The lymphatic system is a very important part of our anatomy, and yet it is often overlooked or misunderstood. Lymph fluid circulates throughout the body, bringing oxygen and nutrients to our cells and removing toxins that have built up in our systems. It is a key contributor to keeping infections at bay and maintaining a healthy immune system. Clearly, then, its valuable contribution to our well-being makes the lymphatic system a bigger priority than most people realize.
Why Does the Lymph System Need Help to Work Properly?
The challenge for the lymph system, is that unlike the circulatory system which moves blood throughout the body by using the heart as a pump, lymph fluid is moved by the blood vessels and through regular muscle movement. This means that for many people who aren’t as active as they’d like to be, or whose lymph system has become sluggish due to illness, age or physical limitation, the natural lymph drainage may be inadequate to maintain optimum health.
How Can Your RMT Help with Lymph Drainage?
Helping to improve the flow and draining of lymph fluid can have a positive effect on the body in many ways. It can:
- Help to fight common colds and viruses and improve recovery time from infections and other illnesses
- Increase your metabolic rate, helping with weight loss and maximizing the effects of exercise
- Decrease water retention that can build up in people who have to sit for long periods of time or who aren’t able to be physically active
- Improve skin health by reducing puffiness and swelling, allowing for removal of toxins that contribute to blemishes and blotchiness
- Increase circulation to help the body detoxify, leading to improved overall well being
Can Massage Therapy Help with Lymphedema?
While many people suffer from an occasional collection of lymph fluid and most can benefit from a lymphatic drainage massage to optimize health, some people suffer from a chronic condition called lymphedema in which the lymph system cannot drain excess fluid. This leads to excessive swelling, usually in the arms or legs. This swelling is measured in stages and can go from mild to excessive. Primary lymphedema means that it is genetic. Secondary lymphedema is caused by an outside catalyst that changes the functionality of the lymph system. There are many causes for secondary lymphedema, but the most common one is cancer treatment, wherein the lymph nodes are removed for prevention, screening or treatment of cancer. In either case, the condition is permanent and while it can be treated, there is not a cure.
Complex Decongestive Therapy for Lymphedema
The most effective treatment for lymphedema is a combination of manual lymph drainage, compression therapy, an exercise routine and proper skin care. Your RMT can help you to develop an appropriate care program for your condition to help you look and feel your best. Regular clinic care and patient participation can help to keep lymphedema symptoms from worsening over time as well, so it’s important to have continued care and to develop an approachable treatment plan as soon as possible for optimal results.
How Can I Help to Improve My Lymphatic System?
There are a couple of simple things everyone can do to improve their lymph drainage.
- Drink lots of water. Water helps to flush toxins through our bodies and improves the efficiency of our lymph system.
- Get some exercise. The more you move, the better your lymph fluid can circulate. Not everybody can run a 5k each morning, but most of us can find a way to squeeze in a little exercise each day to get things going.
Whether you are suffering from lymphedema or simply looking to take advantage of manual lymph drainage for its many health benefits, contact one of our RMT’s to find out how we can help.