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Do you feel sluggish, bloated, and/or achy?  

Do you have a tendency to retain water?

If your answer is yes, perhaps your lymphatic system needs a tune up.  There are several ways in which a BodyTalk session can improve your lymphatic function.


Do you feel sluggish, bloated, and/or achy?  

Do you have a tendency to retain water?

If your answer is yes, perhaps your lymphatic system needs a tune up.  There are several ways in which a BodyTalk session can improve your lymphatic function.


Basics about the Lymphatic System

Blood circulates through the body via the arteries and veins.  The capillaries are located at the transition from artery to vein.  The capillaries allow blood components to flow to and from the tissues of the body so all cells of the body can receive oxygen and nourishment and the

by-products of cell metabolism can return to the blood stream to be filtered by the liver, spleen, kidneys, and lungs.


The fluid that exits the blood stream through the capillaries enters into the tissues of the body. This is called interstitial fluid.  On a daily basis, about three liters of interstitial fluid is not reabsorbed by the capillaries.  Ideally, this excess fluid enters the lymphatic system where it is eventually able to get back into blood circulation by flowing into large veins near the heart.


The lymph system consists of vessels and a large series of nodes which are located primarily in the groin, abdomen, axilla (arm pits), neck, and head.  The lymph vessels pick up interstitial fluid throughout the body.  The lymph nodes filter this fluid, removing foreign substances such as bacteria.   Many types of immune cells are located within the lymph nodes which are activated to fight infection when needed.  The spleen, considered a part of the lymph system, plays a role in our immune function and also filters/removes worn out or damaged blood cells from the blood to maintain vitality of the blood.


There are one way valves located in both the lymph vessels and lymph nodes.  Therefore, lymph fluid flows only in one direction, toward the heart.  Unlike blood circulation, which relies on the active pumping of the heart to insure blood flow, lymph circulation is passive.  Lymph flow is stimulated when we move. Our muscles contract and relax, essentially squeezing the interstitial fluid out of the muscles and fascia so it can return back into the blood stream via the lymph system.  Lymph flow is also stimulated through breathing.  The action of breathing creates a negative pressure in the chest cavity.  This negative pressure encourages interstitial fluids to flow into the chest area and toward the heart.  Breathing also creates a synchronized rocking motion of the pelvis and cranium (head).  This rocking motion causes wave-like momentum which further assists interstitial fluid to flow into the lymph system and back to the heart for recirculation.


Lymph vessels flowing from the head and neck pass through a channel that goes underneath the clavicle (collar bone).  Lymph vessels flowing up from the legs into the torso pass through a channel under the pelvic bones in the area of the groin/lower abdomen.  Bone structure malalignment and/or patterns of muscle tension can constrict these channels, obstructing lymphatic flow.  


If the lymph system is not flowing effectively, the excess interstitial fluid (remember 3 liters per day!) stays in the tissues and spaces of the body and cannot get back into the blood circulation.  The excess fluid in the body causes the tissue to act like a sponge that is completely saturated and there isn’t room for more.  Flow to and from the saturated area slows down significantly and can stagnate.  Cells aren’t getting resupplied with fresh blood and nourishment.  Waste products from cell metabolism or foreign substances, such as bacteria, build up in the tissues.  


Symptoms of ineffective lymphatic flow

Slow or ineffective lymph flow can contribute to generalized aches and pains, a feeling of sluggishness, and fatigue.  Swelling and fluid retention occurs.  Some common areas of fluid retention include the ankles, lower extremities, hands/fingers, sinuses, and the abdomen.  Surgeries can create scar tissue that might obstruct lymph flow.  Sometime the lymph nodes themselves are surgically removed during cancer treatment.  It is not uncommon to have lymphatic swelling in the body below the area where the lymph nodes were removed.  When the lymphatic system becomes sluggish or “clogged up” it compromises the vitality of the body as well as our ability to fight infection or heal injuries and wounds.


BodyTalk Techniques that benefit the lymphatic system

There are many ways in which the lymphatic system can be addressed in a BodyTalk session.  To mention a few, the BodyTalk protocol includes techniques that release restrictions within our breathing cycle, muscle tension, scar tissue, or emotional and/or energetic blocks that affect circulation of fluids and qi within the body.  Other techniques promote structural alignment, enhance circulation of blood, lymph and energy meridians, and optimize the function of organs and endocrines that support the lymphatic or immune system.  Many certified practitioners have additional training in principles of Chinese Medicine, structural and fascial techniques, PaRama repair formulas, and lymphatic drainage techniques - all of which can be applied energetically.  


Factors influencing or inhibiting the lymph system are different for each one of us.  A BodyTalk session is always unique to the individual.  The opportunities within a BodyTalk session to improve the function and effectiveness of the lymphatic system, and improve our overall health, are endless.

Image result for free pictures of the lymphatic system

Ellen Carey, RN

Advanced BodyTalk Practitioner

PaRama Practitioner


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