Manual Lymphatic Drainage: A Gentle Technique for Healing and Health
Oct 01, 2012 02:34PM
● By Lee Walker
A well-functioning lymph system, which holds the body’s predominant fluid, consists primarily of lymph and lymphatic vessels, nodes and nodules. Contributing to the maintenance of healthy body tissue, this system plays an important role in our immune responses and is sometimes referred to as the body’s garbage collector.
The circulatory system is largely responsible for delivering nutrients from digested foods and oxygen from inhaled air to the body’s cells. The lymphatic system’s role is equally significant: removing toxins, bacteria, cholesterol and cell waste. Many immune processes occur within the lymph nodes, and when lymphatic vessels are not functioning at their optimum due to blockage, the body’s immune system becomes defenseless against viruses, fungi or bacteria.
Congested, damaged or severed lymphatic pathways allow fluids and proteins to build up in the body’s connective tissue, which can lead to congestion and swelling, as well as cell and tissue abnormalities. When this happens, the lymphatic system transports the damaged cells, inflammatory products and toxins away from the area, thus aiding recovery. The quicker this response by the lymphatic system, the faster healing occurs, and this is where manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) can make a difference.
A gentle technique that employs light pumping movements along the lymphatic pathways, MLD targets the lymph nodes and vessels. It can improve the functioning of the immune system by increasing lymphocyte, or white blood cell, production to help fight infection and foreign bodies.
Unlike the heart, which drives blood through the body’s circulatory system, the lymph system is without a pump and can become sluggish. The gentle MLD movements, as well as exercise, help to move lymph and improve flow of the fluid through the nodes, where it is filtered and purified.
MLD is especially helpful in reducing fluid retention and draining a range of edemas (swellings) that are caused through mechanical failure of the lymphatic system or the surgical removal of lymph nodes as a treatment for breast cancer. The treatment also helps with ailments such as allergies, headaches, sinusitis, low energy and frequent infections.
For more information on manual lymphatic drainage, contact Licensed Massage Therapist Jean Woodilla at 239-597-1328.