Our lymph system is the watershed that drains the body of cellular wastes (acids) AND excess weight. Click to enlarge.

Our cells live in a lymph swimming pool.  The lymph fluid is a medium of cellular nutrient and trash exchange.  The blood brings it nutrients through the capillaries.  AND then the lymph collects and takes out the trash (cellular debris), or, is supposed to.  It comprises the watershed of the whole body.   If these wastes are not removed, our tissues suffer in a low nutrient acid swamp.  Where lymph is stagnant, the tissue will feel sore to the touch, even painful, often swollen, creating a stiffness and tiredness in the areas not being drained, causing weight gain and in more advanced cases, the nerves will register a constant burning sensation, and tumors, cysts and cancer can result.  Most successful cancer treatments address lymph stagnation and attribute this stagnation to the beginning development of cancer.  Way back in the 1920s and 1930s cancer was associated with lymph stagnation and was treated successfully with Hydrochloric Acid Therapy.   In the document compiling experiences of medical doctors using Hydrochloric Acid is found this quote echoed by many medical doctors…

“In remarkable accord with the view that lymph stasis is the greatest general physiological factor which lays the foundation of cancer, is the flood of evidence coming from many quarters that papilloma or adenoma is the precursor of carcinoma of every variety…If, as I maintain, the papilloma or papillary adenoma is the characteristic product of local lymphatic obstruction, we are getting near to the conclusion that all carcinomas are the result of local lymphatic obstruction.”

So for these reasons it is important to relieve any lymph congestion in the body.  Lymph accumulations in the body also are a common type of weight gain which is very stubborn because it does not respond to most weight loss approaches.  Lymph has a very specific exit path which must be considered for successful removal.

A Very Little Physiology: Cellular debris is collected from the interstitial fluid through the lymphangia (tiny tubes).  After being sucked or pressured into the lymphangia, debris continues through lymph channels, then through lymph nodes where the lymph fluid is processed to remove harmful substances.  Like a watershed, all the lymph of the body returns through this drainage system and the processed lymph fluid dumps back into the blood stream at the sub-clavicular veins under the collarbones.   When any of these lymphatic vessels are constricted or blocked, stagnated lymph fluid accumulates in the tissue serviced by those vessels.  Then problems begin.


Here are some underlying CAUSES of lymph stasis

1.   Stress causes a nervous contraction of the muscles and a narrowing of the pipes returning the lymph.

The direction of lymph flow on the front of the body is shown here and is always toward the nodes. Blockages create swelling and pain.

Smaller diameter pipes mean slower transport of fluid.  More stress means more cellular debris, more contraction, less lymph movement.  (This is like pinching off the downspouts of your storm gutters.)   However, if sufficiently nourished, the nerves will relax and the diameter expands and proper drainage occurs again.  Folic Acid (#1585-8) 1B, 1D along with Hawthorn Berries (#370-3) 3B, 3D will help here.  If you encounter much stress add Chinese Stress Relief (#1863-5) 3B, 3D.  Other solutions are given below.

2.  ‘Thick’ lymph fluids also create a sluggish flow.  The lymph is thick because the blood is thick.  The blood is thick because the bile is thick.  The bile is thick because the liver is congested.  The liver is congested when there is excess cellular debris  usually caused by poor digestion and tissue inflammation.  AND digestion gets congested when we eat more than we can breakdown at one time.  In these kinds of cases, enzymes can help, but you may not be supplying the needed enzymes with the formula you are taking.  THE major contributor to thick bile production by the liver  is consumption of too much carbs and improperly processed grains.

There are anti-cancer protocols which employ large doses of certain kinds of proteolytic enzymes between meals.  The action of these is to digest the debris in the lymph IF the enzymes can even get in there.  Proteolytic enzymes therapy is a good therapy but it doesn’t work for some for these reasons.  The best herbal remedies for thick lymph are good ole Echinacea (#263-8) 3B, 3D along with some Rose Hips (#580-1) 4B, 4D.  (More below).

Direction of posterior lymphatic drainage. Note area C, D & E drain to the front of the body

Sound like cold remedies? Well, duh. If your lymph cannot drain you will make boils or mucus to flush out the debris (Plan B) that can clog the head, ears, throat, sinus, etc.  To avoid this problem NEVER over tax your body’s ability to reduce the food you eat to usable energy.  This causes weight gain by the domino effect described above and this weight is difficult to lose.

3.   Medical/surgical intervention interrupts lymphatic return as does radiation poisoning (resulting in tissue inflammation/destruction).  If sufficiently nourished and energized, your body should be able to  redirect the lymph fluid flow, because new lymph vessels cannot grow through scarred or fibrosed tissue.  But notice how often cancer is found to return in the vicinity of the surgical scars formed when cancerous growths were removed.  To resolve part of the problem created by scarring the body, a cold laser is very useful as are castor oil packs.  In fact, this treatment should be used to minimize any scarring of the body (including episiotomies) as these scars interfere with the body’s communication needed to function well.  Pulsed EMF is also very helpful here.

Here are some REMEDIES for lymph stasis

Unless you clear liver function you may have a difficult time clearing the lymph.

CAUTION If, after embarking on any lymphatic drainage technique below, you get flu-like symptoms, nauseous or you detect any abdominal discomfort on the right hand side under the ribs (liver area),  STOP and do the Gentle Liver Cleanse for at least a month.  Add the MSM and NAC as well.  This means the lymph you are releasing is taxing to your already congested and possibly sulfur deficient liver.  I have seen this many times.  Don’t gut-it-out.  Be patient.  Cleanse the liver!!  Then pick up moving the lymph where you left off.

A more complete protocol for removing debris from the body is found here.  There are several ‘lymph drainage’ methods adjunctive to herbal therapy which I list below.  If you have not noticed a difference when using these, you may find that after herbal intervention, they become much more effective.  I encourage you to pick one or two to do regularly especially if your family has cancer occurrences.

1.  The herbal lymphatic cleanse (which works well with the non-herbal interventions given below) involves proteolytic enzymes and lymphatic cleaners.  A step by step thorough protocol is found here.
Take 3-4 Proactazyme Plus (#1525-0) between meals, i.e. on an empty stomach.  If you already have other enzymes like Protease Plus(#1841-7), 2 or High Potency Protease (#1876-1), 2, you can use these instead.  If the stagnated lymph was largely created by poor digestion, then the enzymes should be taken at meals too.  Enzymes have been empirically shown to improve the circulation of red blood cells needed for life.
Then take Lymph Gland Cleanse-HY (#920-3),  2 with each meal.   This formula has been proven to be effective for abscesses, swollen glands, colds, sore throat and earaches – all symptoms of lymphatic congestion.  If this doesn’t resolve these issues the lymph is backed up someplace else.
If the lymph nodes seem to be clogged/swollen/painful, then Astragalus (#40-1) 3B, 3D and/or Chinese Trigger Immune Conc (#1034-0) 2B, 2D become very important, especially if tests show low WBC counts.  (WBCs populate the lymph nodes to digest debris.)


Non-Herbal Interventions

2.  The easiest and cheapest way to move lymph in your body is by simple rebounding.  For people who are already in pain or report stiffness or soreness, I recommend to NOT force yourself to exercise, but rather to do gentle rebounding instead.  This is an easy and effective way to circulate oxygen to your tissue and move lymph from it.  Many people report to me they are less stiff even after 1 minute.   Include deep breathing for an extra boost.  Heed the caution given above.

3.  The Chi Machine or Swing Machine is a wonderful passive exercise device that gently moves the body and the lymph therein.  Generally the sessions are about 10-15 minutes and are said to be equivalent of 90 minutes of walking in terms of blood oxygenation or an hour’s worth of lymphatic massage in terms of relieving lymph stagnation which also increases oxygenation.  Include deep breathing for an extra boost.

4.  The NeuroLymphatic Drainage points (or Chapman’s Reflexes) are useful to relax the nerve contraction of the drainage pathways often caused by stress and trauma described in Cause #1 above.  Chapman found that massaging specific points helped drain certain areas of the body.  And all you need is your hands.

5.  ElectroMedicine Devices.  The Light Beam Generator (LBG) is useful (but very expensive) when the congestion is due to lots of protein debris clogging the lymph nodes and channels.  The LBG ionizes the particles with the same charge causing them to repel each other and the log jam to loosen up and drain single file.    Similarly, blood electro-micropulsing and the pulsed EMF device (which is much less costly than the LBG), can accelerate lymph movement and are used to accelerate healing.  These electro medicine devices are not as useful when the etiology of the problem is Cause #1 above.  They are extremely important in Cause #2 and maybe #3.  Heed the caution given above.

6.  Deep diaphragmatic breathing increases the rate of toxic elimination in the lymphatics by as much as 15 times the normal rate.  During muscular exercise the muscles pump the lymph so that regular exercise also prevents stagnation.  People with a lot of weight around the middle will often report that they do not breathe deeply or that they often hold their breath.  So to move the lymph – do the breathing exercises. How easy is that?  And cheap.  Put it on the schedule, no really.  If you are really fatigued and health compromised by medical treatment, set a timer and every hour do one of the breathing exercises – you can do them while reclining – even in the hospital!

7.  The IonCleanse Foot Bath is an effective therapy for those who have much debris and acids contained in the lymph.  Those with edema, chronic stiffness, inflammation, gout,  and some kinds of pain, experience the most noticeable relief from the foot bath. Since these problems are most often associated with acid tissue waste and/or compromised kidney function, the IonCleanse acts as an adjunct to removing these toxins (including chemical and heavy metal toxicity) from the body like a skin dialysis.  The advantage to this device is that it takes some of the toxic load off the liver.  The disadvantage is that the ion exchange at the skin pulls out both good and bad substances from the lymph and this device can be (and is often) overdone.

8.   Hydrochloric Acid Therapy is a specific and old treatment for lymphatic congestion especially Cause #2 above.  Documentation of its effectiveness is found in archived reports from the 1920’s and 1930’s.  For example cancer was routinely resolved with this therapy and it was thought that cancer was a result of lymphatic congestion (#2).  You can do this at home as I describe in the link.

9.  A technique called ‘manual lymphatic drainage’ may be useful, but I have found that the surface shaking techniques are more effective after doing Chapman’s reflexes or the LBG and herbal therapy (good ole Echinacea (#263-8) 3B, 3D along with some Rose Hips (#580-1) 3B, 3D) and possibly, depending on the etiology of the problem, the enzyme cleanse in 1 above.

©Pat Block ND 2007  Revised 2011


11 Responses to Lymph Techniques

  1. os says:

    how about dry brushing?

    • PatBlockND says:

      Hey os,
      Yes skin brushing is excellent for activating surface lymphatic stagnation manifesting as surface swellings. But the lymph has a long way to go from there and has many opportunities for stagnation. I love skin brushing to resolve swellings from bites and stings but if the channels are blocked deeper in the body, such relief is temporary.

  2. Corrina says:

    Thank you for a wonderful article, I have a large abdominal scar after a radical hysterectomy (horizontal, above my pubic area) and I am trying to reroute the lymph around it as it is getting congested under my scar. I have just started dry skin brushing and am unsure when I get to this area which direction I should be brushing?


    • PatBlockND says:

      Hey Corrina,
      Sorry about your surgical scar. You can address the scar in 3 ways.
      1. Apply MSM Glucosamine cream
      2. Do a light circular massage on the area with this cream DAILY to keep adhesions from forming (after the wound has healed.)
      3. Use a cold laser to reintegrate the tissue. Some chiros have this kind of laser which will also help.
      All of these things will also help the intelligent body reroute the drainage AND energetic flows through that area.

    • Marsha says:

      According to article just read, drainage is toward groin or inguinal area below the navel, toward armpits above. You may need to direct the flow around the scar tissue using a gentle pressure. Some articles will be more general and others quite specific and complex. Deep pressure is generally contra-indicated and can damage the system so try and feel where it wants to go. Look for the least puffy because some collection sites get congested and less functional. I hope this addresses your question about brushing and adds to manual therapy help as well.

  3. Louise says:

    I’m looking for things to help with lymph node abscesses in goats, a chronic disease called Caseous Lymphadenitis (people get it too). I’m looking to treat my beautiful dairy herd that conventional vet care says CULL (having infected them with their sloppy practices).

    • PatBlockND says:

      Hey Louise,
      People suffer lymphatic congestion often because the liver becomes congested. So the first step is often clearing the liver. If you can get capsules in a goat, I would consider Paavo Airolas Liver Cleanse Formula, about 2 per day. If this doesn’t begin to make a dif then the lymph has been congested a long time and you will need to add a lymphatic formula to loose it and move it. But first I’d see how much benefit you can get from clearing the liver.

      • Ruthann Davis says:

        Louise’s inquiry is similar to mine. I too have a goat with a hardened udder. It came as a result of a puncture wound that occurred about 6 months ago. I would like to try a lymph cleansing method but wonder if ruminants (and thus their digestive process) would require a different approach than we humans. I do not believe that this is CAE.

        Any insights would be greatly appreciated.

        • PatBlockND says:

          Hey Ruthann,
          The herbal combination E-Tea comes to mind as a gentle lymphatic cleanser. I don’t have experience with goats but when trash gets stuck and hardness forms, this formula is helpful. Another one developed by a vet is All cell Detox but I’d start with the milder one first.

  4. Ceci says:

    Hello Pat.
    I need a lymphatic cleanse, Should I do first the enema and then the drinkable part? how many days do I need to drink the HCI with water?
    Thank you very much for your kind help

    • PatBlockND says:

      Hello Ceci,
      I have found that the lymph will stagnate when the liver is congested. Trying to move lymph with a stagnated liver will produce a Herx reaction where you have flu-like symptoms. Therefore I recommend you cleanse the liver before doing any lymph moving and sometimes the lymph will start to drain on its own.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.