Getting to know your lymphatic system

Getting to know your lymphatic system

The lymphatic system drains excess fluid from the body’s tissues and plays a vital role in supporting our immune system. Manual Lymphatic Drainage is an established massage therapy that can help the system to function more efficiently.

Little is known about the body’s lymphatic system or manual lymphatic drainage (MLD), a treatment that helps the system to function more efficiently, and in doing so, promotes healing and relaxation in the body.

The lymphatic system has long been called the neglected child of medicine, It was neglected by the scientific and medical communities, but over the past 20 years, we have come to realise how vital it is to maintaining good health.

The lymphatic system consists of lymphatic vessels, tissues, organs, and glands that clean the body’s tissues by draining a watery fluid, called lymph, from the cells. Water, protein, glucose, and other nutrients are distributed to the body’s cells and approx. 2.5litres of what isn’t utilised is collected by the lymph fluid is delivered back to the heart through the lymphatic vessels for recirculation.

Lymph plays a role in the immune system, picking up metabolic waste and other unwanted material on its journey around the body. These include bacteria, viruses, and damaged or mutant cells, such as cancer cells. It travels through lymph vessels that connect to lymph nodes, where white blood cells lay dormant ready to attack and break down anything that needs to be removed from the body.

There are times when our lymphatic system slows down. Unlike our blood-circulation system, lymph circulation doesn’t have a pump and needs us to move for it to move.

This means that if we are immobile for a time, our lymphatic system can become sluggish. This can also happen after a viral infection, in the aftermath of trauma or stress, post-surgery or during pregnancy.

When the system slows down, it can lead to the body not eliminating its waste efficiently, which can cause water retention, swelling, or bloating.