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Why is it important?

The lymphatic system removes waste fluid from spaces between cells, also known as interstitial spaces and facilitates the immune system by removing waste, debris, dead blood cells and carrying vital immune cells that destroy pathogens, toxins and cancer cells. As well as removing and destroying, the lymphatic system helps deliver fats and fat soluble nutrients from the digestive tract to individual cells.

A sluggish lymphatic system results in aches, pains, swelling, compromised immunity and possibly disease. So, all in all, it’s important!

 

To understand the lymphatic system, let’s compare it very briefly with the blood circulatory system. Blood is circulated by the pumping of the heart. The blood is pumped out from the heart via the arteries and returned to the heart via veins. So there is a complete system (like the M25).

 

The lymphatic system does not have a pump. It relies on the movement of muscles and it is this movement which facilitates the flow of lymph fluid. Hence, exercise is really important for well-functioning lymph flow.

Another difference from the blood circulatory system is the lymph works only in one direction and it is against gravity. Lymph vessels move lymph fluid; a clear, yellowish fluid which is the result of residual fluid leftover from the arterial delivery to the interstitial spaces; upwards, passing through numerous lymph nodes which filter and destroy products, until finally it is drained into the Subclavian Veins at either side of the neck.

Lymphoid tissues are scattered throughout the body and are found in many organs which play an important part in the immune system including lymph nodes, bone marrow, the thymus, spleen, appendix, tonsils, adenoids and the small and large intestine. You may have noticed that it is common practice in modern medicine to remove a few of these organs because they are ‘not important’. I would strongly disagree with this view. By removing an offending tonsil, all that is being done is removing the symptom; your body is stating ‘there is a problem here’. Getting rid of a symptom and curing the problem are two completely different things.

 

So now we know the prime roles of the lymphatic system are to defend against aggressive agents and eliminate accumulated waste. It is easy to realise that stagnation of the lymph will result in an apathetic immune system, a weakened ability to fight infection and disease and the accumulation of toxins leading to aches, pains and swelling.

 

Obviously, you want your lymphatic system to function well. Here is what you can do to help it AND improve it.

 

  • Body brushing – this is fast and easy. Get a natural bristled brush and use it every day before you shower (dry body). Brush from your limbs in the direction of your heart. On a vanity note, this will also leave your skin feeling soft and looking radiant.
  • Re-bounders – re-bounders are those mini trampolines that you can use at home. The rhythmic, up and down, gravitational force caused by jumping on the re-bounder, increases lymph flow.
  • Exercise – remember, the lymph relies on muscle contraction to get the lymph fluid moving up against gravity. So get moving.
  • Hydrotherapy – hot and cold shower – stand in a hot shower, then turn off the hot water and stand in a cold shower. Harsh – but in improves circulation.
  • Breathing – we have written a whole blog on this subject. Click here to read how to breathe correctly.
  • Massage – what a wonderful way to help your lymph. Here’s how it works.
  • Water – dehydration can slow and stagnate the flow of lymph; drinking sufficient amounts of water will prevent dehydration.
  • Good diet – it always comes down to a healthy diet.

Simple tips that can make you look and feel great this winter. Let me know how you get on.

Written by Anne French

So autumn is now here and well and truly under way. The wind is blowing, the rain is falling and the air is definitely colder.

staying health this winter

In Chinese medicine the autumn is the time of the Metal element. This signifies the beginning in the growth of yin. The cold, wet and dark increase as we move toward winter and the energy of nature begins to move back inside the earth. You can see this clearly in the trees, the leaves begin to turn brown and fall from the trees as the sap returns back down into the roots.

The lungs are the organ associated with the Metal element. Known as the “delicate” organ in Chinese medicine, they are actually open to the external environment via the mouth and nose, and are easily affected by the wind, cold and damp.

This time every year we all catch colds. Since swine flu a few years ago every autumn has seen a mutation in the strength and severity of the colds going around. Particularly in the persistence and the ability of the cold to linger. I’ve treated a lot of people over the last few years who have a cold and just still can’t seem to shake it off 3,4 or 5 weeks after first getting it. Proper treatment at the time or before getting it would have helped to reduce the severity of the cold and its duration.

This raises two important points:

  1. Acupuncture can effectively treat common colds, and has been doing so for thousands of years. Coming for treatment at the first sign of a snuffled nose, achy head or feeling out of sorts can do a lot to release the pathogen outwards and strengthen the body’s immune response. Treatment in the first few days can also give the body a big hand in getting on top of the problem and preventing it from penetrating deeper, draining the body of its reserves.
  2. Acupuncture can be used preventively to keep the immune system strong. Ensuring the body has enough energy to mount a strong immune response and that all systems are functioning as they should will ensure fewer colds are caught, or, if the cold is particularly severe, that it doesn’t penetrate too deeply and linger for too long.

So who says there’s no cure for the common cold?! There is a lot we can do to help ourselves. For those wishing to have some preventative treatment I will knock £15 from the price of an initial consultation during October, and if you are unlucky enough to catch a cold in October and November I will do these treatments for £25There’s simply no need to suffer in silence any more!

Give the clinic a call 01273 32133 to book your appointment.

Written by Jeremy Marshall

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