I am introducing a new element to Shoshanaspa.com by asking my spa concierge at the Spa at Four Seasons Hong Kong to write about a topic they want to understand. The first of this series is by Kristy and her post is about the Lymph System.
I did not know that the lymphatic system plays such an important part of our body’s health. Damage to the lymphatic system not only affects the drainage of lymph, it also makes our face and body look puffy and chubby. After understanding the enormous function and effects of this system, I swear I’ll do everything to keep it healthy! – kristy
The lymphatic system collects and returns excess interstitial fluid and proteins to the blood. Besides, it absorbs and transport fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins from the digestive system. Another important function of the lymphatic system is its defense against disease and invading microorganisms.
Understanding the lymphatic system
The lymphatic system is a part of the circulatory system, comprising a network of conduits called lymphatic vessels that carry a clear fluid called lymph (from Latin lympha “water goddess”) uni-directionally towards the heart. The circulatory system processes an average of 20 liters of blood per day. Roughly 17 liters per day of that gets reabsorbed directly into the blood vessels. The primary function of the lymph system is to provide an accessory route for these excess 3 liters per day to get returned to the blood. So lymph is essentially recycled blood plasma.
Secondly the lymphatic organs play an important part in the immune system, having a considerable overlap with the lymphoid system.
Lymphatics are found in every part of the body except the central nervous system. The major parts of the system are the bone marrow, spleen, thymus gland, lymph nodes, and the tonsils. Other organs, including the heart, lungs, intestines, liver, and skin also contain lymphatic tissue. Tubular vessels transport back lymph to the blood ultimately replacing the volume lost from the blood during the formation of the interstitial fluid. These channels are the lymphatic channels or simply called lymphatics.
Means clear water and it is basically the fluid and protein that has been squeezed out of the blood (i.e. blood plasma). The lymph is drained from the tissue in microscopic blind-ended vessels called lymph capillaries.
Diseases of the lymphatic system
Lymphedema is the swelling caused by the accumulation of lymph fluid, which may occur if the lymphatic system is damaged or has malformations. It usually affects the limbs, though face, neck and abdomen may also be affected.
Some common causes of swollen lymph nodes include infections, infectious mononucleosis, and cancer, e.g. Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and metastasis of cancerous cells via the lymphatic system. Enlarged lymph nodes may also caused by lack of sleep, imbalance and irregular meals, long-hour standing or seating, improper gestures, etc.
Source: Wikipedia.org, lymphomation.org, web-books.com
Ways to maintain a healthy lymphatic system
- Gentle exercise
Suggested massage: Lymphatic Massage – gently stimulates fluid to remove toxins from your body. It is recommended for people who are seated for most of the day, or those who want to reduce puffiness or swelling. It has positive effects on problem skin, cellulite, dysfunctional respiratory systems and people with low energy.
- Stay happy and laugh from your belly
- Drinking water everyday
- Clean up your diet
- Practice deep breathing
- Don’t be afraid to sweat
- Other recommended treatments
Seaweed Cleansing Cocoon – designed to cleanse the body of pollution and toxins, this treatment begins with a salt and juniper berry scrub, followed by a focus seaweed wrap and finishes with a detox oil massage. The wrap insulates the body to provide the best environment for the skin to absorb a combination of highly active, deeply penetrating ingredients which will detox and energize the body.
Contouring Detox Experience – a full head to toe experience, this treatment will leave you feeling slimmed, restored, and drained of water retention. It begins with an energizing salt scrub which is directly followed by an application of spirulina and green clay. The body is then wrapped in tight bandages to force the water retention to the surface. In order to release the unwanted toxins a lymphatic drainage massage ends this therapy.