Stimulate Your Lymph Nodes! (Part 1)

Stimulate Your Lymph Nodes! Part 1

By Rita Shimniok, Purely Living Wellness, LLC  (All Rights Reserved)

As a Qest4 bio-energetics practitioner a recurring contributing factor I see over and over again in the scans of my clients are drainage issues. There may be frequencies or signatures indicating blocked drainage pathways, stagnant or congested lymphatics, and/or poor circulation.

The purpose of this article is to provide ideas on how you can stimulate your lymphatic system, and support your body’s own continuous attempts at eliminating toxins from the body. If you believe you are retaining fluids, or have swollen ankles…read on!

Before you begin to employ one or more of these techniques, however, it is so very important that one is having 2-3 bowel movements a day.  One must have an elimination pathway that is properly functioning, less the toxins build up. In fact, if a person is not eliminating daily it would be one of the factors contributing to blockage of the lymphatic pathways. So, the first step is to consider your bathroom habits… are they consistent? If not, please contact Purely Living Wellness, or search our website for ideas on restoring health to the lower GI tract in our Educational Articles section.

It is important to realize that unlike blood, lymph is not pumped, but instead is passively moved as lymph vessels are contracted by compression during muscle movement encountered during exercise. This is why those whose lifestyle involves more sitting than movement typically have lymphatic stagnation.

The ideas and techniques in this list contain many that you can do at home, free of cost.  Other options can include a professional massage by a licensed therapist who specializes in lymphatic drainage, as well as devices that we have recommended which can promote drainage.  Depending upon the severity of your issues, self-care may be all that is necessary, but please consider professional help as warranted. There are massage therapists
specifically trained to work with cancer patients.

For our purposes, the goal is to help move extra fluid out of the system. Weekly self-massage plays an important role in your journey to wellness, however, special precautions should be taken if you are receiving medical treatments that can damage lymph nodes, such as cancer treatments. Contact Purely Living Wellness if extra details are needed.

Showers – Solitude, Self-Care

For some, the shower may be the only place you can enjoy moments of solitude and peace. It is a great location for self-care. Although many discuss the benefits of dry-brushing for lymphatic massage, Purely Living Wellness finds that many find it easier to incorporate self-care into their shower routine. Please note that the techniques below can all be performed with a dry-brush if preferred.

Before you begin lymphatic massage… once you get into your shower take a moment to take three deep breaths.  Breathe in (your stomach will expand) for a count of 10, hold for a count of 10, and exhale for a count of 10. Repeat 3-5 times with a short rest in between.  This will help to wake up your lymphatic system for the massage techniques described below.

Lymphatic stimulation in the shower…a conscious awareness of your washing routine can make a difference, and requires little extra time from your day. You may use a washcloth, loofa, or soft-bristled, long-handled brush which you can engage in small circular motions. Always work towards the major lymph nodes to move toxins towards the glands that promote the draining of unwanted free radicals in the body.  In fact, even using your fingertips will benefit, is preferred by many, and what is recommended for face and neck massage. The key is to use a light, gentle touch versus strong pressure. Repeat each a minimum of five times, working up to 10-15 times if your schedule allows. Do this at least once a week, and more often if you are aware that your lymphatic system could use a little extra TLC.

From the ankles work up towards the lymph nodes in the pelvic/groin area, pausing at each knee to circle five (5) times in a clockwise motion.  Press gently into the crease at the top of your legs and roll up, below the navel.  (If you tend to have low blood pressure be very careful and come up slowly when lowering your head downward.)

The abdomen, especially around the navel, contains a number of lymph nodes, the lumbar lymph in particular. Stimulate this area in a clockwise motion around the belly button. This can also help reduce symptoms of constipation. Complete this movement by stroking upwards and out towards the lymph nodes found in the armpits.

Next, massage the hands and arms in small circular motions moving from the hand up to the lymphatic nodes in the armpit. Massage both the top and underside of each arm.

Massage the breasts as well – again directing out towards the armpits. This is a time to be aware of any lumps, both women and men. As estrogen dominance becomes a greater issue in our chemical-laden society, men are increasingly being diagnosed with breast cancer as well.

Wrap the crown of your head with all of your fingers and wiggle your fingers to stimulate your scalp. Slowly and gently stroke downward along the sides of your neck, reaching back so your fingertips meet in the center of the back of your neck, gently stretching your skin with the movement. Massage your neck gently, in a circular motion keeping pressure light and relaxed. Placing your hands flat just below the hairline stretch your skin down towards your spine and release.

Above your eyebrows make small, gentle circles. Continue down towards your temples, pausing to circle this area 3-5 times moving towards your cheeks. Use your ring finger to gently massage on the sides of each nostril – stroking down under your ear, along the sides of your neck, over the clavicle and towards your armpits.

Upon completion tip your head back to allow the water to pulse on your scalp while you take several more deep breaths. You may find you have just had the most relaxing shower ever!

Tips on Movement

 Massaging the top of your head helps to stimulate hair follicles and promotes growth, if desired.

·–  The top of your ankles contains lymph nodes.  When massaging your feet use strokes that move from the bottom of your feet towards the top of your ankles. One should be seated to safely massage the feet.

More in-depth lymphatic massage movements can be incorporated into your self-care routine. The six basic steps outlined above are those that can be easily incorporated into your shower or bath routine. A more complete outline is available.

Herbal Support

Herbs have been used for many centuries to help support the body and its functions. Our favorite herb for lymphatic support is Galium aparine, which has names such as cleavers, bedstraw, stickyweed, and Velcro plant. It is an annual that reseeds and is quite common in the Midwest. In the spring we harvest and blend fresh greens in our smoothies, or make an herbal tea. 

Making an herbal tincture is a powerful way to capture the properties of this plant long after its growing season, and its use helps to make the lymphatic system work more diligently, supports the urinary tract, and helps to reduce breast tenderness. It is an ideal ally for those who deal with water retention, or edema. Purely Living Wellness has a handout that can be provided upon request touting the benefits of this commonly used plant, which has no known contraindications.

ResourcesThe Human Body Book, Steve Parker, 2nd

Stimulate Your Lymph Nodes! Part 2
(Affordable vibration therapy devices to promote lymphatic stimulation and help to prevent hypoxia.)


It is important not to strain your neck, shoulders, or hands during the process and seek help if needed.  Avoid lymphatic massage if you have congestive heart failure or blood clots. If self-massage causes pain or you have an infected area that is swollen, please do not massage and contact your trusted primary care physician.  Resume upon your doctor’s permission to do so.

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