The lymphatic system is one of the most important systems in the body and it is vital for good health. But what exactly is it and what are some natural therapies that can be used to keep it functioning at its best? Read this article to learn more.
What is the Lymphatic System?
The lymphatic system is quite complex and is made up of several lymphoid organs, lymph nodes, lymph ducts, lymph capillaries, and lymph vessels that collect and transport lymph fluid from the tissues to the circulatory system. It is a major part of the immune system. There are about 600 lymph nodes in the body. The lymphatic system also has special small vessels called lacteals that enable it to absorb fats and fat-soluble nutrients from the gut. Lacteals work with the blood capillaries in the folded surface membrane of the small intestine. The blood capillaries absorb other nutrients directly into the bloodstream.
Lymphatic System Functions
- removing excess fluid from bodily tissues
- absorbing fatty acids and subsequently transporting the fat as chyle to the circulatory system
- producing immune cells such as monocytes and lymphocytes
The lymphatic system is not a closed system and the lymph fluid moves with low pressure because of other bodily functions such as peristalsis, valves, and the milking action of the skeletal muscles. The lymph fluid only travels in one direction. As it moves through the body, it collects the toxins and other waste products from the cells and expels them through excretory organs like bladder, lungs, and skin. The lymphatic system is significant for both the immune system and detoxification of the body, and if it is not functioning properly, then a variety of illnesses can develop.
The signs that the lymphatic system is not working properly include:
- swelling or edema
- swollen glands
- a tendency for infections or viruses
- recurrent tonsillitis or sore throats
- a tendency for constipation
How Can I Improve My Lymphatic System
Manual Lymph Drainage for the Lymphatic System
Manual lymphatic drainage is a massage treatment that uses circular movements to stimulate the lymph nodes and improve the circulation of lymph fluid throughout the body. The movements act as some sort of external pump that draws lymph fluid through the channels and improves the release of toxins out of the body. This type of massage treatment is not like other traditional massages as the movements are designed specifically to increase lymph flow. Manual lymph drainage is a gentle massage technique as applying too much pressure can cause thickening.
Lymphatic System Light Beam Therapy
As the name suggests, the light beam therapy and the Lymphatic System Light beam therapy use light beam generators to break up any blockages in the lymph. In this case, the practitioner focuses the equipment on certain areas of the body where the lymph is blocked. Then, the energy produced breaks up the clusters of lymph protein molecules, therefore unclogging the stagnant lymph fluid. Oftentimes, light beam therapy is used together with lymph massage and is deemed to be useful for lymphedema.
Dry Skin Brushing and the Lymphatic System
The skin is the largest organ in the human body. It both absorbs and expels substances, from good ones like vitamins and minerals to bad ones like toxins. Dry skin brushing, a technique based on acupuncture, recognises that there are nerve points on the skin that can be used therapeutically. It applies friction to these points, therefore revitalizing the whole nervous system so that every part of the body receives benefits. It also helps to move lymph fluid through the vessels.
Herbal Wraps and the Lymphatic System
Body wraps that use herb-made essential oils can help stimulating the circulation of the lymph fluid. The herbs that can help the circulation and stimulate a stagnant lymph include rosemary, eucalyptus, sage, and juniper. The herbs that help detoxify the lymph include Irish moss, aloe powder, buckthorn, ginger, bayberry, and seaweed.
Exercise and the Lymphatic System
Exercise is very important for a healthy lymphatic system. Regularly engaging in exercise makes vigorous motion in the body, and this is vital for the stimulation of waste disposal and to improve the flow of lymphatic fluid.
Updated: 5 April 2019
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