The lymphatic system, one of the most vital systems in our body, is essential for good health. The lymph system is an extensive drainage network that helps keep bodily fluid levels in balance and defends our body against infections.
A major part of the immune system, it is very complex and it is made up of lymphoid organs that include lymph nodes, lymph ducts, lymph capillaries and lymph vessels that transport lymph fluid (a clear, watery fluid that contains protein molecules, salts, glucose and cells) from tissues to the cardiovascular system. The spleen, tonsils, lymphocytes (B and T cells) and the thymus gland are all part of the lymphatic system.
There are approximately 600-700 lymph nodes in the human body that filter the lymph fluid before it returns to the cardiovascular system. About 1/3 of them are located in the head and neck; other locations include the armpit and groin areas. Lymph nodes range in size from a pinhead to a broad bean and are arranged in clusters or chains.
Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) is a gentle, non-invasive manual technique that uses specific “stretch and release” movements on the lymph nodes and lymph capillaries. It is a highly specialized for of massage, which uses rhythmical, very precise hand movements, pressures and sequences. The strokes gently stretch the skin and connective tissue as it creates a gentle pumping action that increases lymphatic flow.