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What is the lymphatic system?

Please Note:  Electro Lymphatic Therapy is not currently available at our Clinics (September 2012).

Please call 01903 234 490 for more information.

Although there is 50 per cent more lymphatic fluid in your body than blood, many people do not understand what the lymphatic system is.

The lymphatic system is a network of thin tubes (lymph vessels) that carry a clear fluid called lymph. The system includes the lymphatic tissue that lymph travels through. You may have heard of lymph nodes which are small concentrated areas of lymphatic tissue. The system also includes the structures which produce and circulate lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) including the spleen, thymus, bone marrow and the digestive system.

Lymph is not pumped through the body like blood; it is moved by the contractions of muscles and the motion of breathing.

The lymphatic system does several vital jobs in the body:

Draining fluid

As the blood circulates, fluid leaks out into the body tissues. This fluid is important because it carries food to the cells and waste products back to the bloodstream. The leaked fluid drains into the lymph vessels. It is carried through the lymph vessels to the base of the neck  where it is emptied back into the bloodstream. This circulation of fluid through the body is going on all the time.

Filtering lymph

The lymph nodes filter the lymph as it passes through.  White blood cells attack any bacteria or viruses they find in the lymph as it flows through the lymph nodes.

Filtering blood

This is the job of the spleen.  It filters blood to take out all the old worn out red blood cells and then destroys them.  They are replaced by new red blood cells that have been made in the bone marrow.  The spleen also filters out bacteria, viruses and other foreign particles found in the blood.  White blood cells in the spleen attack bacteria and viruses as they pass through.

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Fighting infection

You will have noticed that when you are unwell, your ‘glands are up’: these are swollen lymph nodes fighting an infection. The lymphatic system combats infection in many ways including making special white blood cells that produce antibodies and in the destruction of foreign particles, for example germs, within the lymph nodes.

So you can see that it is important that the lymph fluid moves freely so it can properly perform these important nutrient-giving, infection-fighting and waste-disposal tasks. Electro Lymphatic Therapy helps to keep lymph flowing freely by reducing lymphatic congestion.