Lymphatic System

The Lymphatic System: What It Does — And How To Keep Yours Healthy

Lymphatic System

Outside of a biology or anatomy class, we really don’t get much exposure to the lymphatic system. It is obviously critical for a healthy body but so often overlooked.

This article from mindbodygreen.com gives a nice overview of the lymphatic system and a range of ways to help keep it healthy, from proper nutrition to lymphatic massage and more.

As an integrative physician, I’ve long been intrigued by the power and strength of the lymphatic system. But it’s not something most people are familiar with, though that’s beginning to change. There’s a lot of information circulating about the lymphatic system these days, and, lately, some of my patients have been coming to me with questions and wanting clarification. So here are some facts and crucial information to know about the lymphatic system.The first and most obvious question is: What is the lymphatic system? Before that, I guess you might want to know what “lymph” is. Well, lymph is a fluid that has no color, and it contains white blood cells, which are our key immune cells. Lymph covers the tissues in our body, and it has its own drainage system, which is called the lymphatic system. There is an intricate system of lymph capillaries (basically small little drainage pipes) that collects all the fluid that occupies the spaces between different tissues in the body. Those little capillaries connect to larger pipes, called lymph vessels, which lead to lymph nodes.Many of you probably know what a lymph node is; when you have a sore throat or a cold, you might notice that you feel some small circular bumps under the surface of your skin that go away after the cold resolves. Those are lymph nodes, and that is a sign that your immune system is fighting something on your behalf. In the lymph nodes, the lymph fluid is cleaned by a special kind of white blood cell called a lymphocyte. After that happens, what is left drains into one of our major veins (the subclavian veins for those of you who are interested). Then the fluid mixes in with the blood, and circulation proceeds, and the whole process repeats itself.
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