Nov 14th 2023

Finding the Practical Lymphatic System

I was diagnosed with colon cancer when my son was just nine months old. Surgeons removed a peach-sized tumor from my colon, and biopsied over 60 lymph nodes for further signs of cancer.

Despite finding no trace of metastasization, my doctors recommended a follow up course of chemotherapy. Choosing not to have chemo led me to discover the actual workings of the lymphatic system when it comes to ridding our body of toxins, and how we can support this essential work every day.

Mapping Lymph Nodes in the Body

As still a new mom post-cancer, I desperately wanted to give my baby the best immune system possible. I knew that meant continuing to nurse until weaned on his own timeline, and that meant no chemo. Despite all the other concerns, that’s why I made the choice I did.

Multiple doctors refused to help me after making this decision. I was too much of a liability for their practice/insurance if not adhering to the prescribed course of post-op treatment. When I finally found a respected allopathic MD who agreed to see me on my terms, he looked me in the eye and said, “Let’s teach you how not to get cancer again.”

He explained that our lymphatic system is specifically designed to clean all of your cells, every day. When properly balanced and working as expected with the rest of our body - what science calls homeostasis - no cell in our body should ever even get the opportunity to begin mutation toward cancer.

map of lymph nodes in the body

He taught me to topically apply different botanical extracts, targeting clustered areas on a map of lymph nodes in the body. This was the very beginning of the self-care rituals I recommend today. From the postauricular lymph nodes behind our ears down to the inguinal lymph nodes around our groin, each cluster of lymph nodes serves as a biological processing & filtering center to help cleanse our circulatory system and fight off infection.

Lymph itself is an immune-rich fluid that continually circulates throughout our body. As it flows through lymph nodes, lymph is meticulously screened for harmful substances, from pathogens to cancer cells. Lymph nodes house immune cells like lymphocytes and macrophages, which intercept and neutralize threats. This process is not only critical for purifying the lymph but also for triggering a tailored immune response to whatever ails us at the moment.

One of the primary circulation channels for elimination flow is the right lymphatic duct, which drains lymph from the right arm, the right side of the head, and the thorax. The right lymphatic duct plays a major role in the systemic circulation of healthy, ready-to-go immune cells.

Its partner to our left is the thoracic duct, which flows lymph from the rest of our upper body and is responsible for cleansing and fortifying the lymph delivered back into our circulatory system.

Inguinal lymph nodes are clustered around our most intimate areas, draining from our genitals, perineum, and lower extremities. Their primary duty is to filter harmful substances and prevent spread of infection from disease originating in our lower body.

Swollen lymph nodes anywhere are a sign of active immune response, that we are actively filtering out something serious. Like other inflammation in the body can also be a sign that our immune system needs some reinforcements.

Lymphatic Drainage

Lymphatic drainage is a critical detoxifying process for maintaining our good health. The botanicals in Rockstar formulations are chosen to support detoxification in support of ‘active’ lymphatic drainage therapies.

Brushing, stroking, gua sha and other lymphatic massage techniques stimulate the lymphatic system and encourage the flow of lymph, which assists in the removal of toxins from throughout our body. Facilitating our own natural waste removal in turn bolsters our immune function and supports overall health.

One of the best things I did for myself to support daily lymphatic drainage (and more) is get a rebounder, a very mini trampoline, and give myself 5-10 minutes a day of gentle (or vigorous) bouncing. I feel such a difference in my body when my practice is regular, especially when doing long hours at the jewellery bench.  Better sleep, less puffiness, and my joints feel better. There are so many other benefits of rebounding, that will have to be another post.  Here is just one of many great online resources to learn more about how rebounding can boost our lymphatic & immune systems.

Our Facial Lymph Nodes

Facial lymph nodes react swiftly to infections that enter through the portals of our face—eyes, nose, and mouth. The post auricular nodes located behind the ears and cervical lymph nodes in the neck are integral to the lymphatic system's role in monitoring, reacting to, and defending against pathogens. Strategically positioned along lymphatic vessels, they act as guardians, detecting anomalies and initiating an immune response when necessary.

Swollen neck lymph nodes are a common early sign of infection. Facial swelling or tenderness can indicate an ongoing battle against infection. Either way, supporting your facial lymph nodes with some type of massage ritual amplified by topically applied botanical extracts has been found by many enhance lymph flow, reduce redness and swelling, and promote quicker recovery from infection.

I have found my daily rituals using Rockstar Roll On Entourage give some of the most beautiful, simple obvious benefits of gently draining my face and neck every day. Swelling and puffiness retreat, cheekbones return, eyes open wider, deep forehead lines soften, neck lengthens - all these beautiful aesthetic results from simply doing what’s good for your immune system.

Take Out Your Trash

The botanicals my doctor and I worked with in those early days to support my immune system are the foundation of my botanical extract formulations today. While these products are designed to help you find your inner rockstar, they are also designed to help you with something both less glamorous and more fundamental.

Bacteria, viruses, pathogens, pollutants - all of these are filtered out of our bodies through the lymphatic system. I like to ask people to think of it like their kitchen. We use our kitchen to feed ourselves and our families every day. Literally our kitchen keeps us alive to some degree. So every day, you take care of your kitchen. You clean up your kitchen before you go to bed, right?

Otherwise, you wake up the next morning to a stinky kitchen piled up with yesterday’s dishes, scraps and leftovers. You have to cleanup first before you can even feed yourself to start the day.  Night time is when our bodies do all our lifesaving deep work, Rockstar botanicals help your lymph facilitate cleansing, regenerating and rejuvenating.  Use them before bed!

So to enable a good day tomorrow, we'll clean our kitchen tonight, and we'll take out the trash. Take this same approach with your body; it’s really that simple. Given the proper support, our lymphatic system will take out all our trash.

Whatever we’ve consumed that day, whatever emotions, pollution, dietary crap, our lymph nodes and ducts will clean it up and get it out of our way. We don’t even have to ask - just help them out every day as they do their vital work.