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Integrative Family Health Clinic in Bolton and the Greater Caledon Area
4-22 Simona Drive
Bolton, ON

Lymphatic Treatments for Good Health

The proper functioning of the lymphatic system is critical to our body’s ability to drain stagnant fluids, detoxify, regenerate tissues, filter out toxins and foreign substances, and maintain a healthy immune system. 

The lymphatic system is a complex system made up mostly of lymph vessels and lymph nodes working in cooperation to accomplish these tasks. There is an increased demand for efficient lymphatic function during disease, tissue dysfunction, physiologic stress, and infection. Read more about how the lymphatic system supports optimal health and how osteopathic lymphatic treatments can help. 

Important Functions of the Lymphatic System

The lymphatic system has the following functions in the body: 

      1. One of the primary functions of the lymphatic system is to help defend the body against infections, illness and foreign invaders. 
      2. The lymphatic system helps maintain fluid balance in the body, prevents tissue swelling (called edema), and maintains proper hydration.
      3. The lymphatic system plays a crucial role in nutrient absorption, especially for fats.
      4. In addition to removing excess fluid, the lymphatic system also helps remove waste products and toxins from tissues.

Overall, the lymphatic system is essential for maintaining immune function, fluid balance, nutrient absorption, waste removal, and overall health. Dysfunction of the lymphatic system can lead to a range of health problems, including infections, edema, and impaired immune function. 

Lymphatic Congestion

Lymphatic congestion occurs when there is any obstruction to the lymphatic pathways or the dysfunction of the abdominal diaphragmatic action. Congestion promotes the accumulation of waste products and is associated with poor circulation and nutrition of the cells.

Unlike the circulatory system, which uses the pumping of the heart to circulate its blood flow, lymph vessels rely upon hundreds of tiny muscular units contracting throughout the body to propel lymph flow. These contractions enable the lymph vessels to transport numerous substances (like proteins, toxins, hormones, fatty acids, immune cells) to lymph nodes, which can then process them. The action of the muscular units can be hindered or stopped by surgery, trauma, burns, infections, substantial swelling, fatigue, stress, or age.

Osteopathy for Lymphatic Function

Osteopathic treatments can be very helpful in lymphatic drainage particularly in the context of lymphatic system dysfunction. Some key benefits are:

      1. Osteopathic practitioners use hands-on techniques to work on the muscles, joints and tissues which can help in stimulation of lymphatic flow. Gentle pressure and rhythmic movements applied to the skin and underlying tissues can encourage the movement of lymphatic fluid through the lymphatic vessels, promoting drainage and reducing congestion.
      2. Osteopathic treatments use soft tissue work which involves gentle mobilization of muscles, fascia and connective tissues. By releasing tension and restrictions in these tissues, osteopathic practitioners can improve lymphatic circulation and enhance the efficiency of lymphatic drainage.
      3. Osteopathic treatments also involve gentle joint mobilization to improve its mobility and range of motion. By enhancing joint function, osteopathic manual practitioners can indirectly support lymphatic drainage by promoting better movement and circulation of lymphatic fluid throughout the body.
      4. Osteopathic treatments can enhance blood circulation, which indirectly supports lymphatic drainage. Better circulation means improved delivery of oxygen and nutrients to tissues, as well as more efficient removal of metabolic waste products and excess fluid via the lymphatic system.
      5. Lymphatic treatments can help reduce swelling and edema which may alleviate discomfort and improve mobility.
      6. Osteopathic Manual Practitioners (OMPs) assess posture and alignments to identify any imbalances or restrictions that may be affecting lymphatic drainage. By addressing postural and structural issues, osteopathy can optimize the function of the lymphatic system and promote more efficient drainage.
      7. Osteopathy takes a holistic approach to healthcare, considering the interconnectedness of the body’s systems. Practitioners may assess and address underlying structural imbalances or dysfunctions that could be contributing to impaired lymphatic drainage, aiming to restore overall balance and health.
      8. Osteopathic treatments can complement other medical interventions for lymphatic disorders, such as compression therapy, exercise programs and manual lymphatic drainage performed by certified lymphedema therapists. Integrating osteopathy into a comprehensive treatment plan may enhance outcomes and improve the patient’s quality of life.

Overall, Osteopathy offers a gentle and non-invasive approach to supporting lymphatic drainage and promoting overall health and well-being. However, its essential to consult with the Osteopathic practitioner or your healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate treatment approach for your specific condition

Who Lymphatic Treatments Aren’t For

While lymphatic treatments can offer various benefits for many individuals, there are some precautions when you should withhold treatment and consult with your medical doctor:

      • Any acute infections, inflammatory illness in development, fever
      • Any hot, red, congested painful tissues, accompanied by fever
      • Serious circulatory problems
      • Major cardiac problems
      • Kidney or liver failures
      • Hemorrhages, including internal bleedings
      • Active cancer
      • Pregnancy
      • Recent surgery or trauma

This is not an exhaustive list and it is essential for individuals considering lymphatic treatments to discuss their medical history and any existing health conditions with a qualified healthcare provider or lymphatic therapist before initiating treatment. A thorough assessment can help identify any contraindications and ensure that the treatment approach is safe and appropriate for the individual’s needs.

Interested in seeing how an osteopathic lymphatic treatment can benefit you?
Talk to our osteopath today.

How to Perfect Your Spring-Summer Detox 

Detox, detox, detox.  

Detoxing has become quite the fad, both online and in the health community. Many of us think that we need to be on a plethora of detox supplements or laxatives and that we need to be doing long hours (sometimes days) of fasting in order to do it “properly” and to “cleanse” our systems completely of all waste and toxins.  

But here’s the reality of it: Yes, those things may help accelerate the process. Yes, they may help in the short term. But that is not all of what a detox is, and it is important to note they’re not always the safest either, especially not for long periods of time. As a naturopathic doctor, I would highly advise doing these under direct supervision of your health care  provider.  

What’s a Detox? 

A true detox involves supporting our essential detox organs, which are our:  

These organs help to eliminate toxins, waste, and hormones (and hormone byproducts, called metabolites) from the body. They help filter out the “good” from the “not so good.” However, these organs can become “sluggish” or  backed up (i.e. not functioning optimally) when there is a large toxic load, which can be due to poor lifestyle choices or high environmental exposures.  

Common signs and symptoms of your detox organs not functioning optimally include:  

      • Fatigue  
      • Water retention or swelling  
      • Bloating  
      • Digestive upset  
      • Constipation  
      • Chronic cough  
      • Getting sick frequently  
      • Excess congestion
      • Allergies and sensitivities
      • Skin concerns  
      • Increased acne or breakouts  
      • Increased pain or inflammation  
      • Brain fog  
      • Weight loss or gain  
      • Hormonal concerns, etc. 

Many of us may experience one or more of the above symptoms. Note that we can easily support these detox organs in our day-to-day life through nutrition, lifestyle, supplements, and with botanical medicine as well.  

Top Tips for Supporting Detoxification

The top 7 things to remember when doing your yearly detox:  

      1. Drink enough water! This can be up to 2-3 litres, depending on the individual.  
      2. Increase your vegetable and whole foods intake. Reduce processed foods!
      3. Increase protein and healthy fats.  Swap out for more plant-proteins, olive oil, and avocado oil.
      4. Eliminate alcohol, smoking, sugar, caffeine, and coffee.  
      5. Increase exercise, and encourage daily sweating – whether with movement or a sauna.
      6. Prioritize sleep, and ensure you are getting at least 7–8 hours of well rested sleep everyday. 
      7. Manage your stress — do something that helps you relax everyday!  

These are the foundations of health, and are essential to maintaining a healthy body, and supporting our detoxification systems. The reality is, if we do not optimize our food, our movement, our sleep and our stress, no amount of detoxing or products from the health food store will do us any good. If anything, the effects will be short-lived, and you will be back to feeling unwell soon after.

We are what we consume, and this applies to our food and what we ingest, but also to what we consume socially, from the media, from our relationships and from any such negativity or toxicity in our  lives too.  

I encourage you to be mindful and try the tips above. Notice how you feel after doing so for 1–2 weeks, and the impact it has had on your daily life and functioning.

If you have any other questions on how to support your body or health via naturopathic medicine or botanical medicine, feel free to  book a free 15 minute discovery call with me.  

Let’s work to restore your health in all aspects — mentally, emotionally and physically! 

Wishing you all nothing but good health and positive energy.