The Lymphatic System

What is the Lymphatic System?

Your lymphatic system is what keeps you healthy and best thought of as our 'rubbish removal and transport system' of your body and works hand in hand with your cardiovascular system.

Imagine a bath tub! - every cell in your body is living in a nice warm watery bath. The lymphatic system is responsible for keeping the bath water clean along with your immune system to protect you from invading microorganisms. The lymphatic pulsations is the vacuum cleaner cleaning the underside of your skin ...what a system! 

The lymphatic system has a network of vessels throughout the body that carry lymphatic fluid directing it into lymph nodes where it is cleansed and purified and put back into blood circulation.

You have a superficial and deep system of lymph vessels. The superficial system of initial lymphatic vessels are just underneath the epidermal layer of our skin and make up 80% of total lymphatic vessels in our bodies.

Therefore it's very sensitive to external pressure, far more than the venous system and is very low in pressure. 

Functions of the Lymphatic System

  • Removal of 100% of fluid from the tissues leaked by capillaries, back into the bloodstream
  • Assists in maintaining blood volume and fluid balance ensuring the health of the tissue. Beneficial in prevention & management of oedema (swelling).
  • The return of purified & filtered lymph fluid to the blood circulation after it has been cleansed by the lymph nodes. i.e removal of organic and inorganic materials - dead cells, toxins, bacteria, large proteins and hormones.
  • Defends our bodies against invading organisms - bacteria and viruses - circulation of immunocompetent cells around the body and production of these cells in the lymph nodes. The lymphatic system provides the structural basis of the immune system.
  • Removal of absorbed fats and fat-soluble vitamins from the intestines back to the blood circulation.
image lymphatic system

 

"If the Lymphatic system and the Lymphoid tissues & organs failed to do their background work, our cardiovascular system would stop working and our immune system would be hopelessly impaired" - Marieb, Elaine N. & Hoehn, K, 2010

What slows down or impairs your Lymphatic System

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These factors compromise the health of the soft tissue environment and can lead to physical ailments and chronic health conditions:

  • Surgery - especially when there is removal of lymph nodes/vessels for treatment of cancer - breast, prostate, melanoma, gynaecological, head and neck.
  • Radiotherapy treatment - kills cancer cells but can cause scarring of the tissues preventing lymph to flow.
  • Venous insufficiency - valves in your veins not functioning efficiently.
  • Injuries (sports or accidental) - can cause trauma to lymph vessels
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • High consumption of food additives or chemical overload
  • Stress
  • Ageing process
Lymphatic system

PILLER, N The Vital Essence

Lymphoedema

PILLER, N The Vital Essence

Basically we could not survive without the work of this incredible body system.

So if you are feeling achy, sluggish, bloated, have chronic inflammation, pain or become susceptible to colds and flus, it's most likely your lymphatic system is not doing it's job!