Lymphatic system and cellulite

Cellulite And Lymphatic System

Ever noticed that slim people also get cellulite? Cellulite is not just an accumulation of fat cells, it’s a combination of wastes, toxins and fat that had accumulated below the skin due to poor circulation especially of the Lymphatic system which runs just below the surface area of the skin. The good news is that by stimulating the circulation and removing excess wastes from the Lymph fluid the appearance of cellulite can be dramatically improved within a couple of weeks resulting in a stronger immune system.

Bouncing on a mini trampoline for at least 15 minutes per day will help to stimulate the drainage systems of your Lymphatic system resulting in smoother skin.

The Lymph fluid flows in one direction under the surface of the skin from the hands and feet through the main filters (lymph nodes) upward to the base of the neck where the subclavian veins release it back into circulation as plasma in the blood.

It is estimated that about 2-3 liters of Lymph fluid move through the Lymphatic system everyday and there are about 600-700 Lymph nodes that work by releasing Lymphocytes to destroy harmful toxins and to purify and filter the Lymph fluid. The Lymph nodes may be as small as a pin, others as large as an olive and are primarily located in the neck, under the armpits, in the abdomen and around the hips and upper portion of the legs. The Lymph fluid is a crucial part of our immune system and it is essential that is able to do its job as efficiently as possible for us to maintain good health and vitality.

By stimulating our Lymphatic system and circulation and preventing a buildup of wastes and toxins, we can actually reduce the bumpy look of cellulite that often appears under the surface of the skin.


Okay ladies! I have to say, dry brushing, it is a MUST! If you’re not already doing it, the time to start is now. You can buy a brush just about anywhere and it’s cheeap. I got mine for a couple of dollars at Target. Dry brushing is not only super refreshing and energizing, but also has so many good benefits for you. It gives better circulation to the body, improved immunity, and is great for the skin. It will help remove dead skin cells, open clogged pores, make the skin feel tighter and leave it super soft.

But perhaps a lot more important than that, is how it helps stimulate the lymphatic system. Maybe you haven’t even heard of this part of your body. It doesn’t always get as much attention as it should, yet it is crucial for the prevention of disease and keeping the body healthy.

Let me explain why: Toxins are a big factor when it comes to disease, just about all diseases. If toxins are allowed to build up and remain in the body, they will eventually cause harm to some degree. But, if they are removed on a regular basis, your system will be kept clean and can really work on preventing disease from even starting.

This is where the lymphatic system comes in. Think of it like Cinderella – it’s working quietly in the shadows to clean up the mess made by the rest of the systems in the body. It’s really your body’s drainage system, working around-the-clock to clean up and properly dispose of waste.

So what dry brushing does is help stimulate the lymphatic system so it releases harmful toxins. This is one of the reasons drug brushing can really help reduce cellulite. Because cellulite is really just built up toxic material that is stored in your fat cells. Pretty gross if you ask me!

So what kind of brush do you get? And how do you do it?

– Get a soft bristle brush with natural fibers. A handle is great to reach for example areas on your back. – Ideally try to brush skin once a day. A good way to remember is doing it right before you jump in the shower. Then you can also clean off the dead skin cells. – Use long upward strokes from feet to the legs, hands to shoulders, and always towards the heart. (Below is a picture with arrows of the direction you should brush) – Brush several times in each area. – Cleanse your brush once a week using soap and water and let it air dry. – Also, try putting a few drops of Grapefruit Essential Oils on the brush.

– Make sure to lather up with a good moisturizer after wards. You can for example use coconut oil or a natural lotion. I make my own (see recipe below).

Lymphatic Cellulite Reduction

A few common myths about cellulite:

  • It can be diet or exercised away.
  • Relation to age or weight are a factor.
  • Body wraps or creams are a lasting solution.
  • Cellulite is determined by a genetic predisposition.

Over 90% of women have some form of cellulite. Cellulite is most often a lymphatic condition. It is influenced by poor lymphatic circulation combined with excess acidity in the body.  Like most things in nature, cellulite is not a quick fix.

Electro lymphatic drainage is one of the few techniques to be successfully used in the permanent reduction of cellulite. Targeted therapy to address the actual cause of the condition, unlike liposuction, creams and wraps which may reduce the appearance of cellulite temporally.

A Whole Body Approach to Better Beauty

Dissipating stagnant lymph and increasing lymphatic circulation can reduce toxic fluid buildup and has been found to be highly effective in the lasting reduction of cellulite. The lymph continuously bathes each cell and drains away the detritus in a circulatory system powered by movement and breathing.

The lymph channels are the body’s drainage system. A major contribution to the formation of cellulite begins when this system is unable to effectively flush toxins away from the cells due to sluggish lymphatic circulation.

Impaired lymph flow to certain areas can contribute to immobilizing pockets of fat and trapped fluids.

Cellulite begins when numerous fat cells collect in one area, causing the skin to bulge. This dimpling effect occurs when the connective fibers in the skin pull down where body fat is pushing up. Trapped fluids and toxins can accumulate in the pockets of fat. Compromised circulation of lymph and blood is believed to be one of the primary causes of the formation of cellulite.

Lymphatics 101

by Melissa, Lead Cellulite Investigator

Like the cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system is connected to nearly every cell in the body, including the fat cells.  After these living cells feed off the nutrients delivered through the bloodstream, they produce metabolic debris that is then carried away by the lymphatic fluid, also known as lymph.

Lymph originates as plasma, the yellow liquid component of blood.  Our bodies contain over twice as much lymph as they do blood –approximately six to ten liters.  Translucent or milky white in color,  lymph can be composed of a variety of substances, including lipids, proteins, enzymes, hormones, urea, dissolved gases, bacteria, viruses, and other debris.

Where does lymph circulate?

Lymph flows through a network of ever-widening vessels similar to the network of capillaries and veins used to circulate blood.  The initial lymph capillaries are fragile vessels just one cell thick.  Approximately 70 percent are considered superficial capillaries, meaning they are located just underneath the skin (where cellulite forms). Often located in fatty tissues, lymph collectors are large vessels that carry the lymph through to the lymph nodes.  A series of one-way valves along the lymph vessels gives the lymphatic system the characteristic appearance of a string of pearls, known in scientific circles as “monoliform” shape.

After the lymphatic fluid makes its way through the extensive network of lymph nodes and vessels, it eventually drains into one of two major ducts located in the chest area underneath the collarbone.  The right lymphatic duct collects lymph from the right arm and the right portion of the head, neck, and chest while the thoracic duct (also known as the left lymphatic duct) collects lymph from the rest of the body.  Your lymph then drains into your blood’s circulatory system and once again becomes plasma in the bloodstream, just prior to reaching the heart.

What is a lymph node?

Lymph nodes act as small filters that trap waste products in the lymphatic fluid and eliminate them from the body.  Lymph nodes are usually shaped like a small kidney bean and range from a few millimeters to one or two centimeters in length.

The average person is born with six to seven hundred lymph nodes distributed throughout the body, with more than half located in the abdominal region.  Large concentrations of lymph nodes can also be found in the neck, armpits, inner elbow, groin, and behind the knees.  It is interesting to note that our lymph nodes are concentrated in the major folds of the body, allowing for the highest degree of protection when the body is in the fetal position.  The major exception is the cluster of lymph nodes in the malleolar region (the back of the foot), an area that one lymphatic specialist is quick to point out as the mythical weak point of Achilles.

The lymphatic system is, in fact, integral to our resistance to disease.  If the lymph fluid contains potentially harmful organisms, such as a virus, a lymph node can swell to several times its normal size as white blood cells (also known as lymphocytes) and other immunity agents are rushed to the site.  When doctors check along the sides of a patient’s neck for “swollen glands”, they are actually feeling to see if the lymph nodes are enlarged and thereby fighting an infection.  If a lymph node traps cancerous cells and cannot eliminate them from the body, the node can become a source of secondary growth (metastasis) for the cancer.  That is why it is relatively common for certain forms of cancer, such as breast cancer, to spread to the surrounding lymph nodes.

If lymph is so important, why haven’t I heard much about it?

In spite of the fact that your lymphatic system is of indispensable importance to virtually every cell in your body –especially when it comes to issues of infection and disease –practitioners of Western medicine tend to overlook it.  Historically, it is likely that the medical community was slow to recognize the lymphatic system because of the transparency of the fluid and the difficulty in seeing lymphatic vessels even upon dissection. There are indications that the ancient societies of China, Samaria, Babylon, Egypt, and India were all aware of the presence of lymph circulating throughout the body, but it was not understood as a complete anatomical system until the seventeenth century.

The historical neglect of the lymphatic system is still evident in modern thinking.  Dr. Oz refers to lymphatics as “the next frontier of discovery in human disease… long ignored because of their subtlety and complexity.”  But even YOU: The Owner’s Manual scarcely makes reference to the lymphatic system, despite the fact the 544-page tome is intended to cover everything you need to know about your body in order to live a healthy life.

Many of us don’t even know we have a lymphatic system, much less understand how to care for it. We are bombarded with messages about the importance of caring for the cardiovascular system.  We eat “heart-healthy” meals.  We try to get in our thirty minutes of “cardio” a few times a week.  But we rarely hear about the lymphatic system in any kind of discussion about wellness, especially when it comes to preventative health care.

If we are to make any progress in treating cellulite, it is wise to start paying attention to the neglected lymphatic system.

*To learn more about the relationship between cellulite and the lymphatic system, read our interview with world-renowned lymphatic specialist, Dr. Bruno Chikly.

References: Dr. Chikly’s Lymph Drainage Therapy by Bruno Chikly, M.D. Understanding the Lymphatic System at Lymphatic System at Philosophy of Osteopathy, Chapter VI: Lymphatics, by Andrew Taylor Still, D.O.

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