The Lymphatic System is a drainage network of fluid, organs and vessels that is responsible for the removal of cellular debris, large proteins, foreign bodies, pathogenic agents (bacteria, viruses, toxins etc.) and excess fluid from the extracellular spaces. The lymph moves through the lymph nodes, which act as active purification centers. The primary lymphoid organs include the bone marrow and thymus. The secondary lymphoid organs include lymph nodes, spleen, appendix, tonsils, adenoids and Peyer's patches (lymphoid tissue present in the small and large intestines). Their function is to defend the body against aggressive agents entering the body or to destroy accumulated wastes.
There are approximately 6 to 10 liters of lymph in the body, compared to 3.5 to 5 liters of blood. About 1.5 to 2 liters of lymph per day circulate throughout the whole body. Efficient activation of the lymphatic circulation can increase this number from 10 to 30 liters per day. Lymph vessels slowly increase in size, moving lymph toward its entry into the circulatory system, behind the heart. The lymphatic system is not connected to the heart, so it has to rely upon some other method, usually muscular contraction, to create the necessary pumping action needed to move lymph. The lymphatic system is filled with millions of one-way valves, which allow lymph fluid to flow in one direction only – usually upward and away from gravity.
Lymph passes through processing and collection centers called lymph nodes which:
Massage has been shown in numerous studies to relieve stress, improve circulation and lymph flow, enhance immune function, relieve muscle and joint pain, and correct various disorders of the muscles and nerves. Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is an advanced therapy in which the practitioner uses a range of specialised and rhythmic gentle pumping techniques to move the skin in the direction of the lymph flow. This promotes lymph flow, which in turn removes waste products.
Chronic dehydration can slow and stagnate the flow of lymph. This is just another reason to make a serious effort to drink sufficient pure water each day.
There are homeopathic drainage products and programs designed to resolve lymph-related problems and various light/laser or electrical devices developed to reduce lymphostatic edema, often used with lymphatic massage.
The most important methods of promoting lymphatic circulation are external massage, muscular activity, vigorous exercise and adequate hydration.
Warning: Do not wear any tight fitting clothing while suffering from lymphatic congestion! It is also wise to avoid constant pressure on the same site, such as sleeping in the same position.
Allergies, prostatitis, chronic sinusitis, heart disease, eczema and other skin conditions, fibrocystic disease, chronic fatigue, repetitive parasitic infections, MS, edema, lupus erythematosis, inflammation, high blood pressure, bacterial infections, viral infections, puffy eyes, low back pain, cancer, ear or balance problems, arthritis, headaches, cellulite, excessive sweating and obesity.
Drinking plenty of water makes sure the body is well-hydrated and helps the lymphatic system do its job of flushing toxins and waste from the body.