The lymphatic system is the most recent body system to be discovered. It was first formally described in 1652. This relatively recent discovery does not indicate that this is evolutionarily a new system. Instead it was identified so late because this system is naturally difficult to visualize. Our lymphatic system is comprised of transparent lymph vessels, lymph nodes, lymphatic organs and lymph fluid. Lymph is fluid that has naturally been lost into the tissues via the cardiovascular system and is generally clear. Since the lymph vessels are transparent and the fluid within them is clear, it made it difficult to isolate and name this system. Despite being our newest system, it is an incredibly important to our survival.
As mentioned earlier, lymph is the fluid that has been lost from the cardiovascular system. This fluid has naturally escaped the capillaries into the tissue, carrying proteins and white blood cells. It is ideal for the fluid to enter the tissue spaces (intercellular space) temporarily to aid in cellular health, debris removal and immunity. Following our cardiovascular vessels, lymph structures can be found. They help to retrieve this lost fluid and debris. The lymphatic vessels ultimately return the fluid back to the blood stream, thus maintaining blood volume. Also, the lymphatic system houses our immunity. Our white blood cells, lymphocytes, antibodies and immune factors circulate through these vessels and lymph nodes, constantly searching and destroying any pathogen or germ it encounters.
This constant collection and return of fluids and immune circulation is vital to our health. If this return is compromised due to surgery, radiation, lymph node removal or general trauma, the tissues will slowly engorge and swell (edema). If this swelling becomes severe and irreversible it is called lymphedema. Conventional medicine does not have many ways to treat edema or lymphedema. The most common method is compression wrapping/sleeves and lifestyle restrictions.
Lymph drainage is a light, manual therapy developed by a French Osteopath, Dr. Bruno Chikly. Lymph drainage is a methodical technique that aids in moving and routing the lymph and decongests the tissues. It can be helpful for drainage of superficial and deep congestion and inflammation of the skin, muscle, bone, and organ. By decreasing the fluid congestion and inflammation, the body works and feels better. Furthermore, encouraging lymph drainage aids in the circulation of the immune system.
Lymph drainage is light, gentle and comfortable. Lymph drainage can be helpful for:
- acute and chronic swelling
- fluid retention
- scar healing
- gastrointestinal concerns
- spinal pain
In addition, it feels good to receive a session. It is incredibly relaxing. Many persons make lymph drainage a part of their preventative and wellness visits. You should too!