"Lymph travels to the nearest collection of lymph nodes, where any harmful micro-organisms including viruses, bacteria and cancer cells are eliminated by our immune system."
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What is Lymph?
Lymph is made up of a variety of substances, including proteins, salts, glucose, fats, water, and white blood cells, its precise composition depending on where in the body it comes from:
- In the lymphatic vessels of the arms and legs, it is clear and transparent, and its chemical composition is very similar to blood plasma (the liquid portion of blood), although it contains less protein than plasma.
- The lymph returning from the intestines is milky, owing to the presence of fatty acids absorbed from the foods we eat. This mixture of fats and lymph is called ‘chyle’, which is collected by distinct lymphatic vessels within the intestine called lacteals (see our blog “The lymphatic system and fat digestion“).
The lymphatic journey
Lymph starts its life as BLOOD PLASMA.
Making up most of our blood volume, plasma is a clear straw-coloured fluid that carries red and white blood cells together with nutrients, salts, proteins and hormones to cells around the body that need them to function effectively.
As blood flows through our arteries propelled by the pressure of each heartbeat, it eventually reaches the smallest of the blood vessels – the capillaries. These are the tiny, thin-walled vessels that actually deliver the oxygen and nutrients to the cells of the body. Capillaries are also very ‘leaky’ and allow a certain amount of plasma to leave the circulatory system in order to bathe the surrounding tissues in this nutrient-rich fluid. This ‘escaped plasma’ is now known as INTERSTITIAL FLUID.
The consumption of all these nutrients inevitably results in the formation of waste products that are returned to the interstitial fluid. Most of this (between 80-90%) and the debris it contains re-enters the bloodstream and the waste products are removed by our excretory organs – the liver, kidneys, skin and lungs. The remaining fluid containing larger protein-rich waste, toxins and pathogens is picked up by the extensive network of lymphatic vessels and is now known as LYMPH.
The lymph will travel to the nearest collection of LYMPH NODES where any harmful micro-organisms including viruses, bacteria and cancer cells are eliminated by our immune system.
The now clean lymph continues its one-way journey up the body where it re-joins the bloodstream via two large veins at the base of the neck – the left and right subclavian veins – where it once again becomes blood plasma, and the journey begins again.
If this lymphatic journey is stalled in any way – due to a sedentary lifestyle or a lymphatic system that is compromised by illness or disease – it will result in a build-up of the interstitial fluid and the waste and toxins it contains which can lead to a variety of conditions including aching joints, headaches, bloating, disturbed sleep and low energy.
Clinically designed specifically to boost lymphatic flow, a course of Body Ballancer massages will not only help get any stagnated lymph moving again, it will also eliminate any build-up of the metabolic waste products and any other pathogens that can have such a fundamental impact on our overall health and wellbeing!
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