Unlike the circulatory system, there is no pump that moves lymph through the lymphatic system, the way the heart pumps blood through the circulatory. So the only way to move lymph is through breathing, musculoskeletal movements, or lymphatic drainage massage.
While the lymphatic system does not have a pump, it does have a layer of smooth muscle fiber that spirals around one way valves, called lymphangions. When filled with fluid, or gently stretched through correct Manual Lymphatic Drainage techniques, these spiral muscles contract, squeezing the lymph into the next chamber. This creates a chain reaction which starts to push and pull fluid through the body.
The effectiveness of Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) lies in it’s ability to activate the stretch response, increasing the pulsation of lymphangions, which increases lymph flow through the vessels.
Lymphatic Drainage works by keeping the environment around the cells healthy, and by stimulating the immune system. By performing lymphatic drainage correctly we can stimulate the opening of the lymphatic vessels and increase the volume of lymph flow by as much as 20×’s. Some of the benefits of lymphatic drainage massage are:
• Faster healing from injury
• Quicker recovery time from surgery
• Softening of scars
• Eased inflammation
• Reduced sinus congestion
• Reduced edema
• and any condition that will benefit from a boost to the immune system.
70% of the lymphatic system lies superficially, just under the surface of the skin. So if too much pressure is applied, you can collapse the wall of the vessel and diminish the flow of lymph. This is what makes cupping / vacuum therapy an outstanding method for draining lymph manually. Cupping has the ability to rapidly move fluid through vessels. When applied correctly, the suction of cupping lifts and opens the valves of the lymphatic system, instead of closing them as the compression of traditional manual lymphatic drainage can do.
Learn about Vacuum Therapy Lymphatic Drainage at The Massage Room.