The Lymphatic System

As many patients know, cancer diagnosis often includes an evaluation based on what is found in the lymph nodes. In general, allopathic medicine views the presence of cancer in the nodes as evidence of metastasis. This opinion is often attended by recommendations for more radical surgical procedures and usually implies a worse prognosis. As all patients who have had lymph nodes removed know, circulation is generally worse after the loss of nodes: swelling, serious edema, and the need for medical procedures to remove fluids are often part of the aftermath of these procedures.

I am not in a position to evaluate the merits of the surgical measures. I merely sympathize with the suffering of the patients. They often have reddish swelling, intense itching, rashes, and loss of motion.

There are specialists in manual lymphatic drainage, a very delicate massage technique taught in Austria (called the Vodder method) who are trained to help reroute lymph flow so as to by-pass the normal channels, the ones that have been removed.

Though people who are specialists in this method are reluctant to state opinions, many have theorized that when malignancy is found in the lymph nodes that the lymph nodes are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing. In other words, it is not 100% clear to them that the cancer has metastasized, merely that it has accumulated in the filters in the lymphatic system.

Given that we do not understand these fine points well enough to be certain, it would seem appropriate that patients who have not yet had surgery try to decongest the lymphatic system through alkalizing foods and herbs, immune supplements, and perhaps also massage with a highly trained therapist specializing in lymphatic drainage to see if the swelling will subside. For those who feel they are at risk for cancer, periodic lymphatic stimulation and/or drainage may be a healthy protective measure.

Once the nodes are gone, it is more uphill. One very simple but probably only minimally helpful exercise is to hold the affected (swollen) area upwards to see if gravity will permit some of the lymph to descend into areas that still have adequate drainage. This should be done slowly and carefully. There are also rebounding techniques using a mini-trampoline that are helpful for some patients. It cannot be overemphasized how important expert instruction in the correct use of such devices is. Many therapists who are trained in lymphatic work teach courses for patients on how to use rebounding, compression bandages, and other specialty products designed for people with lymphatic swelling or lymphedema.

Points to Consider

What very few patients seem to realize is that the immune system does not fight cancer so long as there is infection in the body. Isn't this one of Nature's ironies? People are more afraid of cancer than infection, but the body tries to eliminate infection before turning its resources towards cancer control. The lymphatic system in many people is overwhelmed by infection, often stemming from dental problems or immunizations.

Secondly, there is often a heavy burden on the lymphatic system due to various toxins: preservatives in food and medicines; mercury, aluminum, lead, and other poisonous metals; chemicals from antiperspirants, dry cleaning agents, and so on and so forth. Reducing some of these burdens on the body will often relieve pressure on the lymphatic system and enable it to do its work.

Thirdly, many parasites move in and out of the lymphatic system. This is a condition that is seldom diagnosed (and sometimes misdiagnosed as something else.) Everyone who has studied tropical diseases knows about filariasis but they seldom realize that people in the developed world can also be harboring similar parasitic infections.

The lymphatic system is not well understood and therefore is sometimes underestimated or ignored. Becoming better informed can improve the quality of many lives.




Red Blood/Oxygenation Lymphatic Products



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