Your lymphatic system's job is to flush all your toxins away, and keep you healthy. Lymphatic
drainage massage can help.
Within us all there is a silent system working to keep us healthy- the lymph system. Without it our
bodies would swell up like balloons, swamping our cells with stagnant fluid. The lymph system's
impact is so far reaching that many don't even realise that minor aches and pains, low energy or
susceptibility to colds and flu may be due to a sluggish lymph system and a compromised immune
system. On this page we will discuss what happens and how lymph drainage massage can help,
as well as contraindications to lymphatic massage.
Lymph vessels make an intimate meshwork that covers every inch of your skin, and surrounds
each organ in great detail. The lymph vessels start very small in what are called the initial
lymphatic. Over 70% of the initial lymphatics are in and just under the skin. The initial lymphatic is
a very delicate structure, one cell thick. Those cells are supported within the connective tissue by
collagen and elastin fibres that help to anchor them in place. When the pressure within the
interstitial space increases due to a buildup of fluid, or when the skin is slightly stretched, the
filaments deform the wall of the initial lymphatic, opening it up. Then the interstitial fluid flows in
and starts to move along the channel. At this point we start calling it lymph. Although only 2-3 liters
of lymph is filtered through the lymph system per day, it is vital because it helps to remove proteins
that that are too large to get back through the capillary wall.
(Guyton and Hall, Human Physiology and Mechanisms of Disease, 6th edition, W.B aunders
Company, Philadelphia, 1997, page 139) The spaces that open in the initial lymphatic are 4 to 6
times bigger than the spaces in the capillaries.
Removal of protein is essential because they draw water to themselves, so excess protein in the
interstitial spaces causes swelling or edema. The lymph vessels also collect dead cells, waste
products, bacteria, viruses, inorganic substances, water and fats.
Eventually, all lymph vessels lead to lymph nodes. Lymph nodes can be as small as the head of a
pin, or as big as an olive. There are 400-700 lymph nodes in the body, half of which are located in
the abdomen, and many are in the neck.
The primary function of lymph nodes is to filter and purify the lymph. The lymph nodes produce
various types of lymphocytes. Lymphocytes destroy harmful substances within the body, and are a
big part of the immune system. The lymph nodes reabsorb about 40% of the liquid content of the
lymph. This makes the lymph much thicker. Because of this thickening and the filtering process,
the lymph nodes offer the greatest resistance to the flow of lymph. In fact the lymph nodes offer
about 15 times more resistance than the vessels themselves.
Lymphatic drainage can help overcome this resistance and get the lymph flowing.
The lymph system is part of your body's immune system; lymph helps fight infection and acts as a
toxin filter. There are around twice as many
lymph vessels as blood vessels in your body. However, unlike blood, which is pumped around your
body by your heart, the lymph system has no pump. Lymph relies on the pressure from your blood
vessels and movement from your muscles to carry white blood cells and antibodies around the
Lymph itself is a clear, slightly yellow fluid which flows easily through your body. It transports
nutrients and oxygen to cells, collecting toxins on the
way and then flushing the toxins out through the lymph nodes.
Drinking alcohol, eating too much sugar, drinking too much tea and coffee, living stressed lives in
polluted cities -- there are many reasons these days why our bodies are full of toxins.
Lymphatic drainage massage can have a beneficial effect on your general health. Because lymph
is key to keeping your immune system working properly, improving the flow and drainage of lymph
around the body is good for you in lots of ways. It can:
* reduce the chance of you suffering from minor colds and viruses; it helps your body fight off
infection and speeds up healing and recovery from
* help reduce water retention; for instance, because the lymph system has no pump, if you sit for a
long time without moving, the lymph can't flow easily -- this is why you may experience swollen feet
* boost weight loss, as improving the lymphatic system will improve your metabolic rate, which
helps you burn calories more efficiently
Roll Shape lymphatic massage is also used in the treatment of lymph-oedema.
Lymphatic drainage is about flushing out your system; you can do this every
day by drinking plenty of water and staying active.
One of the best things you can do for your lymphatic system is to be more
active. Even the most gentle activity will help encourage a
healthy lymph flow, as movement of the muscles exerts pressure on the
lymphatic vessels and keeps them moving.
Lymphatic drainage can leave you feeling exhausted. You may want to have
a lie down, or at the very least, a very undemanding schedule for the rest of
the day. You might like to treat yourself to a gentle swim or a sauna
afterwards. Give your body time to ease back into activity.
Lymphatic drainage massage may also leave you really thirsty. We've seen
people who are not usually water-drinkers reaching for bottles of water
like it's free champagne.
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