Lymphatic System 101: What You Should Know
Lymphatic Drainage is a popular topic in the wellness community, but what does it even mean? And how does the lymphatic system work? Here, we’ll take a look at one of the body’s most important systems — and offer up some ways you can take care of it. Hint: AQUA is already a great first step!
Ready for a science lesson? The lymphatic system, according to Lymphatic Canada, is a heavy-hitter in the human body. Responsible for the proper functioning of parts of the immune system, it helps protect us from infection and disease.
The system is actually made up of a vast network of nodes, organs (like the liver and spleen) and vessels all over the body! This system actually carries lymph fluid (which is full of lymphocytes) throughout the body.
Ever touch your fingertips to the base of your neck when you get sick — only to notice swollen glands (or nodes)? That’s your lymphatic system doing its work — trying to remove a toxic substance or infection from your body!
Did you know that there are actually around hundreds of nodes in your body? The vessels carry the lymph fluid to them.
There are two kinds of lymphocytes within the lymph fluid: B-cells and T-cells. B-cells make antibodies, which attack germs. T-cells are sort of more complex, telling your body to make new immune cells. Behind fighting illness, the lymphatic system does have another job: It can help you absorb fat and fat-soluble vitamins from the food you eat.
If your body is responding to a bacteria or foreign substance, your swollen nodes can tell you when something is wrong. A buildup of fluids in your lymph system, known as lymphedema (or lymphatic obstruction), can be caused by medical issues, surgery, or other issues. A backed-up lymphatic system can cause further health issues, like cellulitis, fever, and infection.
Because of the lymphatic system’s all-important job, you’ll want to help promote the flow of lymphatic fluid, to prevent obstruction. This is where you might hear of lymphatic drainage.
Common treatments include compression garments, which promote lymph fluid movement.
According to The Center for Advancement of Cancer Education, a diet rich in fiber (like leafy greens) and free from processed foods can help promote a healthy lymphatic system. Drinking lots of water is key, too. Studies have shown a correlation between stress and lymph damage, so it’s key to manage your stress. It may seem impossible, but implementing stress-busting techniques daily, like meditation, is important.
Of course, exercise is also necessary. Here’s why: Exercise causes your muscles to contract, putting necessary pressure on the lymphatic system. This can help push the lymph fluid, releasing obstruction.
When you exercise several times a week, you’re not only toning up and gaining strength but actively promoting your health in the long-term!
At AQUA, you treat your body to a lymphatic massage every time you get into the water.
The massage from the saltwater pressure against your skin move the fluid through the body, helping you stay healthy! A bonus: Jumping exercises actually stimulate lymph too, and when you pop into an AQUA PLYO or AQUA CIRCUIT class, you’ll do a lot of that.
In fact, according to LymphNotes.org, “The movement of the water against the body assists the flow of the lymph and blood as gentle movements in the water stimulate muscle and skin movement without stressing other body parts.”
See you in the water!