The Lymphatic System: Fountain of Youth
Sep 13, 2019 07:03PM
By Susan Couture
Visualize a trickling stream in the countryside. The fallen leaves and sticks have slowed down the current. Look closely and we see remnants of trash, aluminum cans, plastic bags and chemicals washed from the agricultural farmlands. Now if we were to rake the stream, starting downstream and working our way upstream, the debris is cleaned out and the current becomes swift and flowing from bank to bank.
Our lymphatic system is the stream. This is our “Fountain of Youth” flowing within us.
Images of the aging lymphatic vessels show degeneration, disconnection and deterioration, impeding the removal of natural and man-made chemicals. Edema builds up in the extremities and the legs become heavy with water. Immunity from inoculations have worn off; the memory cells have been completely broken down over the years.
Two really big jobs the lymphatic system is tasked with are purifying plasma proteins and hosting immunological responses. There is no heart to pump the lymphatics. It is dependent upon muscle pump, joint pump, diaphragmatic breathing and arterial pulse. So how do we keep the lymphatic system from aging? It is the old adage, “Use it or lose it.”
Exercising, deep breathing, clean eating, intermittent fasting, limiting exposure to chemicals and getting manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) are actions that help keep a person healthy and contribute to a long life free of ailments. Regularly exercising the heart helps the heart muscle become stronger; hence, regular MLD treatments develop muscle memory for the lymph-angion muscles and the entire lymphatic system becomes stronger.
The safety-valve mechanism of injured tissue, broken bones and arthritis activates a frenzy of lymph-angion muscle contractions to carry away edema. Just like any muscle, fatigue sets in and not another contraction is possible. The fluids build up and can cause tissue damage to extremely swollen, stagnant areas. Think of diabetic ulcerations in the lower leg or chronic venous insufficiency. The tissue pressure loses its strength, arterial blood pressure has less resistance and “blow-out” can occur, causing purple discoloration and thickening of the skin.
MLD re-activates and re-energizes the sleeping lymphatic vessels by assisting the removal of fluids, breaking down fibrous tissue and increasing the contractility of the lymph vessels. In a healthy aging person, a strong lymphatic system hosts better communication on the cellular level and assists with homeostasis responses—from transporting lipids, hormones, histamine and fluids, to mitigating inflammation and fighting cancer cells.
Susan Couture, BSHA, CRC, LMT, LE, Cert. MLD/CDP, practices at OM Oracle Massage Lymphatic Therapy, in Tucson. For 23 years, she has helped patients pre- and post-surgery recover quickly, reduce swelling, eliminate bruising, create lymph connections sooner and heal faster. Connect at 520-668-8731 or OracleMassage.com. See ad, page 19.