Curious about the lymphatic system?
Today, we’re embarking on a mission to label the lymphatic system, what it does, how it works, and what you should know about.
As a lymphatic massage therapist, I’m passionate about dissecting the anatomy of the lymph system and better understanding how it affects our overall health. I want to share my knowledge with you!
Let’s dive deep into this hidden world inside of our bodies so we can learn how to better care for it.
Let’s Label The Lymphatic System, What Does It Do?
The lymphatic system is a complex network of vessels, tissues, and organs. These parts of the body work together to transport lymph throughout the body. Lymph is colorless and contains white blood cells, proteins, and waste products.
The primary functions of the lymphatic system are to support the immune system, maintain proper fluid balance, and absorb fats from the digestive system.
Let’s look a bit closer at each of these aspects.
We can automatically tell when the lymphatic system is out of balance when edema is present. That’s because the lymphatic system is essential for fluid balance. Lymph circulates through the lymphatic vessels. Without help from the overall system, it backs up and creates swelling.
The lymphatic system is a vital component in the body’s immune defense. Lymph nodes, the small, bean-shaped structures located along the lymphatic vessels, contain immune cells that recognize and fight off infections, pathogens, and foreign substances.
The lymphatic system also moves dietary fats and fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E, and K from your digestive system into your bloodstream.
These nutrients are then absorbed into the lymphatic vessels in the small intestine before they go into your bloodstream.
Another vital component of the lymphatic system is waste removal. In addition to excess fluid, the lymphatic system removes cellular waste, toxins, and debris from your tissues.
It serves as a drainage system by collecting waste materials and carrying them away for eventual elimination from the body.
The Anatomy of the Lymphatic System
Like blood vessels, lymphatic vessels form an extensive network throughout the body. These vessels collect lymph fluid from your organs and tissues and transport it towards large lymphatic vessels. Did you know that you have twice as much lymphatic fluid in your body as you do blood? Yes, it is true.
Lymph nodes are bean-shaped structures located along the lymphatic vessels in strategic areas of the body. They serve as filters and contain immune cells that trap and destroy pathogens, abnormal cells, and cellular debris in the lymph fluid. You’ll find lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, groin, and abdomen.
The spleen is the largest lymphatic organ, and it’s located in the upper left part of the abdomen. It filters blood, removes old or damaged red blood cells, and stores blood components. It also contains white blood cells that help fight infections.
The thymus is located behind the sternum, commonly called the breastbone. It is essential for the development and maturation of specific immune cells. They play a vital role in the body’s immune response.
Tonsils are clusters of lymphatic tissue located in the back of the throat. They are responsible for trapping and preventing pathogens from entering the respiratory and digestive systems.
Though typically associated with blood cell production, bone marrow also is important to the lymphatic system. It generates certain types of white blood cells, including lymphocytes, essential for specific immune responses.
The Thoracic Duct and Right Lymphatic Duct
The thoracic duct and right lymphatic duct are the two main lymphatic vessels responsible for returning lymph fluid to the bloodstream. The thoracic duct collects lymph from the lower body, left arm, left side of the head, and chest and drains into the left subclavian vein. The right lymphatic duct drains lymph from the right side of the head, right arm, and upper chest and empties into the right subclavian vein.
Knowledge is the Key to Growth
Understanding the lymphatic system starts with labeling each component. Now that we’ve done that in this post, it’s easy to see why taking care of your lymphatic system is so important. Even investing in a lymphatic system cleanse can position you for long-term health.
If you have more questions about the lymphatic system, how it works, and how to maintain it, please contact me directly and stay tuned to our blog.
I would be happy to answer your questions.
Here’s to your lymphatic health!