What do swollen ankles, swollen glands, tonsillitis, sore throats, anemic conditions, low energy, fat digestion problems, poor healing of cuts, pneumonia and low resistance to disease have in common? These common health problems may seem unrelated but they can all be symptoms of a blockage in lymph flow known in Applied Kinesiology (A.K.) as “lymphatic retrograde”.

When the words circulation and body fluids are used, most people think of blood. There is, however, a second system that circulates body fluids called the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is much smaller and simpler than the blood circulatory system but it still performs many important functions. These functions are of three primary types: 1. lymph system filtration 2. collection of fluids and proteins from between the cells 3. pickup and distribution of fats from the small intestine.

1. IMMUNE SYSTEM FILTRATION Located throughout the lymphatic system among the lymphatic vessels (the lymph version of veins) are lymph nodes. These nodes are actually lymph filters. One of the functions of the lymph system is to pick up bacteria, viruses, cancer cells, debris from old cells etc., and bring them to these nodes where they become trapped while antibodies are produced in the nodes to destroy this unwanted or dangerous material. When the nodes become filled with bacteria or debris and as antibody production increases, the nodes expand and are referred to as “swollen glands”. In addition to the nodes, there are special disease fighting areas such as the tonsils, thymus gland, spleen and parts of the liver which are all part of the lymphatic system. Good function in these disease fighting areas depends on a good flow of lymph to and from each node, tonsil, etc.

2. The second function of the lymphatic system involves COLLECTION OF FLUID, PROTEINS, AND OTHER NUTRIENTS that leak out of or are missed by the blood circulation. Normally this fluid, protein, etc. is collected from the tissues and returned to the blood system at the right subclavian vein in the upper chest.

3. Although most nutrients are picked up from the small intestine by the blood, FATS WHICH HAVE BEEN BROKEN DOWN INTO TRIGLYCERIDES ARE PICKED UP BY THE LYMPH SYSTEM and emptied into the blood at the subclavian vein. Fats are not only an important energy source (especially for the aerobic or oxygen using muscle fibers) but form important components for many cell parts and are especially important for nerve cells.

A lymphatic retrograde problem occurs when muscle weakness or spasms in the neck and chest cause a restriction or blockage in the lymph flow. This restriction usually occurs right before the lymphatic vessels empty into the subclavian veins, and the lymph drainage in the whole body can be affected.

Because of the restriction, lymph nodes, tonsils, etc. cannot get rid of the dead bacteria, digested cells, etc. They swell up and may become irritated and inflamed (tonsillitis). Because the lymph flow is blocked, bacteria and viruses can’t be brought to the nodes in a normal fashion and one of the body’s major defenses against disease is crippled. I have seen many chronic infections such as viral pneumonia, tonsillitis, persistent flu, swollen glands, sore throats, etc. show great improvement or even vanish within hours of doing the A.K. lymphatic retrograde therapy.

When the lymph system is blocked, fluid can’t be removed from the tissues properly and conditions of edema or “water retention” may develop. If water retention is caused by poor lymphatic drainage then classic remedies such as “water pills” (diuretics to make the kidneys work harder at taking fluid out of the blood) will not solve the problem. The pull of gravity tends to make collection of fluids from the legs and feet more difficult and if a lymphatic retrograde problem is present, the swollen ankles referred to earlier may result. This swelling often reduces dramatically (including loss of “water weight”) after lymphatic retrograde therapy.

When lymphatic flow is sluggish, pickup of triglycerides from the small intestine is also impaired. For reasons as yet not fully understood, the restricted lymphatic flow seems to interfere with red blood cell production in some people producing a lowered hematocrit. Here, again, I have seen several cases where the low hematocrit increased or normalized after lymphatic retrograde therapy.

Although a great number of problems may result from poor lymphatic drainage, it is important to remember that other conditions can produce many of these same symptoms. Fortunately, Applied Kinesiology muscle testing can quickly discover whether a lymphatic blockage is to blame for these problems and allow the A.K. Doctor to effectively correct numerous conditions that would be very difficult to treat otherwise.

So, if you’re feeling puffy, stuffy or just plain tired, remember, your problem may be a “Slow Drain”.