by Shauna Coxe, BAA PSYC, RA, EOT
Your lymphatic system runs through your entire body. It provides a super highway for lymphocytes, the disease fighting part of our immune system, it moves debris from blood tissues, and ultimately maintains fluid balance in the body.
Unlike our blood circulatory system, it does not have a heart to pump it. Instead, it relies on the movement of muscles in our body to push it. Certain areas of our bodies are rich in lymphatic tissues, including the digestive tract or abdominal cavity, urinary, reproductive and pelvic girdle, lungs and chest. Stagnation in these areas is common and often undertreated. Scar tissue, myofascial restriction, tension, stress, hormonal imbalances and shallow breathing are among the chief blocks to keeping this system running smoothly.
Symptoms of congested lymph go beyond swollen glands in your neck when you are fighting a cold. Systemic lymphatic issues can cause a range of symptoms including
- puffiness under eyes
- low immune system
- fatigue/low mood
- swollen underarms and chest
- abdominal swelling/bloating
- swollen ankles
Women are all too familiar with lymphatic congestion when they experience hormonal changes in their monthly cycle, during child bearing years and throughout menopause. These changes are uncomfortable and can be very disturbing.
In 2017, Inoue and Maruoka studied the effects of simple lymphatic drainage on menopausal women who were experiencing fatigue and edema. They looked at pre and post levels of two hormones produced by our adrenal glands, a key player in flight or flight hormones. Cortisol, a stress hormone and DHEA, one that counters the effects of stress. They found that after a 30 minute lymphatic massage, flight or fight stress hormones decreased and study participants felt lighter in their body and less fatigued.
Wondering if lymphatic drainage massage is for you?
Lymphatic drainage massage can reduce stress, work on removing stagnation in the body tissues, improve immune function, reduce swelling and separation of the muscle tissue, and increase mind body connections by reducing tension holding patterns. When combined with customized therapeutic Aromatherapy essential oil selections and guided home-care, results are seen more quickly.
Inoue, K., & Maruoka, H. (2017). Effects of simplified lymph drainage on the body: in females with menopausal disorder. Journal of physical therapy science, 29(1), 115-118.
Shauna Coxe sees patients at Rocky Point Wellness Clinic on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Click Here to learn more about Shauna.