Lymphatic System

Lymph: The River of Life

Where is this exotic oasis and will it make me look and feel younger?  This fountain of youth known as the lymphatic system is within all of us and when functioning at optimum levels; yes, it can make us feel energized and look younger.  That’s what we all want, right?  So what is this thing called lymph?

The lymphatic system is a part of the circulatory system and is responsible for the delicate balance of bringing healthy nutrients to the cells of the body while at the same time removing toxins and excess fluids from body tissues.  The proper functioning of this system is crucial to our body’s ability to detoxify and regenerate tissues and maintain a healthy immune system.

Lymph vessels are located in superficial and deep systems throughout the entire body.  The superficial vessels are tiny and arranged in intricate networks, fascia (connective tissue) in the dermis and do not have valves.  They connect with a deeper layer of vessels, larger in diameter, that do contain valves and run alongside superficial subcutaneous veins.  These are linked to an even deeper layer of vessels that run superficial to the muscles and deeper fascia and further assist in the transport of lymph back to the blood circulatory system.   During this process lymph flows through the regional lymph nodes where it is filtered of bacteria, toxins and dead cells.   There are 650-750 lymph nodes located throughout the body, primarily in the neck, axillary and groin areas.  Along with the thymus gland, tonsils and spleen, the nodes produce lymphocytes which enhance the body’s immune system.

This process can be hindered or stopped due to fatigue, stress, lack of activity, emotional shock, infections, surgery, swelling, age, or chemicals.  It is important to keep this “river of life” from becoming stagnate and the best thing we can do to keep the river flowing is to move.  Muscle movement=lymph movement.  Any type of exercise is great; but because of the buoyancy water creates, swimming is extra beneficial, even if you just stand in the water and move your arms and legs.  Deep breathing, drinking sufficient amounts of water and a low fat diet also help.  Manual lymph drainage therapy activates lymph fluid circulation using precise, rhythmic motions.   This will optimize the function of your lymphatic system by increasing the flow 10 times.  It is especially beneficial post surgery or injury to reduce swelling, minimize scarring and accelerate healing.  It has also been proven to alleviate symptoms of allergies, sinus conditions, headaches and edema.  Lymph drainage therapy is great for preventing stretch marks during pregnancy and also boost immune system function which is passed onto the baby through breast feeding.

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