The lymphatic system is the drainage system of the body. It supports the vascular system and helps the body to remove toxins and fluid from the body. It also transports lymph fluid that is filled with infection-fighting white cells around the body.

It is made up from a series of interconnected small vessels joined by lymph nodes. Clusters of lymph nodes are found in various areas of the body including the neck, the armpits and groin superficially and deeper in the abdomen. The lymph nodes filter the lymph and can normally only be felt when they are swollen due to infection or underlying disease.

The lymphatic system also involves the tonsils, adenoids, thymus and spleen, that all work together to help keep the body fighting infection.

Why do we specifically mention them in this toolkit? Often when you are struggling with chronic pain or illness the lymphatic system can become a little sluggish which can contribute to fatigue and produce generalised puffiness and swelling. The swelling is often apparent in the hands or feet but can be anywhere under the skin. Reducing any toxicity within the body will help to minimise any load or overwhelm that is being experienced and improve the health of the tissues. A fully functioning lymphatic system also can improve our immune function.

Dr Raymond Perrin (Osteopath) developed the Perrin Technique for assisting patients with recovery from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. His theory implicates that poor lymphatic drainage may be contributing to the overwhelm of the autonomic nervous system.

Our osteopaths, although not Perrin Practitioners, are trained in techniques to help improve the drainage of the lymphatic system and in the clinic, we certainly see patients whose lymphatic systems are not functioning to their full capacity. We can work on the fluids within the body using manual lymphatic techniques, cranial techniques and also techniques to ensure that the relevant mechanical structures (such as the ribs) are not restricting lymphatic movement.

If you feel that this is an area that your body could do with some help at home. Louise has produced a video on a self lymphatic drainage and a simple lymph stimulating routine.

If you are not sure whether this is suitable for you then please contact us first.

Self Lymphatic Drainage Exercises

Here you will find a description of the lymphatic system, how it works and two simple routines to help stimulate and increase lymphatic drainage.

Understanding the Lymphatic System

This video explain how the lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials.

Other 'Breathing & The Thorax' Toolkits

You may be interested in our other ‘Breathing & The Thorax’ chapters within the Mindbody Toolkit: