the skin. Please share any other skin detoxification tips. We can all learn from each other. 

I hope this helps,