Welcome to this month's article! Ready for Fall? With summer winding down and the busy fall season getting underway, be sure to plan a schedule that allows for some relaxation. Know your limitations! And remember one of the best ways to keep going strong is with your regular massage sessions.
This month's issue features information on a vital part of your body that is often overlooked—the lymphatic system. As a major contributor to your immune function, it plays a key role in your health. Read on to see how you can help support it.
You’ll also find recent survey news on why people choose to have massage therapy—all good reasons!
As always, if you have any questions about your health and how bodywork can help to support your health goals, please be sure to ask at your next appointment.
See you soon—take care!
Lymph, a Vital Part of Good Health
One of the least discussed areas of the body—yet most vital to good health—is the lymphatic system. By conveying lymph throughout the body, this system plays a vital role in the maintenance of the immune system, helping to prevent and fight infection. A healthy lymphatic system makes us less susceptible to pain, aging and disease.
Lymph is the nearly colorless liquid inside and outside each cell of your body. Its composition is very similar to blood without the red blood cells. Lymph seeps through capillary walls to fill tissue spaces. The lymphatic system’s functions include filtering out disease-causing organisms and manufacturing white blood cells (the cells that form antibodies that fight disease).
Besides lymph, the system includes lymphatic capillaries and larger vessels, lymph nodes (or glands), and lymph-containing organs like the spleen and the tonsils. The lymph nodes are small bean-shaped, glandlike bodies occurring along the paths of the lymphatic vessel. They filter out toxins, bacteria and other harmful microorganisms from lymph.
The vessels of the lymphatic system closely follow the pathways of the circulatory system. Unlike blood, lymph flows without the assistance of any pump, but lymphatic vessels do have valves that prevent backflow. Normally, lymph is moved by the pressure of breathing, muscular activity and pressure from adjacent blood vessels.
In addition to cleansing body fluids, the lymphatic system is important in the digestion of fats and the transport of nutrients and wastes. It also preserves the fluid balance throughout the body.
We generally become aware of the lymphatic system when lymph nodes become swollen, especially in the neck, groin, armpits or behind the knees—a sign of infection or overactivity.
Other signs that your lymph system is sluggish include fatigue, constipation and various chronic complaints like headaches, water retention, allergies, lupus, asthma, diarrhea, and arthritis, to name a few.
Maintaining balance in the autonomic (spontaneous) nervous system is necessary for the body to be able to heal itself. Part of this system calls us into action; the other part tells us to relax and sleep. When this system is out of balance, the body develops a weakened immune system which leads to chronic conditions due to the cells’ inability to eliminate waste.
The proper functioning of your lymphatic system is key to good health. Because the lymph is not circulated through the action of the heart, exercise and massage are beneficial ways to maintain a healthy flow and enhance well-being. In this way, your regular massage sessions promote detoxification and encourage the regenerative and cleansing capabilities of the body.
Help keep your lymphatic system functioning properly with exercise and of course with regular massage!
Massage benefits perceived by clients
Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP) commissions a nationwide survey of massage clients every two years. The most recent was conducted by Harstad Strategic Research in January 2013, and surveyed a representative sample of U.S. adults on their use of massage during 2012. Reasons clients get massage:
• Postural change
• Energy balancing
• Emotional release
• Injury rehabilitation
• Self care
• Management of chronic pain
• Relief from acute pain
• Stress management
• 37% of all U.S. adults have visited a massage therapist at some point in their lives
• According to the book, The Odd Body, the knee is the most easily injured joint of the human body. In U.S. hospitals each year, 1.4 million patients are admitted with knee problems.
The real cause of obesity — Overeating may not be the chief cause of America’s obesity epidemic. New research from Stanford Medical School indicates the real culprit is too little exercise—indeed, too little physical activity of any kind. From 1994 to 2010, the percentage of adult women who did no physical activity in their spare time climbed from 19 percent to nearly 52 percent, while the number of sedentary men increased from 11 percent to almost 44 percent. “We suspected there was a trend in that direction but not to that magnitude,” Stanford’s Uri Ladabaum tells the Los Angeles Times. Meanwhile, over that same period, the average body mass index for women went up by 0.37 percent per year. But in the study’s key finding, researchers saw no evidence of an increase in overall calorie consumption. The study drew on self-reported data collected by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. A separate review of 20 long-term studies showed that obesity can shorten life expectancy by 6.5 to 14 years compared with people of normal weight. Those who are extremely obese also have an increased risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, among other illnesses.
— The Week Vol. 14 Iss. 678
A man who procrastinates in his choosing
will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.
— Hunter S. Thompson
The content of this article is not designed
to replace professional medical advice. If you’re ill, consult a physician.
© 2014 Massage Marketing. Used with permission; all rights reserved.