A Broad Look at the Lymphatic System


The Lymphatic System________________________

An Overview of the channels of our immune system

The lymphatic system is a collection of vessels and nodes that run parellal to the cardiovascular system.  The fluid within the lymph vessels is called "lymph" and it is made from the blood plasma.  Lymph carries nutrients, oxygen, and hormones to the interstitual spaces then removes toxins and cellular wastes products.  The nodes help to return the fluid back to the vessels which then carry the fluid to the heart where it enters the cardiovascular system and is carried to our eliminating organs.  With a properly functioning lymphatic system our body is able to recieve and eliminate the necessary components for our everyday life as well as protect us against invading pathogens.


Within the lymphatic system there is lymph fluid, one-way flow vessels, and organs and glands that contain lymph tissue.  Major node locations are found in all major joints.  In other words, whereever you can fold and bend your body there is a collection of nodes.  The most commonly known of these are the Tonsils, which act as our first line of defense for airborne pathogens.  

The two most important organs of the lymphatic system are the Thymus and the Spleen. 

The Thymus is found in the upper chest behind the sternum.  This is where T Lymphocytes (T Cells) stay until they mature.  Once mature the cells move through the blood to other lymphatic organs such as the spleen.    


The Spleen is found just behind the stomach.  This is where many lymphocytes wait to detect pathogens and where damaged cells and debris are filted from the blood.




As shown in the picture above the lymph moves into the interstitual spaces of the tissues after being compressed through the capillaries.  This is how the nutients are delived to the tissues while toxins are removed.   Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is the treatment massage therapists use to reduce swelling and promote lymphatic movement.  There are numerous reasons your lymph may become sluggish including Primary or Secondary Lymphodema.  Lymphodema is an accumulation of fluid causing swelling.  

Lymphodema is what you notice when your legs, for example, swell after being sedentary for longer than normal durations.  Massage therapists use MLD to move the lymph through the vessels and nodes.  The treatment is extremely light pressure as the vessels are close to the skin surface. It is a very calming experience when treated only as lymphatic massage.  The technique can be combined with other remedial therapies such deep tissue, post-surgery methods, and / or cupping techniques.  Often the MLD is used in conjuction with other therapies during a treatment to stimulate lymph flow before deeper manual therapies are used. If you feel heavy, tired, or swollen please make a Lymphatic Drainage appointment with one of our practitioners today.



Buddiga, P. (2013, September 19). Lymphatic System Anatomy. Retrieved from https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1899053-overview#showall

Images retrieved from Google images.


Disclaimer: All informaiton on this website is intended for educaitonal purposes only, and does not replace medical advice.  If you have any health concerns, please book a consultation for personalised care, or see your medical practitioner.


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