by Vera Lovewell, RN, LMT
The lymphatic system is so important to our health. It plays a vital role in balancing our body’s fluid distribution. The lymph system is also a major component of our immune system. It aids in filtering bacteria and toxins out of the body and assists the body to fight infection.
As with any system of the body, there are things we can do to optimize its function. Unlike the circulatory system, the lymphatic system doesn’t have a central pump (heart) to move fluids. It depends on the pumping action created by the movement of muscles; so exercise and activity are important to the functioning of the lymph system. The muscle movement of the diaphragm is a major mover of the lymph; therefore, good deep breathing is important. A good balanced diet that maintains a healthy weight is also important. Treat yourself well and you’ll treat your lymph system well.
Unfortunately, despite good effort, not everyone is blessed with a healthy lymph system.
Whether it is residual damage from a surgery or a traumatic injury, or a genetic trait, some people experience an insufficient lymph system that causes chronic edema in their leg (s) or arm (s); lymphedema. Many people are never adequately treated. In the USA manual lymph drainage wasn’t really practiced until the 1980’s – 90’s. Manual
lymphatic drainage and complete decongestive therapy can treat this problem, reducing the edema and supporting the lymph system.
Lymphatic drainage is beneficial to many people. It is used to reduce lymphedema caused by dysfunctions or impairments of the lymph system. It assists with the edema and healing of chronic leg wounds often found with venous statis/peripheral vascular disease. Manual lymphatic drainage reduces the chronic inflammation suffered by people with various forms of arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other autoimmune diseases. And, it is also beneficial to the healthy population who desire to detox their bodies and give a boost to their immune systems.
Manual lymphatic drainage is a very gentle massage technique that encourages the flow of lymph from the extremities back toward the body’s center and to the circulatory system. Decongestive therapy is the wrapping done with special bandages after manual lymphatic drainage treatments. It helps maintain the flow of lymph and furthers reduction of edema.
It’s an exciting field that is beneficial to many people and I’m happy that it can now be offered at Twin Ponds Integrative Health Center.
If you have a need for Lymphatic Drainage or Complete Decongestive Therapy, please