WHAT IS THE LYMPHATIC SYSTEM?
The lymphatic system is a second pathway back to the heart, parallel to the venous system. Lymph is a fluid that originates in the connective tissue spaces of the body. Once it is in the first lymph capillaries, the interstitial fluid is called lymph. This systems transports large proteins, foreign bodies, pathogenic substances (germs, toxins, etc) and many other components in its pathway through the lymphatic nodes which act as an active purification center. The nodes break down and destroy those particles so they can eventually be flushed out of the body through the eliminary tract. There are 400-700 nodes in the body half in the abdomen.
What is the function of a lymph node?
It is a filtration and purification station for the lymph circulation. It capture and destroy toxins of the body. They concentrate the lymph, reabsorbing about 40% of the liquids present in the lymph. They produce lymphocytes (The production is increased when the flow of lymph is increased through the nodes. The use of manual techniques such as Lymph Drainage Therapy (LDT) increases the production of lymphocytes.)
Systems Affected by LDT
Fluid System: circulation, reabsorption, detoxification.
Lymphatic System: amplitude, frequency of contraction. Capacity and reroute.
Blood Circulatory System: increased filtration and absorbtion
The Immune System: White Blood Cell (WBC)
Nervous System: Increase relaxation and decrease spasms with analgesic effect. C-fiber mechano-receptors has a pain inhibitory effect. Gate Control Theory.
Visceral System: Improved fluid movement to and from tissues.
MAIN FUNCTIONS OF THE LYMPHATIC SYSTEM
Absorb excess fluid. Recover and return substances to the blood. Regulates the fluid volume and pressure in the tissue (equilibrium). Helps transport Immunocompetent cells (lymphocytes, hormones). Carries food components absorbed from small intestine to blood circulation.
MAIN ACTION OF LDT
- In the liquid/blood. Activates lymph function and circulation. Indirectly stimulates the circulation of the body (i.e. dilates blood capillaries and enhances reabsorption, activates venous circulation) Lymph drainage reduces edema through these effects.
- In the immune system: The passage of lymph into the lymph nodes stimulates the immune sustem with increasing white blood cells.
- In the nervous system: Decreases the sympathetic response and stimulates the parasympathetic tone- relaxation, anticeptic effects, antalgic actions.
Gently performed by licensed physical therapy, massage therapy,and occupational therapy at Synergy Healthcare in Spokane Washington.