blue bottles with dry brush and towels

This blog is introducing the lymphatic system and how lymphatic massage/drainage can benefit the overall look of your skin among other health benefits. 

What is the Lymphatic System?

Your lymphatic system is a system in your body that spans throughout almost every organ and tissue in your body in conjunction with your circulatory system. 

Every day your circulatory system delivers nutrients and proteins to the tissues of the body via blood plasma; however, it only reabsorbs around 90% of the fluid. The remaining 10% of the fluid is returned via the lymphatic system. 

Your lymphatic system delivers around 2-3L of fluid back to the bloodstream every day. 

Loss of the lymphatic system would be fatal within a day. Without the lymphatic system draining excess fluid, our tissues would swell, blood volume would be lost, and pressure would increase. 

Your lymphatic system has three main functions:

  1. It maintains the balance of fluid between the blood and tissues
  2. It is part of the body’s immune system and defends the body against unwanted organisms. 
  3. It facilitates the absorption of fats and fat-soluble nutrients in the digestive system.

Where is my lymphatic system?

The only organs in your body that do not have lymphatic capillaries are the central nervous system, bone marrow, mucous membranes, and the epidermis - the top layer of your skin. 

The organs packed with lymphatic capillaries are the lungs, gut, genitourinary system and the dermis - the second layer of your skin. 

Why do my lymph nodes swell when I am sick?

As the excess fluid (called lymph) travels through the lymphatic system it is required to pass through clusters of lymphatic tissue, called lymph nodes. Examples of these clusters are in your neck, armpits, and groin. 

The lymphatic system produces white blood cells, known as lymphocytes. Lymphocytes become activated when they come in contact with viruses, bacteria, foreign particles, etc… in the lymph nodes.

As the lymphocytes become activated, they form antibodies and start to defend the body. They can also produce antibodies from memory if they have already encountered specific pathogens in the past.

What is lymphatic massage?

 Performing lymphatic massage can assist the lymphatic system, reduce swelling and improve circulation.

You can get a professional lymphatic drainage massage and/or you can perform several activities in your daily life that will help support your lymphatic system. 

Ways to support your Lymphatic System

  • Dry brushing - this is a whole-body activity. Check out our Youtube Video here.
  • Hot/cold showers - the switch from hot to cold constricts the muscles and helps move lymph. 
  • Massage - professionally or at home. Use Vanilla Citrus Body Oil for your body, massaging throughout with your fingers. Use one of our Face Serums for your face and try the Oil Cleansing Routine
  • Exercise - any kind of movement will be helpful to your lymphatic system. Walking is especially great!
  • Yoga - Yoga postures can be helpful because of their intentional positions to contract and release areas in the body. 
    • Not into yoga? Simply putting your legs up the wall after standing/sitting all day can help drain the lymph from your feet/legs. 
  • Shaking/Vibrational Therapy - Jumping on a trampoline, or going for a ride on a bumpy road or trail does much more than make your vocal cords sound shakey. 
  • Hydration - Every system in your body requires water for proper function. Often temporary swelling in the face and feet is related to an excess of sodium (perhaps from food or alcohol). Time and hydration with water, electrolytes, and some herbs can make a difference. 
  • Gua Sha - a technique and tool from Traditional Chinese Medicine that is currently hitting the mainstream.
  • Other facial tools like the Jade Roller and tools from Reflexology Experience

What will lymphatic care do for my skin?

  • Reduce swelling and puffiness
  • Improve circulation - promotes healthy glow, reduce scarring. 
  • Smooth out complexion 

Resources:

January 23, 2020 — Kimiko Foster
Tags: Wellness

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