The Lymphatic System

By Emma Thompson (Musculoskeletal Therapist)

Our Lymphatic System is our intrinsic detoxification system, working tirelessly to remove excess fluids, metabolic debris, unused proteins and dietary lipids from soft tissues to filtration organs. It is our frontline of defence in fighting infection, playing a key role in our long-term immunity to disease and being an integral component to overall health and wellbeing.

The Lymphatic system is one of three circulatory systems. The Arterial brings oxygen and nutrients to tissues and our Lymphatic and Venous remove wastes. The Venous system is responsible for approximately 90% of our total waste removal from tissue (mostly water) and the lymphatic system picks up any left over proteins, bacteria and invader cells that have escaped the vessel walls and entered into interstitial spaces (space between body organs and tissues).

Unlike our Venous and Arterial systems (which are powered by the heart), muscular contraction, breathing and movement mechanically drive our Lymphatics to transport lymph in a one-way directional system towards the heart.

If there is stagnation within our lymphatics our whole system can come under stress due to an accumulation of toxins, bacteria and cellular waste congregating in our bodies. Fatigue, stress, emotional shock, lack of physical activity, food additives and environmental toxins can stagnate flow contributing to a sluggish lymphatic flow.

Lymphatic function supports every system in the body. The reality is we have twice as much lymph in our bodies as blood. It bathes every single cell and drains debris away from our circulatory system. If the efficiency of our lymphatics becomes compromised it can result in any one of our systems being affected. If you liken your lymphatic system to a river: When a river is healthy and plentiful the water runs clearly and free, if the river is inert it travels slowly and eventually becomes built up with wastes and a breading ground for bacteria and disease. The same is true for our lymphatic system.

Manual Lymphatic drainage is a tactile therapy designed to stimulate and enhance the various functions of the lymphatic system promoting the optimum environment for fluid balance, cellular waste removal and immune defence to occur. Light repetitive directional effleurage strokes are used to manually affect the workings of the superficial lymphatic capillaries. When there is no to little force on capillaries they open allowing a filling phase of fluids to occur. Once a pressure to tissues is applied, closing of the capillary takes place creating movement. Lymphatic drainage massage technique is the encouragement of opening and closing lymphatic capillaries.

The actions of MLD (Manual Lymphatic Drainage) stimulate lymph flow via lymphatic channels towards nodal sites where purification, filtration and destruction of cells can occur.  After lymph fluid is concentrated it is filtered back into the cardiovascular system for eventual removal of toxic by-products through elimination organs such as the Kidneys, Liver, Colon, Skin and Lungs.

Lymphatic Drainage is a beautiful way to re-set our bodies and mind providing our entire system with a wellbeing overhaul, fruitfully encouraging all of our systems and stimulating our parasympathetic nervous system.

Lymphatic Drainage can be used as a treatment in itself for a number of conditions or to compliment other wellness modalities, gut-repair and detoxification programs. The most common reasons people seek Lymphatic Drainage is to assist with:

Autoimmune Conditions
Digestive Conditions
Compromised Immunity
Cold and Flu
Odema
Pregnancy
Menstrual Cramps
Muscle Soreness and Cramping
Post Trauma
Detoxification
Stress and Relaxation

If you would like further information in regards to Lymphatic Drainage Massage or to book an appointment with Emma feel free to contact Luxton Clinic on (03) 9824 6864. We also offer Lymphatic Drainage Massage packages.