You've heard about many of your body's systems--immune, nervous, digestive, excretory, skeletal, circulatory--before. But I wonder whether you're aware that there are other powerful systems working to keep you in healthy function every day. At least two hardworking vital systems, lymph and enteric, are largely forgotten. You're committed to good health, so of course you want to know more about how to keep these mysterious networks in top condition, right?

Let's start with a very brief overview.

The lymph system is an open network that moves a special fluid called lymph. It's part of the larger immune system that keeps you healthy by destroying harmful pathogens. It also interacts with other body systems--including digestive, cardiovascular, respiratory, and circulatory--to deliver water and nutrients and sweep away byproducts and other wastes.

The enteric system, buried deeply in the gastrointestinal tract, assists digestion. It is also linked directly to the nervous system. Your gut can receive impulses, record experiences, and respond to emotions just like the brain in your head. That's why anxiety, excitement, or other powerful feelings can produce a "gut reaction," a feeling of "butterflies," or assorted disruptions or discomforts in the digestive process.

Ready to take things up a notch? Let's go beyond the basic preventive steps listed in the articles linked above. Today we'll delve into five additional measures you can take to improve the function of these vital systems.

1) Nutrition
It goes without saying that the right fuel makes any system function better than the wrong ones will. This rule applies especially well to the ENS and lymph network. A healthy diet consisting of food that is free of additives and chemicals will help reduce amount of toxin the lymph system must filter. Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and sugar will reduce inflammation throughout the body, which helps to control your ENS's stimulation of stress hormones.

2) Lymphatic drainage massage
Ideally performed by a trained professional or massage therapist, this massage technique can help reduce swelling in a situation of lymph blockage, or enhance the flow of the lymphatic fluid and boost the immune system to stave off future problems. Also, you may ask the therapist to instruct you in simple self-massage using correct pressure and direction.

3) Liver cleanse
A detoxification period implemented seasonally will ease the burden on your body's natural filtration systems by reducing your toxic load.

4) Dry skin brushing
Using a dry soft bristled, long-handled natural brush, gently stroke your skin in long passes from the extremities up to the heart. This simple practice stimulates the lymph system to better perform its house-cleaning duties by encouraging movement of fluid.

5) Dietary supplements
Getting enough of the right minerals and vital compounds can help keep lymph and enteric systems optimal. Supplements that can help decrease stress effects in the ENS include L-theanine, B vitamins, GABA, magnesium, probiotics, and omegas such as in fish oils. For lymph and general immune system support, add vitamin C, zinc, and selenium.

It may take a little extra time or planning or even a change in routine to implement these key practices, but the results--better function of your lymph and enteric systems specifically, and better overall health as well--are worth the effort. Take a moment now to review the recommendations again--and make it your goal to put them in practice beginning today.

Author's Bio: 

Roberta Roberts Mittman, L.Ac., Dipl.Ac., M.S., is a nutritional and lifestyle consultant, holistic mindset mentor, and nationally board-certified acupuncturist. Using natural, drug-free techniques, Roberta opens the door to complete mind-body health. Roberta's goal is not only to relieve patients' illness and discomfort, but to help them set realistic goals for physical and mental preventative care and overall wellness. Roberta believes in empowering individuals to be their own best healers.