The lymphatic system is one of the primary processing / detox systems of the body.
While most people are familiar with how the other major processing / detox systems work (liver, kidneys and bowel), the function of the lymphatic system is often a mystery.
The lymphatic system performs 3 main functions:
– Drain excess fluid from the body (3 litres per day)
– Transport dietary lipids and fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K)
– Protect the body by carrying out immune responses
The lymphatic system is a whole body system, running beside the circulation system. It has vessels to move fluid; nodes to eliminate toxins and viruses, and ducts to drain waste. Unlike the circulation system it doesn’t have a pump (Heart) to push the fluid around. It primarily relies on muscle contraction to function. Another main contributor is breathing (causing internal pressure).
An example of how your lymphatic system works is when you have a flu. The lymph nodes in your neck increase in size as an immune response when a virus is present. You can feel the nodes as lumps on the side of your neck when enlarged.
For the lymphatic system to function properly there are a few things we need to do:
– Drink enough water – the lymphatic system operates as fluid.
– Move regularly – long periods of inactivity reduces lymphatic function.
– Keep breathing. Understanding lung function and capacity is well worth the chat with your doctor or physical therapist.
Lymphatic drainage is a manual therapy designed to assist the function of the lymphatic system by increasing the movement of the lymphatic fluid.
Many medical conditions result in excess fluid retention (swelling) e.g. sprained ankle, post breast cancer surgery where lymph nodes are removed, etc. Lymphatic drainage can be employed as an effective tool in the treatment of such conditions. It can also be used as a treatment to help in the general maintenance of our bodies. If using as a general treatment ensure you have a minimum of 1 litre of water in the preceding couple of hours.
See reception to book an appointment or find out more information.
Simon Ayling (RMT, Clinical Pilates Instructor)