The lymphatic system is made up of a network of thin tubes that run throughout the body called lymph vessels and oval-shaped organs called lymph nodes, which collect and filter lymph. As blood flows throughout the body, a thin, yellow fluid called plasma leaks out from blood vessels and mixes with interstitial fluid and water to surround the cells in different tissues. This mixture contains food for the cells, blood cells that are important for immunity, and also waste put out by the cells. It drains into the lymph vessels, after which it is called lymph, and is then transported to lymph nodes, which contain immune cells. Since the lymphatic system doesn’t have any way to move the fluid on its own, it relies on the movement from muscles in the body to push the fluid along, and valves to keep the fluid going in the right direction.
Once in the lymph nodes, the fluid is filtered, any disease-causing organisms are killed. Other organs that work with this system include the spleen, which takes out dead or damaged red blood cells and contains white blood cells to fight disease, and the thymus, which produces more white blood cells. The tonsils and adenoids also work with this system and protect the digestive system and respiratory system specifically.
Problems with Lymphatic Drainage
Since the lymphatic system plays such an important part in immunity, problems with lymphatic drainage can cause very serious health conditions. When lymph vessels or nodes are damaged or missing, the fluid cannot move quickly away from an area of the body. This causes it to pool up in the surrounding body tissue, causing it to swell. This is called lymphedema. If the fluid remains in the tissue for a long period of time, it can prevent the transportation of oxygen from the bloodstream to the tissue’s cells and interfere with wound healing.
LD consists of specific movements that are used to lightly push lymph through the system, helping it to drain out of the tissues and move throughout the body. This treatment is commonly used to help with lymphedema, which can be caused by heart problems, wearing tight-fitting clothing, and injuries like sprains, fractures, viral infections and etc.