Exercise Your Lymph.

Think of your lymphatic system like the oil in a car: a vehicle cannot function without it and it needs to be cleaned and replaced on a regular basis or any debris and dirt will erode the engine, clog it up, and prevent it from working properly. The same can be said of the lymphatic system in the body, sadly, we change the oil in our car much more often than we cleanse our lymph system.

The lymph system is the most abused and overlooked in an average human's lifestyle. Many people do not even know they have a lymph system or what it's purpose is. There's more lymph fluid in your body than blood, but there is no organ to pump it through the body and this is why regular, daily exercise is so important. Most people equate exercise with only being necessary to prevent being overweight, rarely is it ever mentioned even by doctors or exercise instructors that exercise is vital to the lymphatic system working properly.

Often considered part of the immune system, the lymphatic system is essential to keeping the body free of debris caused by normal bodily functions, such as the death and rebuilding of cells, the processing of fats and proteins, and the elimination of toxins not only in our environment, but those created during cell respiration and normal bodily functions. It's job is also to help rid the body of harmful viruses and germs - which is why it's considered part of the immune system. Actually, the bodies immune defenses use the lymph system as a form of transport for cleansing of the blood, tissues and cells of harmful toxins, debris, viruses, fats and any other unnecessary and harmful by-products of life - similar to the way an automobile's engine uses oil not just as a lubricant but as a way to eliminate metal shavings and grime that are produced as an engine functions and wears. When you experience a cold, that drainage in your nasal passages from mucus is your lymphatic system at work to rid your body of the virus. This is why it is not REALLY beneficial to stop your sinuses from draining when you have a cold by using cold medications or sinus medications that stop sinus drainage. These medications block the body's natural removal system and make a cold last much longer. If you want to get rid of a cold as quickly as possible, do not hinder the body's natural way of dealing with it by blocking up your sinuses. Yes, it's very inconvenient to have a drippy nose, but letting it drain will clear it up that much faster. Sure, while at work, it may not be possible to let your nose drain, but when you're not at work you should allow it to do so.

The lymph system works in a specific direction. It flows from the outer extremities toward the chest and cleanses the blood before it re-enters the heart, but as mentioned above, there is not a mechanism or pump in the body that does this. Lymph circulates throughout the body only with exercise and movement, good circulation and deep breathing. It doesn't take much to keep the lymph flowing adequately. As little as 15 minutes of aerobic or whole body movement each day can increase the efficiency of your lymph system by 25%. It's very beneficial to this system to exercise in smaller durations but more frequently throughout the day than to do all of your exercise at once. Meaning, it's more beneficial to workout aerobically for say 15-30 minutes once in the morning and once in the evening than working out for an hour and that's it for the rest of the day. A sedentary lifestyle - which so many of us have because we sit behind a desk or computer for 8 hours straight - not only causes weight gain and poor circulation, it prevents the lymphatic system from functioning as it should and in some people who are typically very inactive couch potatoes, their lymph system is only functioning at about 20% of it's normal capacity: not nearly enough for adequate health and regulation of the body.

Symptoms of a Clogged Lymphatic System :

- If you have constant tenderness along the sides of your breasts and under your armpits when you press in that area, you should practice a good lymph cleanse program regularly.

- If you feel sluggish, chances are so is your lymphatic system.

- If you are exposed to chemicals in your food, the air you breathe, or your environment in any way, your lymph system will eventually get overloaded. (This is pretty much all of us these days.)

- If you are experiencing hormone problems of any kind, such as hot flashes or night sweats, help your lymph to remove those excess hormones. Also, stay away from foods in plastic as they contain high amounts of chemical hormones.

- If you frequently have a bloated stomach or digestion problems. There are many lymph nodes in the digestive tract and system.

- Itchy skin and breakouts similar to a rash.

- Constant tension in the neck and shoulders.

- If you have any of the following symptoms, they could be early signs of lymphoma, or lymph cancer and you should seek immediate medical help: swollen glands that last for longer than a week and you do not have a cold or other virus. Swelling or lumps in the neck and face area or under the armpits or sides of the breasts. Constant headaches, skin lesions, extreme fatigue and loss of appetite. Sudden extreme weight loss.

The best ways to optimize your lymph system :

Detoxing the Right Way: While it's important to detox on a regular basis, it's important to do it the correct way or you can end up feeling worse not better. When you detox, toxins and fats get dumped into your lymph system and bloodstream. Many health experts are now recommending detoxing as part of your normal health maintenance regimen, but they fail to mention the most important part of any detox is also supporting the elimination avenues while detoxing so as not to overload your bloodstream with too much waste and toxins at once, which will make you feel much worse before you start to feel better. Detox experts may mention drinking plenty of water to support elimination by the kidneys, or eating plenty of fiber to help the bowels, but we've rarely ever seen them say anything about how important it is to help out the lymphatic system during a detox. Which doesn't really make them a detox expert, does it?

- Fresh fruit, eaten on an empty stomach, contains natural enzymes and acids to aid in digestion and elimination by the lymph system. Especially good fruits for this are pineapple, papaya, cherries, peaches and apples. Sip fruit juice while at work in between meals.

- The chlorophyll in green, leafy vegetables aids in purifying the blood and lymph.

- Beneficial herbs to cleanse the lymph include: astragalus, echinacea, goldenseal, red clover, cleavers or dandelion root.

- When in the shower, use a back brush or scrub brush and brush your skin on your legs and arms toward your heart - in the same direction lymph flows.

- Alternating hot and cold to the body, such as using a hot tub and then cooling off in a cold shower, or like some cultures do, jumping into a snow bank, will not only increase circulation but improve lymph flow. (And you thought those people who use a sauna or hot tub then jump into a snow bank were crazy. Turns out they know something about the lymphatic system that most people don't)

- Exercise or Yoga: If you can't do aerobic-type exercise or zumba, jazzercise or any other whole body workout, then yoga is much better than nothing. Once in the morning and once in the evening, yoga will still get your individual body parts moving and stretching to get that lymph moving. Do yoga that works on stretching and constantly moving your sides, under arms, lower back and stomach area in particular.

- Massage: Most massage therapists are familiar with doing massage to benefit the lymphatic system. If you tell them you want to specifically receive massage to benefit the cleansing of your lymph system, they will concentrate their massage to the areas where the most lymph nodes are located; such as the neck and shoulders, under arms and sides, lower back and abdomen. You can massage most of these areas yourself as well, but getting the back of the shoulders may be a challenge. Rolling around on the floor with a small tennis ball or golf ball under your shoulders will accomplish the same thing. (Not to cheat any massage therapists out there, but most people do not go to a massage therapist every, single day.)

- Desk Dancing: Yup, you read that right. If you listen to music while sitting at your desk working, swaying back and forth at your waist and hips and moving your neck in beat to the music is a good way to move some lymph fluid and enjoy work just a little bit more.



Vitamins: What Are They Good for?.

This is a series of articles. See our Article Archives for vitamins we've already covered and what they do for the body.

Vitamin C: Also called ascorbic acid, is a powerful antioxidant. Since it is water-soluble, it's not stored in the human body, however, dogs can store it, so do not give vitamin C supplements to dogs. Since we can't store it, it's flushed from the body approximately every 8 hours, so for best results, it's more beneficial to take 500 mgs of vitamin C in the morning and 500 mgs at night if you are using supplements. Taking the popular 1000 mg supplements is a waste of money since your body will only flush out the excess and this vitamin is more effective taken twice a day in smaller amounts rather than in one large dose.

This vitamin is also needed to create collagen required to reduce skin wrinkles and promote wound healing. Vitamin C also helps the absorption of iron, which is difficult for the body to absorb. Taking iron supplements with vitamin C works better than taking iron alone or with foods that do not contain vitamin C.

Some of the medical benefits of vitamin C include:

- Cardiovascular disease: Since free radicals lead to cardio problems due to oxidative damage and stress, vitamin C can improve this condition and help prevent it due to its antioxidant properties.

- Cancer Prevention: Recent studies suggest high amounts of vitamin C may prevent and reverse certain types of cancer. However, these findings are related to vitamin C from fresh fruits and vegetables and seem to reveal that high amounts of vitamin C from supplements does not protect people from cancer when used.

- Macular Degeneration (AMD) and cataracts: Research suggests that 500 mgs of vitamin C along with 400 IU of vitamin E, 15 mgs of beta carotene and 80 mg of zinc can lower the chance of developing chronic eye problems later in life.

- Cure for the common cold? It was long thought for years that vitamin C helped cure the common cold. More recent studies claim there is no correlation and that vitamin C will not prevent the common cold. However, some health experts would still beg to differ with this claim as vitamin C does seem to strengthen the immune system.

- Allergies: Vitamin C helps a great deal to prevent allergies, specifically to foods, pets and skin allergies, and can ease allergic asthma.

Too much vitamin C can cause diarrhea and stomach cramping. As with any supplement, check with your doctor if you are on any medications to find out if there are any interactions between what you are taking and Vitamin C in large doses.

Food Sources: Peppers have the highest vitamin C content of any food. It's the extremely high amount of this vitamin that gives hot peppers their heat. However, basic red peppers are also very high. Other food sources good for high amounts of vitamin C include: orange juice, citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi and tomatoes.

Recommended Daily Dosage: For adults is 1000 mgs a day taken as 500 mg supplement once in the morning and once at night. Or in foods, a daily value of 60 mgs is required. People who take in less than 10 mg of vitamin C over a prolonged period of time have contracted scurvy in the past. Anemia can result from the poor absorption of iron due to a lack of vitamin C.



Fact or Fallacy: Skin Tags Are an Indiction of Being Prone to Cancer.

For years, we've heard having skin tags means you are prone to getting cancer. Circkles decided to dig deeper and ask a few reputable doctors and skin specialists if this is rumor or indeed true.

The scientific name for them is achrochordon, cutaneous papilloma or cutaneous tag, fibro epithelial polyp, fibroma molluscum or fibroma pendulum, papilloma colli, soft fibroma, and Templeton skin tag. All those horrible-sounding official names for basically just an extra growth of cells.

About 40% of the general population have skin tags, usually in areas where they experience a great deal of chaffing, such as under the armpits, groin area, thighs, etc. Or in areas where the skin is creased or folds, such as the eyelids. Steroids can make skin tags produce more than normal, but typically they are hereditary.

According to top specialists we contacted, skin tags are in fact caused by chaffing or irritation. They are harmless and no, do not indicate a predisposition to cancer. Whew. Something to breathe easier about.

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This health section is updated monthly to give our members a chance to view it, so check back the first of every month for new posts. Disclaimer: This page is designed to offer information only on topics the average person can use themselves. It is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice.

Nutrition Calculator: Type any food into the nutrition calculator below and it will bring up all the nutritional and dietary statistics on that food, which can come in very handy when planning your diet for weight loss, less fat, more fiber, less sugar, deficiencies or nutritional requirements regarding certain health concerns.

HOME REMEDIES: Whiten your teeth safely and naturally.

Pearly whites not so pearly white? Yes, there is a large array of products now that whiten teeth, however, their safety with long-term use has yet to be established and because of this, some people are hesitant to use commercial teeth bleaching and whitening products.

A mixture of baking soda, salt and peroxide can often do the job just as well for those who don't smoke, and without any concern over safety. Baking soda has been used for years by many people as an effective teeth cleaning alternative to toothpastes. Of course, the dentist would have us believe this is not a good alternative since it does not contain fluoride, however, if you are concerned about fluoride for your teeth, there is also a new discovery in that area. It's been revealed that parsley is a good, natural source of fluoride.

After brushing your teeth with a mixture of salt and baking soda, rinse your mouth with peroxide DO NOT SWALLOW PEROXIDE as it is a poison and will make you vomit. Rinse your mouth 1-2 times after the peroxide rinse, wait a couple minutes and rinse thoroughly 1-2 more times. This is necessary because the peroxide will get into every little crevice between your teeth and continue to foam even after the first couple of rinses and you do not want to swallow too much of it when it mixes with your saliva.

After a thorough rinsing, chew some fresh parsley leaves very slowly, moving the parsley juice and mashed leaves around in your mouth trying to cover all your teeth. This you can swallow, as fluoride will also benefit your teeth when digested. Do not rinse. It's best to do this step just before bedtime so if you have little bits of parsley in your teeth, nobody will know and you can let the parsley juice on your teeth sit in your mouth overnight for maximum effectiveness.

This ritual also makes for very healthy gums, per my dentist who said I have very health gums when he first saw me. I have not told him that I have been brushing with the above procedure for years. If you are worried about the baking soda or salt being too abrasive, don't be. Remember, dogs eat bones to keep their teeth clean and bones are considerably harder and more abrasive than baking soda or salt.



How to use herbs for maximum benefit. Short and sweet descriptions and uses written by our on-staff Nutritional Herbalist. Always remember that herbs should be treated as a medicine. Almost all of our modern-day medicines are derived from compounds found in herbs and plants. If you have not used a particular herb before, try a half dose at first to make sure you do not have an unfavorable reaction to it.

Echinacea: Echinacea Angustifolia and Echinacea Purpurea (Purple Coneflower) 

Medicinal Properties: The reason this herb is not more popular is because most people do not know how to use it correctly. Echinacea has been used medicinally since before the 1700s. In the 1880s it became the most widely prescribed herb among medical practitioners for infections, inflammations and snakebite. Modern Science has documented the herbs immune stimulating properties and documents Echinacea to also be anti-tumor and anti-viral. The problem with this herb is not that it doesn't work, it is that our current FDA labeling restrictions do not allow manufacturers of herbs to instruct consumers on the proper way to use it. Of the two most popular forms of Echinacea (Angustifolia and Purpurea) Angustifolia is considered the more medicinal and the root is more potent than the leaves.

How to Use: The way Echinacea works is really quite interesting. It fools the immune system into thinking it has been poisoned, thus causing an increase in the production of antibodies and the rate of phagocytosis, which means boosting the immune system. However, Echinacea can only fool the body for about 6 days and the body then realizes it has not been poisoned and the Echinacea ceases to work. So it is best taken for 6 days, then stopped for a minimum of 6 days or it loses its effectiveness. Echinacea is a preventative measure, meaning it is best to take it at the very first signs of a virus or exposure to a virus. Once you are already sick, there are other herbs which will work better. Make a tea by simmering 1 tsp of ground root in 1 C. of water for 5-10 minutes. Or use tinctures, extracts and capsules.

Parts Used: Root, leaves

Warning: Do not used for prolonged periods of time such as longer than a month at a time.

Growing: Very difficult to get started. Once established, it needs a lot of water to maintain but after a couple years, finally gets going and if kept watered will self-sow.

Some Herb Basics: Most herbs work better on an empty stomach. A few exceptions are garlic, goldenseal and cayenne due to stomach upset. Herbs work in a cumulative fashion meaning they are not a "one dose wonder." They need to build up in the system a little, usually within 2-3 doses, before any real affect can be noticed. Fresh herbs always work better than old herbs and science is always proving the fact that a whole herb usually is more effective than one isolated compound of that herb.



Do you know what foods will give you more energy, calm your nerves, act as an anti-inflammatory, help prevent cancers, or help you lose weight? Hopefully this column will help you to have a better understanding of food and its healing properties. The best diet for optimal health is a wide variation of foods, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and minimally cooked whole foods. Sweets, fatty foods, meat, dairy and carbs in moderation.


Therapeutic Properties: Coconut milk (not the liquid that spills out when you crack it open, but the liquid extracted from the pulp of the coconut) is very nutritious and high in protein. Coconut is also very high in fat, but coconut oil is a "good fat" as long as it is not hydrogenated coconut oil.

Diabetics: Coconut oil DOES NOT SPIKE INSULIN levels. Yes, that's right. It is just about the only carb that will give you energy and not spike insulin levels.

Fifty percent of the fat content in coconut oil is lauric acid, which when converted by the body is anti-viral, anti-protozoa and anti-bacterial, having been known to destroy such viruses as HIV and herpes, measles, the flu, giardia and other bacteria. Coconut oil has the highest amount of lauric acid of any food out there.

Best of all Cooking Oils: Coconut oil is the only oil that will not oxidize when exposed to the high heat of frying. So it's better than even olive oil for his purpose because it will not cause dangerous toxins when cooking with it.

In the last 5 years or so, coconut water, which is the liquid that spills out when you crack open a coconut, has been considered a good electrolyte replenisher as it is also high in magnesium, calcium and potassium.

Alkaline or Acid: Alkaline forming

Significant Nutrients: Coconut milk is very high in potassium, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus. 1 C of the milk has 630mg of potassium, 240mg of phosphorus and 2.2mg of manganese.

Phytoestrogen? Yes.

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You can find more herbs and home remedies in The Circkles Hangout under the Main Menu. (Sorry, you must be a subscriber of Circkles.com.)


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February 2014

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"The Doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease."
~Thomas Edison