First, we will start with a brief introduction to the lymphatic system in the body. The human lymphatic system is, in a sense, the body’s second circulatory system. It is made up of lymphatic vessels, lymph nodes, lymph (the interstitial fluid drained through the vessels), and lymphocytes (specialized immune cells). The tonsils, adenoids, spleen, and thymus are all part of the lymph system.
Our lymph nodes are soft, small internal structures located in the armpits, groin, and neck, as well as in the center of the chest and abdomen. The lymph nodes produce immune cells that fight infection while filtering lymph fluid to remove foreign material. When bacteria or other immune threats are present in lymph, lymph nodes increase production of infection-fighting white blood cells, which can cause the nodes to swell.
The lymphatic system has no “pump” of its own to move lymph through the system, as the circulatory system has the heart. Rather, bodily movement and breathing function to move liquid lymph through the vessels and filters of the lymph nodes. For people who get too little exercise and eat too much processed food, the lymphatic system can easily be overtaxed – resulting in a body that is susceptible to infection and disease.
Lymphatic massage can actually be a very beneficial home remedy when done properly and can have profound effects on the body. Lymphatic massage has the ability to increase the volume of lymph flow by as much as 20 times the normal flow. This greatly increases the body’s ability to remove toxins and infectious materials.
If you are already a generally healthy person, lymphatic massage can help the body fight colds and shake off fatigue. You can safely perform lymphatic drainage massage on the lymph nodes around your neck, ears, and throat, on the abdomen, and on the legs. Using very gentle pressure, first perform lymph drainage for the ears, on the neck area, then lymphatic breathing for the abdomen and finally, self-lymphatic drainage on the legs. Starting in the region of the neck helps clear the system for the lymph that is pumped to the lymph nodes as you work on the abdomen and legs.
Yoga is a great daily life practice that is a good accessory to lymphatic massage. It is especially good if you already are experiencing symptoms of lymphedema.
You can also hire a professional to give you lymphatic drainage massage. If you choose a knowledgeable practitioner, the result will be a relaxing massage that’s precisely targeted for your needs. If you suffer from long-term lymphedema, or localized swelling related to lymph system blockage, ask a professional’s help first.
If you want a type of treatment that is complimentary to your lifestyle, that can help the body release toxins and create more vitality, then lymphatic massage is a great option for you.