Lymphatic Drainage

What is The Lymphatic System

The extraordinary workings of the lymphatic system make blood circulation look simple by comparison. Made up of fine vessels and lymph nodes, this little-known circulation is an important part of the immune system. It quietly goes about its business, filtering out waste and debris, and carrying nutrients to cells.

The lymph nodes do the collection and filtering of waste material from cell fluid, while the lymph vessels return the fluid back to the general circulation.  It clears the entire body, stopping excess fluid from lying around in the tissues.  It always heads towards the heart.

Unlike the heart, lymph doesn’t have a pump to push it round the body.  It relies mainly on our muscular action and body movement to keep the fluid moving.  As well, it needs all areas of the body to be in good condition; that means adequate fluid intake, excellent nutrition and high level well-being.

What Goes Wrong

When the lymphatic system doesn’t work efficiently, the tell-tale signs of oedema or tight swollen tissue appear.  A common instance is seen after a long-distance air travel: ankles and legs become tight and puffy. It’s due to lack of movement, pressure on lymph vessels from sitting, and the hanging position of the legs.  Medical conditions can also be the cause of oedema. But as well, by the end of winter, after too little exercise, too much starchy food, and far too many hot chocolates, our bodies may be pretty sluggish and longing for a fresh start to get that fluid moving.

What is Lymphatic Drainage?

When you intervene and encourage the fluid to drain properly, it’s known as lymphatic drainage. You can jazz up your whole system with a treatment, whether or not you have fluid retention.  It can be a stand-alone procedure, or it can be incorporated into a massage treatment.  You can even do it yourself.

All treatments are not the same; it depends on the condition being treated, but the aim is always to get the fluid moving out of the tissue and towards the heart.

 

What Can It Be Used For?

A surprising number of conditions respond to lymphatic drainage. If a medical condition is involved, you should consult your practitioner first:

  • Swollen ankles and legs after air travel
  • Tight sore breasts – PMT or fibrocystic disease
  • Headache
  • Medical conditions – after removal of lymph nodes
  • Following cosmetic surgery – liposuction, scar tissue

    Reasons for Poor Lymphatic Flow

    Poor lifestyle choices are the commonest causes of an inefficient lymphatic system, though they are certainly not the only ones.

    • Lack of exercise – lymphatic fluid needs muscle power to push it round the body
    • Poor diet – may increase congestion and produce more waste for the lymph to pick up and dispose of
    • Pollutants – environmental and dietary
    • Surgery and trauma
    • Pregnancy

    Major Benefits of Lymphatic Drainage

    Every part of the body is influenced by the lymphatic system, because no matter what the purpose of the cells, they all need nourishing and cleaning.

    It’s important in immunity, inflammation and healing in general, so an efficient lymphatic system is going to help in many areas.  Lymphatic drainage is a way to achieve that efficiency.

    • Skin care: For a clearer complexion and to lessen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in facial tissue, as well as reducing puffiness around the eyes.
      Old scar tissue can be reduced while the appearance of new scars can be minimized. It’s commonly used before and after cosmetic surgery.
    • Detox: At the end of winter, or after a period of high stress, the body will really benefit from lymphatic drainage, to reduce the sluggishness brought on by too many starchy, high fat foods and too little exercise.
    • Headache: Most headaches including sinusitis have a component of congestion that responds well to   lymphatic drainage.   Once tissue is decongested, blocked fluid and blood flow improve, reducing pain and discomfort.
    • Promote healing: After surgery or injury, the tissue may be swollen and sore. Lymphatic drainage is a gentle treatment that will help drain the tissue, reduce inflammation and improve healing.
    • Pregnancy and after: There is often fluid retention in pregnant women and lymphatic drainage can improve comfort especially in legs and feet.  Breast feeding will be enhanced by this treatment, especially when there are problems with blocked ducts and sore tight breasts.
    • Reduce swelling: After long periods of immobility such as air travel or lessened mobility, fluid tends to stagnate in the tissue making it puffy and tender.
      Conditions such as arthritis often have joints that are congested with fluid. All of these respond well when fluid is reduced with lymphatic drainage.
    • Relaxation: Because it is such a gentle treatment, it is one of the most relaxing.  And the relaxation is enhanced as the cleansing and rejuvenating effects relieve stress.

    Most people will notice improvements in their level of wellbeing after a treatment because lymphatic drainage has so many benefits.  Keep yourself looking and feeling in tip-top condition with a regular session.