The digestive system is responsible for distributing all nutrients, fluid, and medications into the blood. The large and small intestines are very rich in both blood vessels and lymphatic vessels. It is also at this level that all the water is absorbed into the body. The pelvic area and abdomen house the cisterna chyli, a dilated lymphatic sac that is the meeting point between the intestinal trunk and the lymphatic vessels from the two lower limbs/lumbar area. Anatomically, the abdomen area is the most lymphatic rich area of the body.
Digestive issues can occur for any number of reasons, some of which include; chronic dehydration, lack of physical activity and anatomical lymphatic anomalies. The mentioned causes of digestive problems are easily solved by a combination of an increase in glasses of water per day, exercise and a series of lymphatic drainage massages.
Proper hydration is very important to maintain a proper balance and function of the body. If there is chronic dehydration over an extended period of time, the digestive system starts to slow down, and blockages occur. If not enough fluid is present, macronutrients such as proteins will remain “stuck” in the intra-cellular region, causing fluid to be attracted to the intra-cellular area, causing bloating, swelling, discomfort and symptoms such as constipation and irritable bowel.
Anatomical anomalies can occur due to birth defects or injury to the lymphatic system or digestive tissue due to accidents, illnesses, and surgeries. A lack of healthy lymphatic vessels will cause a backup in the digestive area that can cause pain, swelling and bloating.
In order to understand how lymphatic drainage massage helps, it is important to know a little about the lymphatic system. Lymphatic vessels collect fluid, debris, macro nutrients and immune by-products from the interstitial space. This mixture becomes lymph and is distributed into the lymphatic vessels, bringing this fluid towards the subclavian veins so the fluid can be redistributed through the heart and blood vessels. However, if for whatever reason some protein is stuck in the interstitial space, it will attract fluid. The fluid that is now in that area will attract more proteins which will, in turn, attract more fluid, and this process will continue until something is done to break the cycle.
Lymphatic drainage massage helps to stimulate the lymphatic system and also promotes the creation of new lymphatic pathways making the system more efficient. Lymphatic drainage massage begins at the level of the neck, stimulating the circulation and creating a void in the vessels so it can accept more lymph. Once the system is stimulated at the level of the neck, the massage therapist will treat the affected area with specific lymphatic drainage massage pump and push maneuvers stimulating the absorption and mobilization of proteins and fluid. There is protein in a lot of the food we eat, that without proper exercise, hydration, diet and treatments can stay stagnant in the abdominal area, causing dysfunction. Each lymphatic drainage massage will stimulate the system and create new pathways a little at a time. Depending on the severity, as little as six appointments to as many as fifteen appointments will be needed to stimulate the system.