What You Didn’t Know About Your Lymphatic System

We hear it time and again in lymphatic drainage treatments at VIVA Wellness — “I had no idea my lymphatic system did all of that,” usually followed by some version of, “how are we not taught about this?” While we can’t comment on the latter of those statements, what we can do is work to continue to educate one another on the profound influence of the lymphatic system and how to support it and all its functions.

This system does a lot. Many other systems rely on it in order to be able to do their job effectively. So when the lymphatic system is overloaded, there are a lot of downstream consequences to a lack of this lymph flow. For example, the lymphatic system aids in filtering out a few liters of blood that the circulatory system is unable to process. They work together to filter out what needs to leave the body in order to help us feel our best!

Keeping Your Lymphatic System Flowing

The not-so-good news: it’s pretty easy for the lymphatic system to become a bit stagnant. The good news: there’s also a lot that can be done to support it, and get it flowing again.

Unlike the heart as the pump of the circulatory system, the lymphatic system has no “pump”, which means that it requires physical movement and activity to work properly. Without the movement, the lymphatic system may start to slow and become overwhelmed as it works through the backlog that is otherwise ushered through the intricate system. The body may need to take action to resolve this slow flow or any blockages by storing waste and toxins that the system isn’t moving out. When too many toxins end up stored in the body, unable to be ushered out by the system, we can expect numerous issues.

There are many ways to empower the lymphatic system to keep functioning at full steam to ensure that the nodes are clear and the system is flowing, but we lean on the highly effective techniques of manual and vacuum RF (machine-assisted radiofrequency) lymphatic drainage to give the lymphatic system some major love. What do we mean by major? In some treatments, some of the major pathways will see up to 10x the amount of fluid move.

Let’s get to know the treatment(s) in a bit more detail so you understand which is the best for you!

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) Treatment VS Radiofrequncy (RF) or Vaccum RF Lymphatic Drainage Treatment

Manual Lymphatic Drainage
Can be done <90 day post-op / surgery 90+ days post-op / surgery Hyperthyroid - on medication
Fibromyalgia Quickly moves live and facilitates detox Diverticulitis
Pitting edema manual will be more effective Varicose veins respond better to the suction Cardiac edema
Face can only be done MLD Great for people that want more of a snatch appearance Acute infection

Fun Facts

  • The lymphatic system typically dumps 2-4 liters of lymph fluid in the subclavian vein every 24 hrs. This amount can be increased by 10x the normal levels during the MLD session. This will continue for the next 24-36 hrs until it tapers back to normal. So much fluid is moving—stay hydrated, active, and eating healthfully. Other tips for preparing for your treatment (that may help you understand how to take care of yourself after, noted in our blog Preparing for Your Lymphatic Drainage Treatment).
  • Our goal for lymphatic drainage is to clear our lymph “pipes” so they are able to work properly. When working properly your lymph is able to excrete better which will cause a decrease in water retention (and other waste) and will allow you to be less bloated.
  • The lymphatic system passes through lymphatic vessels to the kidneys where it will dump all the protein and waste that has been excreted from your lymph fluid to your bladder—this leaves the body as urine.
  • Lymphatic drainage treatments also trigger your parasympathetic nervous system which will allow your body to relax and promote healing and balance. While a reduction in stress and tension is great simply for the sensations, the key here is that the body cannot heal if it is in stress mode.
  • Without your lymphatic system working, you would likely die within 24 hours.
  • You have over 600 lymph nodes in your body. What else lives in lymph nodes? Lymphocytes. “Lymphocytes help your body’s immune system fight cancer and foreign viruses and bacteria (antigens)” You may have heard of T-cells and B-cells — those are types of lymphocytes.” Clevelandclinic.org
  • The Circulatory System is a 2-way system that filters your arterial and venous blood flow. It can only filter about 17 liters a day, your body has about 20L a day so that’s when your lymphatic system picks up the slack, filtering the extra  2-4L of protein, water, long fatty chain and other toxins out of your body. The lymphatic system is a 1-way system.

Ok, so what exactly is the lymphatic system “flushing”?

Metabolic wastes are substances left over from metabolic processes which cannot be used and must be excreted. Excreting them is a very important part of maintaining homeostasis, which is a constant normal internal environment necessary for sustaining life. If the waste products are not excreted, they can build up in the body, which disrupts homeostasis. When your lymphatic system is stagnant it will not allow flow causing a build-up of toxins, proteins, water, and long fatty chains. This will cause a build-up of toxins and metabolic waste, immunity will be compromised, leading to increased swelling, brain fog, and anxiety, just to name a few.

How often should you get a lymphatic drainage treatment?

  • FREQUENCY: This depends on your goals and current situation, but we will customize a plan for you based on this information. Not sure if you need it? Try one and see how you feel!
  • MAINTENANCE: 1x/month or 4x/year. Experiment with timing and how you feel between treatments.
  • DETOX INTENSIVE: Two in a row, one week apart. Then follow with one per month for 3-4 months. Evaluate. See how you’re feeling and progressing towards your goals!
  • POST-SURGERY: Evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Lymphatic Drainage Treatments and Weight Loss

  • By being able to properly excrete toxins and having your lymph pipes open and working again it allows your body to excrete all the toxic buildup! This allows you to lose weight with less resistance, as your liver is able to excrete all that excess protein much easier.
  • Especially helpful when fasting, as the deep healing state creates additional metabolic waste and can create a heavy strain on your liver to excrete the excess protein waste out of your body.

For Post-Surgery Lymphatic Drainage Treatment

  • Eliminates swelling in the area and will improve lymph vessel activity near to the trauma area, creates distribution of the edema components over a larger area which increases the number of lymph capillaries to pick up these lymphatic loads (made up of water, protein, cell fragments and other materials) which help decrease swelling dramatically.
  • Early treatment in the area decreases scar tissue significantly and improves the formation of lymphatic anastomosis in scars. Scarring will be less significant with MLD soon post-surgery!
  • Pain relieving effects in multiple ways: overlapping effects of the spinal level and suppression of the sympathetic activity through accelerated drainage of nociceptive substances.

We have exciting options for these candidates coming soon! Please inquire if you are interested in post or pre-surgery lymphatic drainage treatments to help prepare your body and then support your healing process.

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