What is the lymphatic system?
The lymphatic system is part of your immune system and has many essential functions within your body. Technically, it’s a collection of tissues, vessels and organs that work together to move lymph (a colorless watery fluid) back into your bloodstream.
Your lymphatic system is responsible for protecting your body from illness, maintaining body fluid levels, absorbing fats from your digestive tract, and removing cellular waste. It can be negatively affected by blockages, diseases or infections.
Every day, about 20 liters of plasma flow through your body’s arteries, blood vessels and capillaries. Seventeen of those liters return to circulation after delivering nutrients to your cells and tissues, while receiving their waste products.
The three liters that remain seep through your capillaries into your body’s tissues. Your lymphatic system then is responsible for collecting the excess fluid (lymph) from tissues and moving it along until it ultimately returns to the bloodstream.
What are the key functions of the lymphatic system?
The lymphatic system contains many different functions, but here are a few of the most important ones.
- Maintains proper fluid levels in your body: Collects excess fluid that drains from cells and tissue throughout the body, returns it to the bloodstream, and recirculates it through the body.
- Absorbs fats from the digestive tract: Lymph includes fluids from the intestines that contain fats and proteins and transports it back to the bloodstream.
- Protects your body and immune system: Produces and releases lymphocytes (white blood cells) and other immune cells that destroy foreign bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi.
- Transports and removes waste products and abnormal cells.
What is lymphatic drainage massage?
Lymphatic drainage massage is a specialized service that gently assists the lymphatic system in maintaining the body’s fluid balance, blood circulation, and immunity. Your lymph nodes are responsible for filtering out debris, and are found throughout the body, especially in the neck, armpits, and groin. These major collections of lymph nodes ensure that the lymph passes through as many nodes as possible before it returns to the circulatory system.
A lymphatic drainage massage uses a series of gliding, compressing, stretching, and cupping motions over the entire body. The light movements stimulate the lymphatic system without compressing the vessels – allowing lymph to move easily through the tissues and lymph nodes. It follows a particular sequence to ensure lymph isn’t trapped anywhere, and every area is treated with care.
What are the benefits of lymphatic drainage treatments?
- Reduce water retention and bloat
- Alleviate cellulite and assist in weight loss
- Detoxify body tissues
- Relieves chronic muscle and joint pain
- Support immune function by stimulating white blood cells to fight infection
Does lymphatic drainage really result in weight loss?
Many people who receive lymphatic drainage massage report weight loss, but the reality is actual fat loss is not happening. Rather, the treatment helps reduce water retention and bloat -- according to anecdotal evidence and reviews. Massage therapists like to highlight benefits as body contouring and promoting relaxation, but there are many more valuable benefits associated with the treatment.
Where can I go to get lymphatic drainage and how often should I do it?
Our absolute favorite therapist is Narumi of The Ogawa Method in LA. Narumi’s method integrates Energy Medicine, Intuitive Healing, Craniosacral, Sound Healing and Lymphatic Drainage. The lymphatic abdominal treatment paired with deep breathwork is extremely beneficial for your health.
What are other ways to support the lymphatic system?
- Exercise: This will move fluid through your body in a similar manner. Go for a quick 15 minute jog and focus on deep breathing.
- Dry Brush: Increases circulation and promotes drainage.
- Swim: The compression from the water helps stimulate lymphatic circulation.
- Gua Sha: Promotes circulation.