Your Lymphatic System
Is your body draining wastes properly? Though we’re all familiar with the role of blood and the circulatory system in delivering nutrients to our cells, less attention is paid to the system that drains wastes from our cells: the lymphatic system.
Your lymphatic system involves a complex interplay of lymph nodes and vessels (mainly in the neck, armpit and groin) and includes tissue in the thymus, spleen, appendix and lining (mucosa) of the digestive and respiratory tract. This system works hard to drain metabolic wastes and toxic particles from the body. Lymphatic tissue also serves as a central “hub” for immune activity, allowing lymphocytes to collect, concentrate, and fight foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses.
The lymphatic system does not have an independent “pump” (compared to the heart and blood circulation) and is reliant on osmotic pressure and contracting muscle to push fluid and wastes through the system.
Signs of impaired lymphatic flow
- Cellulite and edema (swelling in the upper and lower limbs)
- Chronic and recurrent sinusitis, bronchitis, yeast and other infections
- Chronic inflammation and pain
- Fibrocystic breast lumps and tumours
- Impaired wound healing
- Persistent fatigue from impaired toxin clearance
How can we support lymphatic drainage?
Simple manual techniques such as lymphatic drainage massage and Chinese cupping therapy can help your lymphatic system. You can also include techniques such as dry brushing, hot/cold contrast showers and exercise to enhance drainage of the vessels and clear lymphatic fluids.
Lymphatic Drainage Massage
Lymphatic drainage massage helps the body’s natural drainage and pump system to function at its best, helping to decrease pain and heal the body more easily and faster. Lymphatic drainage massage helps to take some of the pressure off the lymphatic system. Think of the drain in your bathtub getting clogged with hair; in essence, lymphatic drainage massage unclogs the drain and allows the water to drain naturally.
Acupuncture, Acupressure and the Laser for the Lymphatic System
Chronic sinusitis affects over 40 million Americans a year. It is the most common chronic condition in the United States today. Bacteria, fungi, viruses, protozoa and environmental conditions, such as molds, can cause sinusitis. It is important to combine a number of treatment techniques to alleviate issues with the sinuses and the lymph system.
When used in tandem with standard Western treatments, alternative therapies such as acupuncture, acupressure, the laser and dietary changes may spell significant relief for patients battling chronic sinusitis (March 2012 Archives of Otolaryngology).
Lymphatic acupressure, acupuncture and the laser stimulate specific lymph nodes by breaking the particles which then activate the entire lymphatic system. Treatment with acupuncture can help reroute the lymph flow around blocked areas into more centrally located lymph vessels or gently clears the congestion of the lymph vessels and nodes that eventually drain into the venous system.
The use of a combination of any of these methods will encourage the body’s lymph fluid to drain to the major lymph node stations within the body to stimulate the detoxification and purge of the body retained fluids.
Who can benefit from these treatments?
- Athletes can accelerate the removal of lactic acid from their muscles, and have faster recovery from strenuous competitions, work outs and training.
- Surgery patients can accelerate the reduction of swelling, pain, bruising, infections, and speed up the healing process.
- Cancer patients can benefit from these treatments.
- Allergy sufferers can reduce the frequency of reactions and headaches.
- Everyone can improve digestive and colon health, reduce water retention and edema (swelling), have healthier looking skin, and improve overall health.
By getting regular lymphatic treatments, the immune system is boosted. Keeping the body clean leaves less debris for microorganisms to attach to and invade the body as a virus. It is like cleaning food crumbs off of the kitchen counter to keep away the bugs!