The lymphatic system

March 7, 2017 6:57 pm Published by
Your blood circulates throughout the body, travelling in various sized vessels collectively called the vascular system i.e. veins, arteries, capillaries etc.  The blood supplies all the tissues of your body with nutrients and oxygen and gets rid of waste products.
When the blood enters the smallest vessels, the capillaries, plasma leaks out to surround the tissues. This fluid is known as interstitial or tissue fluid.  It is via this tissue fluid that nutrients and waste products pass between the blood and the cells.
Most, but not all of the tissue fluid, passes back into the circulatory system, taking the waste products with it. The rest drains into the lymphatic capillaries which serve to carry the excess tissue fluid away from the body’s cells and return it to the blood. If the fluid were not removed in this way the blood would become gradually more viscous and the tissues would become more swollen.
Once the interstitial fluid (tissue fluid) is inside the lymphatic capillaries it is called Lymph. The lymph circulates through body, via lymphatic vessels, picking up fats, bacteria, and other unwanted materials.
On route through the system the lymph passes through lymphatic nodes, these nodes are small round structures and are the production points for lymphocytes, which are specialist white blood cells involved in immunity and production of antibodies. The lymphocytes main function is to prevent bacteria from gaining access to the blood stream.
In the event of an infection the lymph nodes may increase in size as larger numbers of lymphocytes are produced.  The lymph is finally returned to the blood system via the left and right subclavian vein. 
The circulation of lymph through the body is an important part of your immune system health.
The effects of massage on the Lymphatic System
Our body contains about 50% more Lymphatic fluid than blood. Unlike the blood circulatory system, the Lymphatic system has no pump of its own to move the lymphatic fluid around the body. It relies instead on physical body movement and neuro pulses along the nerves.
When these become restricted lymphatic drainage slows. This leads to congestion within the lymph nodes which results in toxins and waste products accumulating. It also leaves the body more open to attack from: Colds, Flu, Sinus, Bronchitis and Viral infection.
Oedema (swelling), Water Retention, Cellulite, Lethargy, Glandular Inflammation, Heart Disease, Cancer, Enlarged Prostate, Fibrocystic or tender breast tissue, early ageing and an overall sense of lethargy can also be signs of an under active Lymphatic system.
One of the many effects of Deep Tissue Massage is to stimulate the flow of Lymphatic fluid and assist with the drainage of the Lymphatic system.
Some of the strokes used in massage, particularly DT Massage, help to stimulate lymphatic function, flow and drainage; they also assist in the relaxation and stimulation of the nervous systems. They balance the organs, assist in structural balance and improve all over physical and emotional well-being.
Regular massages assist to increase Lymphatic circulation and regulate the flow of fluid throughout the entire body. This nourishes and cleanses cells, flushes the body of harmful wastes and toxins, increases resistance to sickness and disease. Reduction of Oedema may assist to detox the body and the regeneration of tissue.

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This post was written by Chris Wood

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