About the Lymph (Lymphatic) System:
The lymph system is part of your immune system and is also responsible for removing excess fluid from your body. Fluid is continuously circulating throughout your body so that cells can get nutrients and get rid of waste products. Most of this fluid is circulated by your heart through arteries and veins. About 10 percent of the fluid remains in the local tissue for your lymph system to collect. The fluid consists of water, proteins, bacteria, cancer cells and other waste products from the tissue in your body. Small lymph vessels collect the fluid which leads to larger lymph vessels which eventually lead to lymph nodes. Lymph vessels have one-way valves to direct fluid toward the lymph nodes where the fluid is filtered. Harmful cells are attacked by lymphocytes (white blood cells) and excess fluid is returned to circulation to be eliminated from the body by the kidneys. The lymph system does not have its own pump, like a heart, so movement in lymph vessels relies heavily on movement in your body. Every time you contract a muscle or bend a joint, you are applying pressure to the lymph vessels which helps to pump fluid toward the lymph nodes. There are about 600-700 lymph nodes in the human body. Most are in the abdomen, then the head and neck, and then the limbs. Lymph vessels have specific drainage pathways. Lymph nodes in your armpit drain your arm and chest on that side. Lymph nodes in your groin drain your leg and pelvis on that side.
To learn more about the lymph system and what you can do to improve its function, ask about our Lymph System 101 class.