Guest Blog: Our Lymphatic System

Our Lymphatic System

Our Lymphatic SystemDr. Melina Roberts

The lymphatic system is our secondary circulatory system.  It plays an important role in supporting our immune system and treating inflammation in the body.  The lymphatic system circulates throughout the entire body.  The lymphatic system is made up of lymphatic fluid, lymphatic vessels, lymphatic nodes, the spleen, the thymus, tonsils and Peyer’s patches in the gut.  The lymphatic system drains and cleans up all the tissues in our body.

Lymph nodes are biological filtering units and are distributed throughout the body.  Lymph nodes produce white blood cells called lymphocytes that defend the body against microorganisms and other harmful pathogens or toxins in the lymphatic fluid before it returns to the blood stream.

The obvious sign that the lymphatic system is congested or not flowing effectively is edema or swelling, but there is often more subtle signs such as lowered immune function, chronic infection, chronic inflammation and reduced detoxification capacity.  Reduced immune reactivity is another sign of lymphatic congestion.  The immune system can become less reactive to microorganisms or toxins if the body is in acidosis, therefore when a person says that they never get sick, it is not necessarily a good sign.

Promoting lymphatic drainage is significant in addressing inflammation. The lymphatic system removes and filters inflammatory mediators.

The lymphatic system can become congested from food intolerances, immune challenges, heavy metals, environmental toxins, surgery, scars or structural imbalances.

Food intolerances can lead to the ineffective breakdown of foods where certain proteins get caught in the lymphatic fluid.  Immune challenges such as viruses, bacteria, fungi or parasites whereby the lymphatic system is working to removing and eliminate these pathogens from circulation can lead to congestion of the lymphatic system.  Heavy metals and environmental toxins will congest the lymphatic system as they overload the detoxification pathways and this leads to chronic inflammation. Scars or surgery or structural imbalances can lead to physical barriers in effective drainage of the lymphatic system.

When trying to improve lymphatic circulation, it important to also understand flow pathways of this closed internal system.  We have a superficial lymphatic system that drains our head, neck, skin and breast tissue.  Then we have a deep lymphatic system that drains all of our deep vital organs.  The superficial lymphatic system drains into the deep lymphatic system, the fluid then filters through the liver and empties out the colon.

Most typical lymphatic massages only focus on the superficial lymphatic system and without properly stimulating the deep lymphatic system, there cannot be proper drainage of the superficial lymphatic system into the deep lymphatic system.  Also if the liver is congested or the colon is not moving effectively, then can back up the system and cause congestion of the lymphatic system.

In order to support proper lymphatic drainage, the deep lymphatic system needs to be stimulated, the liver to be supported and the bowels need to be moving effectively.


Dr. Roberts is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor in the province of Alberta and clinic director at Advanced Naturopathic Medical Centre in Calgary.  She is a member of  the College of Naturopathic Doctors of Alberta (CNDA), the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND), the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM), the Biological Medicine Network, the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians and the American Osteopathic Association of Prolotherapy Regenerative Medicine.


NUNM stands for National University of Natural Medicine

NUNM stands for National University of Natural Medicine formerly NCNM (National College of Natural Medicine)

Priority One has a long standing relationship with NUNM and continues to support the efforts of the naturopathic students seeking an education as a naturopathic physician.


This school was founded in 1956 and is the oldest North American program accredited by the Council of Naturopathic Medical Education. NUNM is one of 7 accredited naturopathic schools which meet both federal and academic standards. For over 50 years they have been offering ground-breaking naturopathic medical education.

NUNM is located in the #pacificnorthwest city of Portland, OR  just a hop, skip and jump away from our headquarters in WA.

Many well respected physicians that are today’s leaders are the alumni of the NUNM program. They have proven their ability to heal and paved the way through a time period in history when they were not as respected as today. They are now protecting naturopathic medicine by educating the next generations. Their ‘pearls of wisdom’ will be passed down. One of the ways they are accomplishing this is through the Foundations of Naturopathic Medicine Project supported by NUNM. Priority One was the first company to embrace this project and supported it annually for many years. We look forward to the final textbook that will be essential to all naturopathic students to come, passing on these pearls of wisdom. Proven, Paved, Protecting, Pearls = #WiseNDPearls

Priority One has sponsored many events and continues to be a silver sponsor of NUNM, continuing our support to advance NUNM for future generations. For decades #NiftyDude George Bynum represented Priority One on campus and was privileged to meet and work with many of you. He truly is honored to be apart of the naturopathic community. We are proud to have him represent us for over 25 years.


NUNM offers 8 community outreach clinics this truly shows how much they care for the community of Portland, and the dedication of students that choose NUNM.

Look for Priority One’s tree on campus sponsered in 2006 and growing nicely. We look forward to watching it mature on campus while it provides a natural green area.

Priority One has had a student representative on campus for many years. Our current representative for the 2016-2017 calendar year is Emma Petshow. 

If you are a student look for Emma’s tabling events on campus to get your catalog, samples and student specials. You may also fill out the student form on our website to open an account.

Newest achievements:

NUNM leading the way in research with the Helfgott Institute 

The Oregon Health Authority recognizes our Health Centers as providing “the gold standard of care”

Learn more about NUNM.

Are you interested in other checking out the other naturopathic colleges? AANMC can help.