- WHAT IS THE LYMPHATIC SYSTEM?
A. FUNCTION OF LYMPHATIC SYSTEM
Our bodies are always protected by the immune system. A big part of it is the lymphatic system. To understand the lymphatic system, you can imagine it as an extensive network located throughout the body, containing vessels and nodes with lymph, a mixture of proteins, water, waste products, and immune system elements. About 600 lymph nodes in our body swell in reponse to infections. They filter all the debris to make sure clean lymph is transported back to the veins that carry blood toward the heart. By maintaining a clean bloodstream, the lymphatic system keeps us alive and healthy.
The lymphatic system has three main functions: Fluid Recovery, Immunity & Detox, and Lipid (fat) Absorption
B. FLUID RECOVERY
The lymphatic system helps maintain fluid balance in your body by collecting excess fluid and particulate matter from tissues and depositing them in the bloodstream. It maintains the balance of fluid between the blood and tissues. Each day, around 2-3 liters of fluid is returned. This fluid includes proteins that are too large to be transported via the blood vessels. That is when the lymphatic system has to step in to drain it back. Without the lymphatic system draining excess fluid, our tissues would swell, blood volume would be lost and pressure would increase.
C. IMMUNITY & DETOX
Our bodies are constantly exposed to potentially hazardous micro-organisms, such as infections. An important function of the lymphatic system is to defend our bodies against those unwanted organisms.
The lymphatic system produces white blood cells. As they reach the lymph nodes, they are filtered and become activated when they go in contact with viruses, bacteria, and so on in the lymph fluid. The lymphatic system then forms antibodies and starts to defend the body. It can also produce antibodies from memory if it has already encountered the specific pathogen in the past. Our bodies are in on-going active and proactive protection thanks to the lymphatic system
D. LIPID ABSORPTION
The last but not least function of the lymphatic system is the absorption of fats and fat-soluble vitamins from the digestive system. The lymphatic system has tiny lacteals that absorb fats and fat-soluble vitamins in the intestine. This plays a vital role for our general health.
- MANUAL LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE BACKGROUND
Manual lymphatic drainage, also known as Lymphatic drainage massage, has been long used since the technique was developed by Dr. Emil Vodder and his wife in 1936 in Paris for treatment of swollen lymph nodes. It is a light, skin-stretching massage that helps promote the movement of lymphatic fluid out of the swollen limb. It should not be confused with a traditional massage, as it affects the fluid system, not the muscles like a traditional massage. Therefore, it affects our bodies’ immune systems, not just for relaxing purpose.
Generally, lymphatic drainage massage is a safe treatment. However, lymphatic drainage massage is not recommended for people who have heart diseases, kidney failure, kidney problems, blood clots, or infections.
Our qualified therapists are also well-trained so they will not massage swollen or infected areas. You are recommended to drink extra fluids, ideally 2 to 4 glasses of water, after each massage to help flush the body.
Lymphatic drainage massage might be more effective than connective tissue massage in relieving symptoms of stiffness and depression.
Lymphatic drainage massage also benefits people who are experiencing the following:
- swelling or edema
- skin disorders
- digestive problems
- migraine episodes
For best results, lymphatic drainage massage needs to be performed by a qualified and well-trained therapist. Also, remember to drink water. Well-hydrated tissue helps moves out waste materials.