The lymphatic system is a branch of the circulatory system and a major part of the immune system. It is made up of organs (spleen, thymus, tonsils, adenoids) and lymph nodes and vessels. It produces the clear, extracellular fluid (lymph) that bathes the tissues and circulates it through the lymphatic system and back into the bloodstream. The lymphatic system transports white blood cells and is responsible for keeping our bodies free from bacteria, viruses, excess water, protein, inorganic materials, destroyed cells resulting from surgery or trauma, cancer cells, and dead cells.
“Because lymph fluid moves slowly without aid of its own pump, inactivity can seriously restrict its flow. Muscular contraction through exercise and deep breathing are the primary means by which our lymph circulates, but lymphatic drainage massage provides another helpful option,” writes Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN NP, in The Lymph System and Your Health.
Lymphatic Drainage Massage is a gentle, connective tissue massage technique that accelerates the movement of lymph. The precise, rhythmic strokes and pumping action of the massage cause the small lymphatic capillaries near the skin surface to open and close, enhancing the movement of the lymph.
The benefits of Lymphatic Drainage Massage include:
- decongests all lymphatic pathways and enhances immune function
- removes bacteria, viruses, cancer cells and dead cells from the body
- improves nutrition to the tissues, increases tissue metabolism
- promotes elimination functions, helps remove toxins
- reduces edema or tissue fluid retention, establishes fluid balance
- stimulates pain-inhibitory reflexes, reduces pain
- induces deep relaxation.