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  • Writer's pictureAbby Maleport

Why I add facial/neck drainage to every lymphatic massage. This may be the best prevention of COVID

Every human body has anywhere from 500-700 lymph nodes dispersed throughout, and a large portion of them are in the head and neck. As a certified lymphedema therapist (CLT) it is very important to know and understand the function and structure of the lymphatic system. The 3 main functions of the lymphatic system are 1. fluid regulation 2. waste transport and elimination 3. your immune system responsible for immune surveillance and attack.

The lymphatic system has a web-like superficial structure that runs every where your skin goes and contain initial pre-collectors that open and close to uptake interstitial fluid (the fluid/waste in between all our cells). The superficial system eventually makes its way deeper into the body where it meets up with the deeper lymphatics that contain larger vessels and trunks. All of these vessels eventually lead to the thoracic duct and right lymphatic duct to the subclavian vein to hook up with your circulatory system. So why is this important to know. Well the subclavian vein is right behind your collerbone in the hollow space you can often see on slender people. Stimulating this portion of the lymphatic system during a lymphatic drainage massage is the first and last step of every one of my sessions, and rightfully so. We want the lymph fluid to enter the circulatory system for elimination.

Lymph nodes are the garbage collectors of the body. It is in the lymph nodes that the body decides which material is good or bad. The cells then are either sent back to the body or destroyed. Our lymph nodes do not have any pumping mechanisms of their own. The lymph nodes rely on muscular contraction and pressure changes in order to pump. This is why movement and deep diaphragmatic breathing are so important to our lymphatic health. As you can see pictured below, we have a ton of lymph nodes in our head and neck. Draining and simulating these lymph nodes can help speed up the lymphatic system, detox our bodies and help with and sinus congestion. Not to mention due to the high level of toxins and bacteria we take in through out mouth and nose, having a lymphatic system working at top notch in our face and neck can help get rid of any potential bacteria and viral threats to our health. Did someone say COVID?

I also want to share some exciting research that is happening right now with NASA. Researchers from 16 different countries are teaming up to look into the potential benefits of lymphology and immunology in brain health. What does this mean? They are looking at ways in which treatments could help with neurological diseases like Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's, stroke and dementia. WHAT?!?! Amazing!! Early research of the brain immunology dates back to the 1700s where they discovered a lymphatic type system in the brain. However, this was largely discredited for years. New research and tools in neuroscience have allowed researchers to map and label the connections between brain cells and immune cells and show that these connections help direct what is happening in the brain. In the neurological diseases mentioned above, what tends to happen is neural pathways can get clogged and toxins build up leading to physical and cognitive deficits. The cerebrospinal fluid in the layers around the brain (meninges) mimics our lymphatic system and serves as a immune highway for removal of toxins and plaques in the brain. What if we could use the connection between the lymphatic system and the brain to clean up these toxins and plaques and restore or improve brain health? I can't wait to see where these studies lead us and if I can have a hand in helping people recover from neurological disorders. Wouldn't that be music to so many of our ears!

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