I have now started taking bookings for Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) so I thought it might be useful to write a short blog introducing the lymphatic system before introducing Manual Lymphatic Drainage. If you can’t wait then click on the Manual Lymphatic Drainage tab at the top of this website for more information.
What is the lymphatic system?
The lymphatic system is a one way drainage system that removes excess fluid from the body’s tissues, maintaining the balance of fluid in the body. It returns the fluid to the circulatory system once it has been filtered, making it an important part of the body’s immune response.
The lymphatic system is closely related to the circulatory system. However, instead of the blood being pumped around the body by the heart, lymph (fluid) is pumped around the body by muscle contraction and gravity. This lymph contains a high number of a type of white blood cell called lymphocytes that fight infection and destroy damaged or abnormal cells.
How does the lymphatic system work?
The lymph seeps into the body’s tissues from the blood vessels around the body. The lymphatic system takes up this fluid and transports it through a system of lymphatic vessels and nodes. The lymph carries nutrients to the tissues and carries away waste products, bacteria, disease, toxins and bad cells.
The fluid, or lymph, travels through the lymphatic vessels one way, valves stop it going backwards. These connect to groups of lymph nodes such as under your arm pits, in your groin and in your neck. The lymph nodes are filters, a bit like a water filter. They help to protect us from infection and disease by filtering and destroying bacteria and disease before the lymph returns to the bloodstream.
From the lymph nodes the lymph moves into larger lymphatic vessels and eventually drains into two lymph ducts, the thoracic duct which is in your chest and the right lymphatic duct which is at the root of your neck. These ducts then empty the lymph back into the circulatory system. Your spleen, thymus, tonsils and adenoids are also a part of your lymphatic system.
What happens if the lymphatic system is impaired?
If the lymphatic system is impaired or slowed down in any way or you have had lymph nodes removed during surgery (such as cancer surgery), fluid can “pool” in these areas as it cannot drain away. A bit like when a drain gets blocked. This causes swelling, or lymphoedema. An impaired lymphatic system can also lead to feelings of sluggishness, feeling “under the weather”, low energy, constant colds and viruses and poor skin condition.
How can you help your lymphatic system?
Exercise is good for the lymphatic system as it improves muscle activity. Regular exercise and keeping active will help encourage lymph fluid to drain. You could also book a regular Manual Lymphatic Drainage treatment.
Where can I find out more?
To find out more go to http://sportsandremedialmassagehampshire.com/manual-lymphatic-drainage/
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