By Paul Thornley ANMT
How to value a treatment on a system most people are unfamiliar with , or misunderstand the critical role it plays in our ability to remain healthy.
Welcome to the world of Lymphatics!
As a race we have thrived in our environment as we seem to have no barriers in our endeavour to make our lives more exciting, more fulfilling & most importantly of all, last for eternity….
Never before has our health and ability to survive natures wrath been at the forefront of our attention, but really are we equipped mentally to take on this challenge, are we informing ourselves & each other with the best knowledge in how to attain the health and longevity we all so desperately seek?
All to often we employ the services of trainers, therapists & other alternatives treatments to take charge of the outcomes we seek, not taking any accountability of the consequences our choices have on our bodies & their ability to repair, adapt & enhance the continuity that must exist within each one of us.
In short, we’ve taken our bodies for granted & assume that an external intervention from a therapist will come and save the day….
As a practicing neuromuscular therapist & movement specialist for nearly 20 years, I’ve never once said to a client I can fix you, as this would be an absolute lie!
I have however, had much success in helping the many clients I’ve had the privilege of treating and re-educating, depending on how diligently they followed my treatment & movement plan following our initial consultation & subsequent sessions.
For centuries we have been enlightened by our academic fraternity that we are Biomechanical , whereby we are the sum of our parts & pieces. A language was created , a convenient language to explain the complexities of human biology in such a way that would blind us for nearly 400 years.
From under the Anatomist scalpel we’ve been influenced by their interpretation of the major structures that they discovered, as they delved deeper into the cadavers more mysterious artefacts were uncovered and slowly but surely over the centuries all of the parts and pieces have been reassembled into the wholeness that we are, a magnificent human, each of us uniquely formed but still maintaining enough similarities to bind us as this particularly special species.
We are formed & exist in a world governed by the forces of Biotensegrity. These forces are invisible to the human eye, but you most certainly can feel them. They are of course Compression & Tension. Through the relationship of these forces and the environment we all coexist within is a state of harmony. In this harmonic state our bodies have the most phenomenal ability to self regulate, self organise and most importantly, self heal.
We are built to survive, you grew yourself from within and as nature intended , became part of this global community.
Now then, what went wrong?
Life , evolution or a million other factors, but quite simply we’ve abused ourselves, we ask so much of our own individual organism without regard for the ramifications of those demands.
The way we move and how we choose to live , dictates the way our bodies living tissues respond.
Remember the invisible forces , if that harmony is compromised then there is a price to pay, and that is structural dysfunction.
This of course is represented in many forms but all to often in the guise of pain or inhibition of certain movements.
Now you seek help, the help of a therapist , with expertly trained hands to work their magic and restore your magnificence in as few sessions as possible so you can get back to the life that all to often created the reason you required their services in the first place, madness!
And in all of this chaos you already possess the greatest natural medical, cleanup & restorative system that has always been actively engage throughout your life, it never took a day of , never stopped trying to manage the inappropriate effects you created & always let you know if you were paying attention, that your pushing the boundaries and need to review your movement habits.
Of course the unsung hero of your life story is the lymphatic system!
So your lymphatic systems main function is to collect and transport blood proteins, plasmas & cellular waste that travels throughout your body and bring the all to the recycling centres at your spleen & liver, for re consumption into your circulatory system.
It does this via a system of lymphatic vessels that map your entire structure , within this network of vessels are collection sites called lymphatic nodes, these nodes store these waste products before transporting them further up the network to their final destination where the recycling process can begin.
What makes this system so efficient is it’s one way valve configuration, where by the lymphatic fluids that are transporting the waste products can only flow in one direction, towards the heart.
Unlike the circulatory system that has the aid of the heart to create a consistent flow , the lymphatic system requires movement of your body to function appropriately, much like a vacuum effect.
This however, is often compromised due to poor movement choices that actually inhibit this process creating a backup of lymphatic flow , which is all to often visible via the swelling that occurs as a result.
Imagine if you can , you have a flood in your living room. There is water across the whole floor, there is only one crate in the corner of the room that you can sweep the water towards that will allow the room to be water free. But something is blocking the crate, as you sweep the water in its direction, it has no where to go but flow backwards to its original location.
This is exactly the outcome within the lymphatic system, as the workload is increased on the network of vessels , the lymphatic nodes have to store more waste product and is unable to distribute it further up stream to the next nodes , this in turn creates a lymphatic blockage , and the more the flow is inhibited the more it backs up.
It’s akin to our own refuse collection services , that collect our daily rubbish. What if they cannot collect the bins today, or the next and so on, eventually the build up of waste will fester and now you have an environmental issue just waiting to explode.
Within your body this means infections & inflammation, and all diseases originate from inflammatory tissue.
So does lymphatic drainage/ lymphatic massage work? The answer is absolutely !
Lymphatic Massage is a very skilled application of touch, the lightest of touch. It is a lengthy and prolonged treatment that requires patience , at most the therapist is making skin stretching motions, gentle but positive strokes. Always avoiding to much pressure as to not inhibit the lymph beneath the skin, lighter than your general massage however, more thoughtful and specific in application. Your therapist will begin always at the highest point around your left clavicle , site of the imaginary crate that is the route that all lymph must pass, then they’ll explore further afield and constantly return to the origin to ensure your lymph has a constantly consistent flow. This methodical approach is what makes this particular treatment so valuable, a lymphatic masseuse is at the peek of their skills as their touch is mimicking your very own personal frequency, they’re not dictating an effect rather they are negotiating with your fluids on the best route to travel.
Your in the hands of an expert, this of course comes at a price, pay it! They are worth every dime.
This massage must be part of a cohesive and strategic approach of , daily manual therapy, movement therapy & nutritional investigation. In short , for lymphatic massage to be as effective as possible , lifestyle changes are a prerequisite, you must invest in yourself and make the health of yourself a priority.
For far to long has society conformed us to a medical & physical exercise doctrine that in all honesty is total Nonsense. All to often the focus is on intensity of workouts rather than the quality and skill attained, by doing so you ultimately shorten your movement longevity.
Here’s a question, if exercise is so good for us, why are so many whom exercise injured?
Understanding the answer to that question with reenforce why it’s so vitally important to recognise how incredible your body is , but honour it, then you will benefit from the hands & knowledge of your therapist.
Pick a good one , they are few and far between, but once you’ve found a therapist you trust, follow their lead but make sure your not reliant on them, own your outcome by learning the value of lymphatic massage & why you needed one in the first place.
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