The lymphatic system. One of the most overlooked and misunderstood systems of our body and one that can make a HUGE impact on your health.

Now, I’m no expert. I don’t pretend to know everything when the leaders in this field still have so many unanswered questions. I am an occupational therapist who has had further training to specialise in the treatment of lymphoedema, so I’m going to share with you some of the basics of what I DO know.

So, what is the lymphatic system? 

You might have seen it on anatomy pictures as the weblike, system that ropes throughout your body from your head to your toes with little nodes spread throughout it. It’s a system of vessels, capillaries, filaments and nodes, most of which lie closely under your skin that transport fluid known as lymph. Sometimes when you’re sick you can feel swollen lumps in your neck or in your groin – these are your lymph nodes. The lymphatic system also consists of your spleen, thymus, adenoids and tonsils.

What does it do?

The lymphatic system is responsible for drainage of excess fluid, toxins, cell waste and aiding the immune system by producing cells that identify and fight infections.

It also absorbs fat and fat-soluble vitamins from the digestive system and delivers these nutrients to cells that can use them.

It’s a pretty amazing and robust system – your lymphatics can handle up to ten times the normal or required level of fluid in your body!

So what makes it so darn important?

If you’re someone who finds they get sick a lot, feel sluggish or prone to swelling – you may need to boost the function of your lymphatics. A healthy lymphatic system can quickly identity and kill pathogens in the body as well as trap and destroy cancer cells in the nodes. In a nutshell – it keeps you healthy!

While the lymphatic system is robust and can be enhanced with various treatments, some surgical treatments can leave it damaged, almost beyond repair. Once lymph nodes have been taken out for the treatment of some conditions – they don’t grow back! This is a slippery slope for the lymphatics so it’s important that your system is functioning tip top!

In an upcoming blog I’ll be sharing techniques to boost the function of your lymphatic system, so stick around for that bad boy and learn how to keep this amazing system functioning optimally to keep you healthy.

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