Written by Olga Hayward Rehabilitation Therapist, APPI Pilates Instructor
BSc Sport Rehabilitation and Injury Prevention, APPI Pilates
While many of us have heard of the lymphatic system, most of us would admit to knowing very little of it’s vital role in good health. Often referred to as the ‘invisible system’, just what is the lymphatic system, and why is it so important?
The lymphatic system is a large network of tissues, vessels and organs that work together to move a colourless, watery fluid called lymph back into your bloodstream.
This ‘invisible system’ is so important as it removes metabolic waste from our body to help protect us from infection. In essence, the Lymphatic system:
- is responsible for removing toxins and waste throughout our bodies.
- improves circulation by draining lymph that has leaked from the blood vessels into the tissues and emptying it back into the bloodstream via the lymph nodes.
- supports the immune system to produce white cells called Lymphocytes which form antibodies and help defend the body from viruses and bacteria.
- keeps our body’s fluid in balance to prevent oedema, which can occur after surgery, with a diet high in salt, with prolonged sitting or standing and during pregnancy.
- absorbs dietary fats and fat soluble vitamins from our intestine and transport it to the bloodstream for energy or to store.
Now, let’s look at 5 simple things you can do to look after your Lymphatic system.
- Drink lots of fresh water throughout the day. Dehydration is a common cause of lymphatic congestion and can worsen existing health problems.
- Keep moving as the lymphatic system depends on movements of muscles to carry lymph towards lymph nodes.
- Use deep breathing techniques in your daily routine to stimulate oxygen flow to blood and drain lymph.
- Boost your healthy diet with fresh fruits and vegetables, avoid fast food full of salt and sugar and limit alcohol.
- Manual lymphatic drainage massage which has been proven in research to reduce swelling, lymphedema, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, lipidaemia, migraine and sinus problems.
What is Manual Lymphatic drainage?
A gentle, non-invasive form of massage which stimulates the flow of lymph around your body. Stimulating the flow of lymph around the body promotes better circulation and promotes the most efficient elimination of our body’s waste and toxins. Better circulation also enhances the delivery of nutrients to cells, providing a boost to our immune systems. In essence, manual lymphatic drainage can:
- stimulate blood circulation and improves repair of our body’s tissues
- increase lymphatic flow to speed up the removal of excess fluid
- promote the most efficient elimination of toxins to boost immunity
- reduce swelling and water retention
- induce relaxation
Manual lymphatic drainage is available with our specially trained Massage therapists at our Wimbledon clinic.