Liver-heart-lymphatic axis. The missing piece to helping your nagging discomfort and muscle tightness.

Danh NgoEastern Medicine Division, Fibromyalgia + Chronic Pain, Holistic Medicine Division, Liver, Lymphatic-Liver Health

liver lymphatic heart

What you may not be aware of is the connection of every organ to yourself. Today we will highlight the liver-heart-lymphatic system’s connection. As Long Beach’s only Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Physical Therapy that emphasizes healing from within, we preach that there are two ways to getting any little tension or discomfort to go away FOR GOOD.

1. Do more “good”.
2. Do less “bad” or get rid of the “bad”.

The lymphatic system works closely with your circulation system.

Why should you care?

You can do tons of “good” stuff like stretching and strengthening, but if you are getting little rewards or not lasting gains, you must look at the lymphatic system.

When you exercise, you produce waste products.

When your nerves fire and communicate with your muscles, your nerves produce waste products.

If you have an injury, inflammation produces waste products.

FROM A FUNCTIONAL – SPORTS Medicine Perspectives, meaning we look at all the possible root cause of why you are not mobile and active, waste removal is a factor we always factor.

Possible factors that causes stuck inflammation cycle include

1. Bleeding gums and mercury from dental procedures.
2. Environmental toxins like pesticides, plastics, lead, and many more.
3. Inflammatory foods like processed foods, sugar, and possible gluten sensitivity.
4. Lack of 8 hours of sleep.
5. Improper ratios of nutrient and mineral profile.
6. This list can go on and on.


1. Nerve injury that keeps coming back. i.e. recurrent sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome, awaking up with numb arms/legs.
2. Any discomfort to the neck, trunk, or pelvis region that stretching is not helping with.
3. Pain or discomfort to BOTH arms or legs.
4. Restless leg?
5. Bad breath.
6. Moody and irritable.
7. Sleep troubles.
8. Waking up and feeling tired.
9. This list can go on too.

ANATOMY 101: Liver – Lymphatic – Heart AXIS.

The liver.

The liver is a the largest digestive gland in the body. It has about 2000 roles in the body. You may be familiar in the liver’s role in detoxing and filtering the body. The other roles of the liver include metabolism, making and storage of nutrients, balancing hormonal levels, heat production and the breakdown of fats with bile.

Bile is important in the making of fatty acids from lipids. Fatty acids are important for energy and integral part of your cells.

The liver has a tremendous need for blood supply, as 1.5 Liters of blood passes through it.

Every organ has ligaments that helps it suspend inside your trunk. As many are familiar with spraining your ankle, knee or shoulder ligaments, you should apply the same care to these vital structures.

Visceral manipulations focuses on releasing the tension to the visceral ligaments.

An ankle ligament that does not get physical care becomes stiff and limits motion. As you provide direct Physical Therapy care to the ankle ligaments, you get superb ankle mobility results.

Your liver has 4 key ligaments that connects it to the diaphragm. There are 3 ligaments that connect the liver to the neighboring organs below it: large intestine, kidney, duodenum and stomach.

You can now imagine the broad connection of the liver to your whole body. The diaphragm has direct connect to your lungs, heart, and upper chest.

When you mobilize and manipulate a ligament that is dysfunctional, the organ can work better.

FYI. Here is a list of issues that are linked to the liver not moving well due to a liver ligament problem.

  • Right neck tension or recurrent spasms (aka waking up with kinks)
  • Any right scapula (shoulder blade) pain
  • Right shoulder “dull and achy” arthritis like pain
  • Weird and unexplained numbness and possible tingling to your arms like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
  • T7-9 or Rib 7-10 dysfunction
  • Headache or tension to the back of your skull.
  • Headache or tension to the forehead or nasal region.
  • Left sciatica via the kidney connection to your hip flexors and spinal nerves.
  • Right sciatica via the kidney or large intestine connection.
  • Right facial or jaw symptoms or pain via the connection to vagus nerve.

The lymphatic system.

Your lymphatic system helps to keep you healthy. Your lymphatic system is deeply connected to every tissues in your body, and this includes your joints, muscles, and bone. This is important as we help you to feel better through exercise and Physical Therapy.

Where there are blood supply, there are lymphatic vessels. This is important to know. Your heart pumps bloods and brings nutrients to every tissues in your body. Your body removes waste, aka toxins, via this blood-lymphatic exchange that is happening everywhere in your body.

For the sake of this article, we will focus on your liver-heart-lymphatic axis. Your heart brings blood to your liver via the celiac artery. Your celiac artery is located slightly under your sternum. The celiac artery branches to supply your liver, stomach, spleen, pancreas, duodenum, and gall bladder.

The blood shift from the nutrient dense arteries towards the waste filled veins that your liver wants to release. This is an area to know. Your liver releases the toxins to both your veins and lymphatic system.

The lymphatic systems remove waste through the urine via the kidneys, sweat via the skin, poop via the digestive-liver system, and breathing via the lungs.

Your veins bring blood back to the heart to be exchanged for “vibrant” and oxygen riched blood. If you are not aware, the heart and lungs work as a team, so the lung helps to expel the toxin waste via breathing.

The heart.

The information about the heart have been sneaked into the other two systems as we wrote above. Here is another overview. The pathways get complicated so many find it helpful when we write the information in different context.

We will highlight some key components of each system and tie it together for you to understand the big picture. Your heart brings blood to flow to all the tissues within your body via the ARTERIOLE system.

This is blood filled with oxygen and nutrients. The oxygen and nutrients goes to your muscles, joints, nerves, organs, and all other tissues within your body.

Your tissues uses this and trades it for waste. The waste goes to your VEINous system and lymphatic system.

The bigger protein waste goes to your lymphatic system so it can get process by your kidneys, digestive (liver), skin and lungs for removal and exit out of your body. This is done by you peeing, pooping, sweating and breathing, repectively.


The lymphatic and veins converge and brings all waste and deoxygenated blood back towards your Superior Vena Cava and Right Atrium of your heart.

This means that your venous system has a huge burden in making sure you do not stay inflammed. Your heart can get weakened from being overworked.

If you cannot recover, you can not move forward. It is important to understand that your body works together, heals together.

As you have an understanding of the whole system, it is important that we highlight the mechanical components that can be addressed to relieve pressure and/or optimize the function of the Liver-lymphatic-heart axis.

The heart has ligaments.

There are two ligaments that connect the heart to your cervical vertebrae. There are 3 more ligaments that connect and helps suspend the heart in the rib cage: Sterno-pericardial, xipho-pericardial, Phreno-pericardial, Vertebro-pericardial ligaments.

As many deal with the silent disease of high blood pressure, called hypertension, your liver and lymphatic system impacts your susceptibility of getting this. If your liver has a heavy load of 2000 functions and you make it work more to cleanse your blood and body, it will make your heart work harder. The heart’s vascular system will be under more pressure as there is this tug-a-war to push the blood through the liver, and the liver resisting this push.

The liver hates to be pushed as your body is intelligent. If your body feels like you are not ready for it to mobilize your toxins, it will hold onto it more. You can have a situation where your blood becomes filled with more waste products or toxins. We call this “dirty blood” syndrome.

Your lymphatics system becomes dysfunctional and you feel more nagging symptoms. You might have dragged out sinus infection, sore throat, itchiness, or low energy. You wake up moody and rely on coffee. Coffee is hard on your liver.

As a Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Board Certified Physical Therapist, we believe nagging injuries or muscle tendinitis that won’t heal has a liver-heart-lymphatic dysfunction.

Have a hamstring tightness that will not improve? Do you have tight hips muscles that need constant stretching to feel “just okay”? Do you feel like you have to pay for it the next morning after working out?

Our solution is to address the mechanics of a dysfunctional ligament and fascia that supports the liver or heart. We follow up this hands on visceral manipulation with a lymphatic protocol of nudging the flow of lymphatic fluid towards the heart and follow-up with movement.

Many have a stiff rib cage and thoracic spine due to sitting, smartphones, and improper exercising. We can enhance the liver-lymphatic-heart system with further spinal manipulations and realignment. This will complement the visceral manipulation of each organ.

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Dr Danh Ngo

Spine and Sports Medicine Expert

Doctor in Physical Therapy

Mind Body Health Result Coach

ReVITALize Rehab Club

3646 Long Beach Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90807