The What's & Why's of Lymphatic Drainage

Author Team Essentialist

The lymphatic system its critical part of the immune system composed of an intricate network of vessels and nodes branching throughout the body. It’s like a second circulatory system, separate but running in tandem with the blood vessels. Acting as both drainage and defence systems, it functions like a natural detox mechanism helping to keep us healthy.

For sake of simplification we can think of it like a collector, taking excess lymph and other fluids then returning them to the bloodstream to prevent swelling. It has a number of other critical functions as well, it cleans by removing toxins and impurities, disposing of bodily waste through sweat, urine, bowel movements and breath.  It’s a regulator, absorbing fats and other vitamins, distributing them throughout the body where they’re needed. It’s also a defender, as lymph passes through the nodes white blood cells go to work attacking any bacteria, fungi, or viruses present. It not only carries infection fighting white blood cells but builds immunity by making lymphocytes which produce antibodies that trigger disease fighting immune responses. To say the lymphatic system is critical is an understatement!

You’ll hear discussion about lymphatic drainage because this intricate system does not have a self-pumping mechanism. It relies on the forces of gravity, pressure, and mechanical movement to move the fluid. Sedentary living is a huge cause of stagnant lymph leading to poor circulation, fluid retention, and a general heavy limbed feeling. 

The most important thing you can do to help your lymphatic system is MOVE!  Daily exercise is critical. Other things to try are dry-brushing, guasha, and lymphatic drainage massages. Plenty of water, an alkaline rich diet, avoiding toxic substances, and stress management will also contribute to a healthier lymphatic system.