In a living animal, and especially in a human being, that kind of control is just not possible, since there are so many other things happening to the animal or person at the time that measurements are being taken. Whether the increased rate of disease is caused by malnutrition's effect on the immune system, however, is not certain. A form of malnutrition that is surprisingly common even in affluent countries is known as "micronutrient malnutrition. Use a natural bristle brush. Older people should discuss this question with a physician who is well versed in geriatric nutrition, because while some dietary supplementation may be beneficial for older people, even small changes can have serious repercussions in this age group.
Cancer & Heart Disease
Fortunately, the holistic techniques — which will be highlighted in this article — can help you unclog, stimulate and purify your lymph system naturally. Unlike the circulatory system, the lymphatic system lacks a propulsive center, or pump.
Instead, lymph is moved via the relaxation and contraction of muscles and joints. You can stimulate circulation and help propel lymph throughout the body by jumping on a trampoline for 10 to 30 minutes. You can help clear a congested lymphatic system by raising your consumption of raw foods — particularly fruits and vegetables, which have naturally-occurring enzymes that help clear toxins and promote their exit from the body.
Fruits and vegetables also raise the water level in the body and help to hydrate it, while their healthy amounts of fiber promote intestinal function, making it easier for intestinal fluids to migrate to lymph nodes. Also, raw foods tend to be alkaline, helping to neutralize pathogens and relieve the burden on the lymph.
In addition, at the same time, try to reduce consumption of lymph-clogging dairy, sugar, gluten and processed foods. As the lymphatic system is 95 percent water, it is important to avoid becoming dehydrated. Experts advise drinking half your weight, in ounces, of water a day. Remember, not all water is created equal — so if possible drink pure spring water or purified water to reduce your toxic burden.
Use an inversion table, which allows you to be suspended upside down while strapped in by the feet. Being in this unusual position can help promote free-flowing lymph. Use a quality inversion table with a safety strap to control the angle of inversion and safety locks to hold it in place.
Herbal substances can enhance the lymphatic system by improving lymphatic flow and drainage and facilitating removal of toxins. Goosegrass, or Galium aparnine — also known as cleavers — is a time-honored lymphatic tonic, valued for removing and draining trapped bacteria from lymph glands. Using a brush with coarse bristles, gently brush the skin in the direction of the heart. Although you may feel silly doing this, experts say it stimulates circulation and encourages the movement of lymph.
By the way, dry brushing can be particularly helpful in breaking down deposits of cellulite caused by a sluggish lymphatic system. Add a few lymph-boosting herbal teas to your day, such as astragalus, echinacea, goldenseal or wild indigo root tea.
Avoid using herbs while pregnant or lactating and avoid long-term use of any herb without first consulting a qualified professional. Dry skin brush before showering. Use a natural bristle brush. Brush your dry skin in circular motions upward from the feet to the torso and from the fingers to the chest.
You want to work in the same direction as your lymph flows—toward the heart. Alternate hot and cold showers for several minutes. The heat dilates the blood vessels and the cold causes them to contract. Avoid this type of therapy if you have a heart or blood pressure condition or if you are pregnant.
Get a gentle massage. Studies show that a gentle massage can push up to 78 percent of stagnant lymph back into circulation. Massage frees trapped toxins. You can also try a lymph drainage massage.
It is a special form of massage that specifically targets lymph flow in the body. Whatever type of massage you choose, make sure it is gentle. There are countless benefits of getting your lymphatic system moving more efficiently, including more energy, less pain, and improved detoxification.
One important question is whether dietary supplements may help older people maintain a healthier immune system. Older people should discuss this question with a physician who is well versed in geriatric nutrition, because while some dietary supplementation may be beneficial for older people, even small changes can have serious repercussions in this age group.
Like any fighting force, the immune system army marches on its stomach. Healthy immune system warriors need good, regular nourishment.
Scientists have long recognized that people who live in poverty and are malnourished are more vulnerable to infectious diseases. Whether the increased rate of disease is caused by malnutrition's effect on the immune system, however, is not certain. There are still relatively few studies of the effects of nutrition on the immune system of humans, and even fewer studies that tie the effects of nutrition directly to the development versus the treatment of diseases.
There is some evidence that various micronutrient deficiencies — for example, deficiencies of zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, and E — alter immune responses in animals, as measured in the test tube.
However, the impact of these immune system changes on the health of animals is less clear, and the effect of similar deficiencies on the human immune response has yet to be assessed. So what can you do? If you suspect your diet is not providing you with all your micronutrient needs — maybe, for instance, you don't like vegetables — taking a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement may bring other health benefits, beyond any possibly beneficial effects on the immune system.
Taking megadoses of a single vitamin does not. More is not necessarily better. Walk into a store, and you will find bottles of pills and herbal preparations that claim to "support immunity" or otherwise boost the health of your immune system. Although some preparations have been found to alter some components of immune function, thus far there is no evidence that they actually bolster immunity to the point where you are better protected against infection and disease.
Demonstrating whether an herb — or any substance, for that matter — can enhance immunity is, as yet, a highly complicated matter. Scientists don't know, for example, whether an herb that seems to raise the levels of antibodies in the blood is actually doing anything beneficial for overall immunity. Modern medicine has come to appreciate the closely linked relationship of mind and body. A wide variety of maladies, including stomach upset, hives, and even heart disease, are linked to the effects of emotional stress.
Despite the challenges, scientists are actively studying the relationship between stress and immune function. For one thing, stress is difficult to define. What may appear to be a stressful situation for one person is not for another. When people are exposed to situations they regard as stressful, it is difficult for them to measure how much stress they feel, and difficult for the scientist to know if a person's subjective impression of the amount of stress is accurate.
The scientist can only measure things that may reflect stress, such as the number of times the heart beats each minute, but such measures also may reflect other factors. Most scientists studying the relationship of stress and immune function, however, do not study a sudden, short-lived stressor; rather, they try to study more constant and frequent stressors known as chronic stress, such as that caused by relationships with family, friends, and co-workers, or sustained challenges to perform well at one's work.
Some scientists are investigating whether ongoing stress takes a toll on the immune system. But it is hard to perform what scientists call "controlled experiments" in human beings. In a controlled experiment, the scientist can change one and only one factor, such as the amount of a particular chemical, and then measure the effect of that change on some other measurable phenomenon, such as the amount of antibodies produced by a particular type of immune system cell when it is exposed to the chemical.
In a living animal, and especially in a human being, that kind of control is just not possible, since there are so many other things happening to the animal or person at the time that measurements are being taken.
Despite these inevitable difficulties in measuring the relationship of stress to immunity, scientists are making progress. Almost every mother has said it: So far, researchers who are studying this question think that normal exposure to moderate cold doesn't increase your susceptibility to infection. Most health experts agree that the reason winter is "cold and flu season" is not that people are cold, but that they spend more time indoors, in closer contact with other people who can pass on their germs.
But researchers remain interested in this question in different populations. Some experiments with mice suggest that cold exposure might reduce the ability to cope with infection.
But what about humans? Scientists have dunked people in cold water and made others sit nude in subfreezing temperatures. They've studied people who lived in Antarctica and those on expeditions in the Canadian Rockies. The results have been mixed.