The lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials. The primary function of the lymphatic system is to transport lymph, a fluid containing infection-fighting white blood cells, throughout the body.
Therefore, it is directly related to our immune system, our immune system is directly related to our gut and our gut is related to our levels of inflammation. For this reason, those with pain and disease should not ignore the lymphatic system.
The lymphatic system primarily consists of lymphatic vessels, which are like the circulatory system’s veins and capillaries. The vessels are connected to lymph nodes, where the lymph is filtered.
The tonsils, adenoids, spleen (the largest lymphatic organ) and thymus are all part of the lymphatic system. Lymph is a clear and colourless fluid and unlike the blood, runs in one direction only upwards toward the neck. Here the lymphatic vessels connect to two subclavian veins and the fluid re-joins the circulatory system.
There are approx. 15 litres of lymph in our body which is 3 times more than blood. We need to replenish around 3 litres of this daily. Another important reason to stay hydrated! The lymph system depends on contractions of the smooth muscle cells in the walls of lymph vessels (peristalsis) and the movement of skeletal muscles to propel lymph back to the cardiovascular system. There is also a strong connection between our lymphatic system and our diaphragm – breathing correctly is so important when managing pain and other illnesses.
Many lymph nodes are quite superficial and can be felt by touching just under the skin in areas like the neck, groin, and armpit. There are many ways to stimulate the lymphatic system to aid in the detoxification process and therefore assist with pain, disease and general wellbeing.
- Daily rhythmic, whole body movement (rebounding, walking etc)
- Diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing- Click this link for a video
- Manual therapy i.e. the use of specific, gentle techniques on the body: I can teach you these so you can assist your own detoxification process and enjoy more energy and wellbeing.
- The use of infrared sauna
- Epsom Salt Baths – 1-2 cups in a warm bath and soak for 20mins
- Dry skin brushing – gentle circular motions from feet towards heart (avoiding face, breast, and delicate areas) to improve circulation and remove dead skins cells.