How the Immune System and Lymphatic System Work Together: Part 1
If you’ve been following my “Word of the Day- Immunity Series”, you might have read by now that the immune system works closely together with the lymphatic system. In fact, the immune system works better when the lymphatic system flows well. Recent studies have confirmed that massage therapy has a positive effect on every system in the body. This is especially true for the lymphatic system.
By reducing muscle tightness and flow constriction, lymph vessels can drain better.
Let’s look at the main functions of these systems, plus the causes and symptoms of a backed up lymphatic system.
Getting to Know the Lymphatic System
With approximately 600 bean-shaped lymph nodes scattered in clusters throughout the body, with heavy concentrations around the inguinal, axillary, and cervical regions, lymphatic flow can easily become backed up.
The lymphatic system is made of tissues and organs. The lymph tissues involve the tonsils, the appendix, Peyer’s patches, and red bone marrow. The lymph organs involve the spleen, the thymus, and lymph nodes. The fluid that flows through these tissues and organs is known as lymph. Furthermore, most of the tissues and organs house cells that belong to the immune system.
The immune system cells are responsible for eliminating abnormal cells, cell debris, pathogens, and foreign particles found in the body, from splinters to bacteria.
The three main functions of the lymphatic and immune systems are:
Drain interstitial fluid
Transport dietary lipids
Facilitate immune responses
If lymph flow becomes stagnant, then the macrophages of the immune system cannot do their job well of destroying and discarding bacteria, viruses, and other foreign particles before it is returned to the blood.
What causes lymph to become stagnant?
Lack of movement
Lack of hydration
What symptoms occur when the lymphatic system is backed up?
Muscle and joint pain and stiffness
Decreased range of motion
Thickening of the skin
Increased visibility of cellulite
The good news is that the lymphatic system can be flushed out naturally, which will help decrease these symptoms and increase energy. We need good energy for a good immune system! Join me for my next article, Part 2, where I dive further into how to keep your energy high, the benefits of massage therapy for the lymphatic system and immune system, and how you too can stimulate lymph at home.