The following book review was sent to FACT by Marie Winberg of Michigan. The review offers excellent information about the lymphatic system which is not readily available in other publications, though, unfortunately, we cannot support Dr. Lemole’s healing diet. Although we do not have the name of the book reviewer, we decided to print it anyway. We think she will forgive us.
Dear Mrs. Sackman:
When I read this article, I thought of you. Your magazine is the last word for me. I really appreciate all you have taught me through the last twenty years. I believe what you say.
I had never read anything about the lymph system except that it does absorb bad substances from our bodies. I have never read anything about the lymph system in your Cancer Forum. Thought you might be interested in seeing this.
Sincerely and Best Wishes to you, Marie Winberg
The Healing Diet A Total Health Program to Purify Your Lymph System and Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease, Arthritis, and Cancer by Gerald M. Lemole, M.D. (William Morrow & Co., NY, 2000, 272 pp.), $ 25.00.
The title is misleading. The book properly should be called “Loving Your Lymph System.” Oh, there’s plenty of diet advice and heart-healthy recipes, but the book is essentially a salute to your “lymphatics.”
Think of the lymph system as your body’s other plumbing system. Like the cardiovascular system, it has pipes and valves and filters (the nodes). But there’s twice as much lymph as blood in your body, and twice as many lymph vessels as blood vessels.
What keeps lymphatic fluid moving? There’s no dedicated pump like your heart. Instead, the lymphatic fluid is propelled by the muscles in your chest, activated when you breathe.
The lymph system is your body’s sewer system; one of its jobs is waste removal. But it also harbors the immunity troops, ready to attack infection and invading viruses. It filters out crud and toxic stuff. And it holds your body’s water pressure in balance.
The key to health, Lemole argues, is to keep your lymphatic system open and flowing. That means increasing its drainage capacity or reducing its intake of toxins. He advocate’s both.
“If you keep your lymphatic system clear,” Lemole writes, “you can eliminate 70 percent of the chronic illnesses that are in part the result of that system being clogged.”
How? Through exercise, massage, diet, stress reduction and especially deep breathing.
Cardiac villains such as cholesterol and homocysteine are arrested by the lymph patrol, then carried through your chest en route to the liver. Deep breathing speeds the process. Lemole says: “It allows the lymphatic flow to course strongly and evenly, becoming virtually a river of life.”
Disease is usually triggered by insult and inflammation, from poisons, radiation, stress. Free flowing lymph can shorten inflammation before it cripples or kills. (Lemole cites a fascinating Swedish study: Braless women were 29 times less likely to get breast cancer. Reason: bras slow the movement of lymph in breast tissue.)
Lemole practices what he preaches. Not only does he eat veggies, he also does deep breathing exercises and revs up his pulse and lymph system by doing jumping jacks on a mini-trampoline (right next to his desk) and walking for about 45 minutes daily.
“It all boils down to balance,” he says. “With heart disease, there’s no one culprit and no guaranteed preventative.” Diet, exercise and stress modification are all important. And so is the spiritual dimension. We need meaning in our lives. Viktor Frankl survived the concentration camp by making suffering his meaning. People who are happiest and healthiest believe there’s an existence beyond the self. They have an awareness that: “they ain’t the center of the universe. They realize there’s something more outside, and they’ve incorporated that into their daily lives.”