"Lymphatic facilitation is a manual technique for reducing edema/swelling and associated nerve pain resulting from acute injury, strain, sprain, repetitive overuse syndrome, surgery, and burns.  It works by manually facilitating the flow within the lymphatic system  to drain excess fluid from the body's cells and tissues.  As an important component of the immune system, the functions of the lymphatic system are: 

1) fluid balance
2) protection from infection, and 
3) absorption of fats.  

Unlike the circulatory system of the body, the lymphatic system is a one way system that begins in the tissues and ends with the lymph flowing directly into the heart via the right and left subclavian veins and superior vena cava.  The lymphatic system doesn't have a pump like the heart is for circulation.  Lymph moves in the lymphatic vessels due to muscle contraction during movement and with the changes in pressure within the belly and chest with breath.  Lymphoid tissues are distributed throughout the body and make up the lymphatic system's specialized organs such as the: 

Lymph nodes (filter lymph once it is drained from tissues; where the lymphocytes of the immune system multiply and work to combat foreign organisms)
Spleen (filters the blood)

- Thymus (plays a key role in immune system development)
Tonsils (remove contaminants from materials that are inhaled or swallowed)
Appendix (help in the development of immunity)
Peyer patches (located in the mucus membranes lining the small intestine, prevents microorganisms from invading deeper tissues)
Bone marrow (produces blood forming cells)

In addition to decreasing edema and pain, lymphatic facilitation has the following benefits:  

- Relieving fluid pressure on nerve endings

- Stimulating immune function 

- Relieving tension headache and migraine headache pain

- Minimizing scarring

- Minimizing connective tissue restrictions following surgery

- Accelerating healing time from burns and wounds

- Relieving sinus congestion

- Reducing symptoms of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndromes

- Reducing muscle hypertonicity

- Relieving some forms of gastrointestinal distress (constipation, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome)

- Improving relaxation to aid insomnia, stress and loss of vitality" 

Instructor: Pete Connolly, LMP, CSMS, BS, Acute Injury Massage

Lymphatic Facilitation