What is the Lymphatic System?
- One part is a collection of small tubes found right throughout the body, think of these tubes as part of the circulatory system of the body
- The other part of the lymphatic system is a collection of larger tissues found in various areas of the body
A closer look…
The tubes (or vessels) of the lymphatic system roughly follow the pathway of the veins in the body. The veins in our body functions to send blood back to the heart. The heart then pumps blood back out to the body through the arteries. However, the pressure from the arteries causes some of the fluid and nutrients in blood to leak out into the surrounding areas. The lymphatic tubes then pick up the excess fluid and nutrients (mainly proteins) and send it all back towards the heart to be re-used by the body. Therefore, all the fluid and nutrients in the body is not wasted. The fluid that travels through the lymphatic vessels are called ‘lymphs’.
The lymphs are transported through lymph vessels by muscles contracting and us moving our bodies. The fluid will then travel through a filtration system, called the lymph nodes. Any bacteria, viruses or even cancer cells will then be dealt with by immune cells here. After, the freshly cleaned lymph travels to a vein close to the heart. The lymph then re-enters the blood and the cycle continues.
The small intestines also have some specialised lymph vessels, that help the body absorb fats from the foods we eat. This is another important function of the lymphatic system.
A dysfunctional Lymphatic System?
Sometimes the flow of the fluids in our body can become compromised – this can occur from an injury or disease. As a result, congestion can occur and things may become stagnate. Take a look out the effects that this can have, down below.
Effects of a dysfunctional lymphatic system
- reduction in mobility
- pain throughout body
- lymphedema – a swelling caused from a backlog of fluid
- commonly seen in the hands, arms, feet and leg
The most common treatment for a dysfunctional lymphatic system is lymphatic drainage. This consists of massaging the build up of lymph to then travel towards a lymph vessel. A key principle in osteopathy is maintaining fluid balance in the body, therefore, if you are having any swelling or concerns with the flow of fluid, give us a call on 03 9846 2800. For lymphatic drainage, book in with Margit. If you’re not sure, you can book with Margit or you might like to book with any practitioner that suits you so we can determine what will best help the flow of your lymphatic, and circulatory systems.