Lymphatic Drainage Therapy (LDT) is a hands-on introduction to your lymphatic system. The lymphatics are the anatomical structures of your immune system and an important component of your cardiovascular system. We rarely think about lymphatics, but we have all had the experience of having ‘tender nodes’ under the jaw or in our neck or armpits when we have been sick.
Lymphatics move fluid from our tissues and periphery back to the general circulation and our heart. Along the route, the fluid is checked for any ‘invaders’ such as a virus, bacteria or other pathogen. When we can feel our lymph nodes it is because the fluid has slowed down in that node. Fluid slows so that it can be processed and an immune response can be mounted or can slow due to physical restrictions in the surrounding tissues. What happens to most body fluids when they slow down (think of your blood)? It gets sticky, viscous and eventually hard. Lymphatic fluid does the same things. It needs velocity or shear stress behind it to keep it fluid. That is where LDT can be applied. The practitioner can manually assist the system to move toward the main lymph nodes and turn over more quickly. The generalized lymphatic ‘ache’ that one feels when temporarily sick can become a full-on pain syndrome over time when illnesses become chronic. In addition to infectious cause, scar tissue and surgical node disruption can cause lymphedema or/and a scarcity of evacuation routes for fluid trying the move from a given body region back toward the general circulation and the heart.
The lymphatics are an easy an elegant system to learn about and gain experiential awareness of. LDT is something that you or your caregivers can learn to do as part of self-care/home-care health maintenance routine.