The Lymphatic System


The Lymphatic System

When non-medical professionals think of the human body’s circulatory system, they generally think of only two components: the arterial network (which carries the “clean” oxygen-rich blood from the heart throughout the body to its muscles and organs) and the venous network (which is responsible for taking the blood saturated with carbon dioxide back to the heart and lungs for cleaning).
But did you know that there is a third, important yet commonly overlooked component to the circulatory system? That is the lymphatic system.

The lymphatic system is made up of a remarkable complexity of organs, which includes the spleen, tonsils and thymus, and a vast network of lymph nodes and ducts that run parallel to the venous network.
The lymphatic system is responsible for the following key functions within the body:

    • Directing fluids releases from the body’s cells and tissues back into the blood, while removing all metabolic waste and foreign toxins from the body.
    • Ensuring that fats and fatty acids are absorbed and transported from the digestive tract.
    • The lymphatic system acts as the “powerhouse” of the body’s immune system, by storing lymphocytes (the body’s defence cells) in the lymph nodes, as well as transporting white blood cells to and from the lymph nodes into the bones. In an active body, lymphatic circulation takes place by the contraction of the lymphatic ducts and muscular movements.

Lymphoedema is known to be caused the following:

  • Infections and the body’s immune system’s response, such as swelling to the neck when your body is fighting off a cold or flu.
  • Injury to lymph tissue or the removal of the tissue (typically the result of a cancer surgery).
  • Cancer and cancer treatments
  • and, most frequently, the lack of limb mobility.

Due to modern sedentary lifestyles, extended periods of immobility cause the lymphatic system to underperform, resulting in a weakened immune system, a build-up of toxic waste in body tissues, and swollen tissue. It is common to expect this sort of response if you spend long hours at a desk, use air transport regularly or spend long hours every week in the car.

Frequent exercise and receiving regular manual lymphatic drainage treatment can be useful in preventing lymphoedema. This is a gentle form of rhythmic tissue massage and is usually highly effective in managing and reducing the fluid retention in affected areas whilst improving normal body circulation and energy levels.

Your health, age and fitness level will determine your lymphatic drainage treatment. Should you require more information about treatment, please contact us via mail or call 03303 904 300 and a member of our team will gladly assist you further.

Full Circle Osteopathy. 2019. The Lymphatic System — Full Circle Osteopathy. [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 December 2021].
Rossano, M., 2017. The Lymphatic System and the health benefits of Lymphatic Drainage Massage. [online] Bridge to Health. Available at: [Accessed 16 December 2021].