Lymph has a superficial and a deep system. The superficial system removes fluid of the skin and the deep system removes fluid from muscles, joints and organs. Deep vessels lie alongside the veins and arteries and the superficial vessels lie just under the skin. The superficial vessels absorb 80% of lymph and the deep vessels absorb 20% of lymph.
- Our blood is carried to areas of the body through the arteries. This blood has oxygen and nutrients necessary for us to survive. When the blood reaches its end point, it is squeezed out of the arteries (arterioles), by pressure, much like mashing a pineapple through a sieve, creating fluid on the other end. The fluid is then dispersed among our tissues (interstitium) so that it can nourish our cells.
- Inside our cells there are many different processes that are taking place. The walls of our cells will absorb or bring in the necessary nutrients it needs to perform these processes. The unwanted or broken down substances will be released from the cell into the tissues surrounding it. In this way the oxygen of the blood is used up by the cell.
- On a continual basis our body will have fluid among our tissues. This is normal. This fluid contains un-oxygenated blood, water and other substances.
- The venous system returns un-oxygenated blood back to the heart.
- The lymphatic system, (which is our second drainage system) absorbs substances that are too big for the veins to absorb such as proteins, long chain fatty acids, dead cells, viruses, bacteria, coal dust and glass dust. This is called Lymph Obligatory Load.
- Lymph obligatory load is absorbed by tiny lymphatic vessels, like small finger like projections, and is moved along to larger and larger vessels. Along the pathway of these vessels are lymph nodes.
- Lymph nodes are filtering stations for the lymph obligatory load. There are about 600-700 in the human body. The number of lymph nodes and vessels varies from person to person. There are regions of the body that have their own group of lymph nodes. Some lymphatic vessels pass by the lymph nodes. If there is cancer that has metastasised in a lymph node it is possible that the entire region has not been affected. The lymph is cleaned. Water is removed from the lymph (50%) and re-absorbed by the blood capillaries. Mature natural defense cells are located in the lymph nodes. When antigens such as bacteria, viruses, chemicals or pollen come in contact with these natural defense cells, they divide and destroy the antigen. The lymph nodes store substances that cannot be broken down by the body such as coal dust, glass dust and soot.
Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) is the manual movement of lymph obligatory load that cannot be removed because of lack of, damage to, or removal of the lymph vessels and/or nodes. The treatment of Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) is the stretching of the lymphatic vessels to increase tension in the center of the vessel, which in turn, propels the lymph obligatory load onward.