What is your Lymphatic System?
Your lymphatic system performs various functions. Most importantly, it filters, destroys and eliminates foreign substances and toxic waste from your body and is an important part of your immune system. This is the system that fights infections and prevents the spread of disease throughout the body.
Lymph is a clear and colourless fluid that slowly moves throughout your body via lymph vessels. The lymph vessels are a separate and parallel network to blood vessels. The lymphatic system also consists of specialised tissues, cells and one-way valves.
Unlike the blood circulatory system, which has a heart to pump the blood, your lymphatic system requires movement to function properly. This is where massage can be of great benefit to the system.
The Importance of your Lymphatic System
Think of your lymphatic system as your body’s sewerage system. Just like when you go to the toilet your waste is flushed away through the pipes to a collecting station where it is then filtered, broken down and processed. The same thing happens in your body.
The lymphatic system is made up of a large network of pipes (lymph vessels) and filtering stations (lymph nodes). Through these pipes waste products, which have been collected from your body’s tissues, organs and cells, are transported in fluid (lymph) to the cleansing and filtering stations (lymph nodes).
In this fluid (lymph), there are special white blood cells (lymphocytes) acting as frontline soldiers, whose job is to ensure that the waste products are transported to the filtering stations (lymph nodes).
Once the lymph has reached the filtering stations there are other soldiers on duty that assess and direct the waste to appropriate departments. Some will go for recycling, some will need to be broken down and neutralised and then there are the hazardous foreign substances (antigens) such as viruses and bacteria that need to be destroyed.
This is where the special forces of the lymphatic system are alerted with a message describing the intruder. Like SAS soldiers who have been trained to destroy that particular enemy, they are sent armed with the exact ammunition (antibody – blood protein) to take action. Every time a new intruder is detected by the lymphatic system, new ammunition is designed specifically to match it for termination.
From the filtering stations (lymph nodes) the remains from the battle need to be removed from the body. The next process involves transporting them to a holding bay (thoracic duct) where the remains are deposited into the blood system for removal. Once in the blood system, they are then transported to your liver to process them through the eliminating channels via your kidneys (urine) or bowel (faeces).
You know when you have a cold or flu and sometimes you notice swollen lumps in your neck? These lumps are inflamed ‘glands’ or technically known as lymph nodes. When they are swollen it is an indication that a battle has or is taking place. It takes a lot of energy for your body to fight off these unwanted intruders and this is why you often feel tired and lack energy.
If your lymphatic system is unable to defeat the intruders or is not functioning efficiently you can get dysfunctional diseases and possibly immune diseases.
Where are your Lymph nodes located?
They are primarily clustered in your neck, armpits, groin, abdomen, chest and pelvic area.
What causes your Lymphatic System to become impaired or sluggish?
The performance of your lymphatic system can be influenced by environmental and physiological factors:
- Infections of legs and/or genitals
- Throat infections, tonsillitis
- Skin infections
- Glandular fever, Ross River
Benefits of Lymphatic Drainage Massage
- Improves or restores lymph that has become impaired
- Prevents or reduces fluid retention
- Enhances the removal of toxins from body tissues
- Supports the immune system
- Improves lymph circulation
- Soothes and calms the nervous system
Breasts – regular lymph drainage of breast tissues and glands (especially under the armpits) is very beneficial for breast function. For those women who have undergone breast surgery, many find that their lymphatic system is impaired resulting in swelling and pain. Lymphatic drainage may help to reduce the swelling and help to normalise lymphatic function. In addition, it can reduce discomfort of breasts and nipples during and after pregnancy.
Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) therapy uses non-invasive, feather light techniques designed to stimulate the functions of the lymphatic system. Expect this therapy to be a lot slower and much lighter than your standard massage treatment. It can be experienced as very soothing.
A Lymphatic Drainage Massage usually lasts for 1 hour, costs $100 and is performed by our highly qualified massage therapists. If you have private health cover you may be entitled to a refund from your fund.