No, it isn’t your bowels! Welcome to the wonderful world of Lymph! The lymphatic system is one of the first lines of immunological defenses of the body. It has many other extremely important functions as well.
The lymphatic system creates immune cells such as lymphocytes, monocytes, and plasma cells. The lymphatic system sends these cells throughout the body to wherever they are needed. It then carries away dead cells to be removed.
It is the circulatory system’s sister and is the second pathway back to the heart. Lymph is the fluid that helps produce the connective tissue of the body – think fascia and bones, to name a couple. The lymph system does not have its own pumping system like the heart in the circulatory system. Movement is key!! (Look forward to my video series – Combatting FFP – Front Forward Posture)
Ever wonder why massage therapists always tell you to drink more water? The lymph system is throughout the body and a lot of it is just under the skin. So, when you receive a massage, the lymph fluid has been manipulated, releasing toxins.
Think of cleaning with a sponge. Before you use the dirty sponge somewhere else, you have to clean it. Same thing with our lymph. Once it has been manipulated it has to be cleaned out by drinking more water. The type of water you drink is also important. (Look for the Hydration vs Saturation) If you ever feel like you have the flu the next day after a massage it means you need to drink more water!
When the body has had surgery or trauma, the damaged tissue responds with inflammation to protect the area (not to mention the fascial response, which we will talk about in another article). Lymphatic massage helps to reduce painful swelling from the traumatized area.
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