Why Lymphatic Massage Is The Unsung Hero Of Your Body
Take microbiologist Maurice Hilleman for example. He developed over 40 vaccines in his lifetime (including measles, mumps, Hep A and B and meningitis) and is attributed as saving more lives than anyone else in the history of our planet. Have you ever heard of him? Sadly, unless you’ve studied medicine, you’re unlikely to ever have come across his name.
How about Civil Engineer Joseph Bazalgette? Ever heard of him? He designed the London sewer system in the 1800s and ‘Hey presto!’ relieved the city of cholera, typhus and typhoid epidemics. Once again, millions of lives saved but, chances are, you’ve never heard of him either.
Just as history books are filled with unsung heroes, so are our own bodies. Take our kidneys for example. Sure we’ve all heard of them, but many don’t appreciate just how much they do. They produce hormones, absorb minerals, filter blood and still find the time to produce urine. Yet the role of our kidneys is often underrated when we think about their importance in our overall health and well being. The heart and our lungs steal that show rather well.
The same thing is true of our Lymphatic System, which is not only unsung, it’s also the least understood system in our body. No surprise there however because it is a sprawling and relatively complex structure. And a lymphatic massage is an easy way to give this system a kick start
It’s not an easy system to explain either – but we’re going to give it a jolly good go regardless.
We promise that it is rather fascinating and it all begins with the curious case of…
The What? What The Lymphatic System Is
The Lymphatic System is part of the circulatory system. It’s a network of delicate tubes that spaghetti themselves around our bodies. These tubes carry a clear liquid called lymph – and lymph is good! It’s chock-full of white blood cells that wear a mask and a cape (we like to imagine) and fight infection. They also destroy damaged or abnormal cells, like cancer cells for example. Hurrah!
Meanwhile, in our circulatory system, roughly 20 litres of blood are processed every day. During this process plasma is removed from the blood, while the blood cells are left to carry on and do their thing.
Seventeen litres of filtered plasma are reabsorbed directly into the blood vessels – but – three litres linger around as Interstitial Fluid. Which we will call – very simply – ‘juice’.
If these daily three litres of ‘lost’ juice were to accumulate in the tissues between your organs – I think you can image just how ‘juicy’ you would soon become. The Stay Puft Marshmallow blimp from Ghostbusters springs to mind.
So, enter stage left to rapturous applause: The Lymphatic System! Bravo!
The system’s little valveless extremities act like tiny little vacuums and allow these spare three litres of juice to re-enter your circulatory system. But first they have to pass through the strict filtering system of the lymph nodes and – if any bacteria, abnormal cells or viruses are found – the lymph nodes instruct the white blood cells to “Attack!”
Why We Love Massaging The Lymphatic System
Needless to say that the Lymphatic System plays a super important role in protecting us from illness and disease and it does more besides. It absorbs fats from our intestines too for example, and it has big brothers such as the spleen, the thymus, the tonsils and the adenoids. But all that is for another day and another blog post.
For now, it suffices to say, that to have a Lymphatic System that works well is paramount to our health and well being.
If you know the importance of the Lymphatic System – you can better appreciate how beneficial one of our favourite massages can be.
Introducing – The Lymphatic Massage
Performed by an especially trained therapist, this massage is a slow and methodical process. It uses a directional technique designed specifically to guide fluids towards your lymph nodes. It calms the nervous system and provides therapeutic benefits as well. This style of massage:
- Increase the efficiency of your lymphatic and circulatory systems
- Boosts your immune system
- Stimulates the circulation of lymph fluid around the body
- Speeds up the elimination of wastes from a slow Lymphatic System
- There are other tips on how to support your lymphatic system here
Who Lymphatic Massage Helps
Mostly everyone – and some people in particular! A massage of the lymph system stimulates the entire body and boosts the immune system which is beneficial to us all. Many clients say they feel ‘lighter’ in body and experience an increase in energy, too.
However, this style of massage is thought to be particularly helpful for those who have certain conditions or issues – for example:
During pregnancy: Lymphatic Massage provides relief when fluid retention strikes in the feet and legs.
For Healing: Post-surgically this massage helps relieve pain and reduce swelling and scarring. It is also very beneficial to those who are in recovery from injuries, sports injuries, respiratory complaints, infections, chronic fatigue and also for those who are physically inactive.
Skin problems: The ‘flushing’ effect of this massage brings about a clearer complexion and eases puffiness around the eyes.
Weak Immune System: If you have been sick more often than usual this season and feel that your immune system is compromised, then Lymphatic Massage could be particularly helpful to you.
Hinders Fluid retention: Lymphatic Massage rids your body of excess fluid – so you will weigh slightly less afterwards due to its diuretic effect. Removing excess fluid can also improve circulation.
Helps with Rehab: The ‘flushing’ effect of the massage is particularly beneficial to those undertaking a detox plan. It also helps those striving to reduce or cease their intake of alcohol or who are going through the process of giving up smoking.
Lucky for you, our Ripple Massage therapists have many years experience in delivering Lymphatic Massages. These massages help our clients maintain a healthy Lymphatic System and give them the best chance possible of avoiding more serious medical issues in the future.