HOW THE LYMPHATIC SYSTEM WORKS
- Removing Wastes from the Body
- Fighting off Infections
- Distributing Nutrients from Digestive tract to bloodstream
Lymphatic Cupping not only draws out interstitial fluid and debris from within layers of the soft tissue, bringing it up superficially for lymphatic disposal, but also has the ability to support movement of lymph fluids along drainage pathways.
- Lymphatic System collects, filters and disposes of as much metabolic waste as possible
- Cellular Debris (cellular waste, old blood, medications) in interstitial fluid enters lymphatic system lymph capillaries then travels to through larger lymph vessels toward removal through the main drainage ducts in the upper torso (right and left thoracic ducts)
- System flows in one direction from distal regions of body (near skin’s surface from furthest points, like hands and feet) toward the heart.
- Lymphatic System has no pump and relies on muscle movement, lymphatic valves and negative pressure in chest during respiration to move lymph
- Lymph in the superficial layers has no specific direction which can result in misguided lymph fluid.
Lighter pressure manual therapies including suction cupping are used to move lymph along natural pathways to support the system’s vital health processes.
The lymph vessel system is a component of the lymphatic system which also includes the organs (thymus, spleen, tonsils, etc)
The most important task of the lymph vessels is the drainage and transport of interstitial fluid, along with the various substances contained in it, into the venous blood circulation
The effect of Lymphatic Drainage Cupping is an increase in the Lymph Flow Rate also known as “LFR”
The Lymph Flow Rate
- When the body is at rest the LFR is very low
- Passive Motion causes the LFR to increase
- If in addition to Passive Motion the patient receives Lymphatic Drainage Cupping the LFR increases even more.
The increase in LFR by cupping is increased by increased lymph formation. This decompression drives the interstitial in the pre-lymphatic channels of the connective tissue into the lymph vessels.
The intermittent decompression of lymphatic cupping accelerates the filling and emptying of the lymph capillaries.
The rhythmic change from compression to decompression to extension of the tissue under lymphatic cupping increases the frequency of the filling and emptying phases of the initial lymph vessels.
- Proximal – Closer to Torso
- Distal – Further from Torso
- Lateral- Away from the midline of the body
Medial- Closer to the midline of the body
Lymphatic Stagnation is a fairly common issue from varying reasons.
- Sedentary Lifestyle
- Tight Muscles
- Repetitive Motions
- Environmental Exposures & Pathogens
- Substances (Chemicals, smoke)
The body can retain residue for any stagnation for months or even up to years
Inflammation present in the body for extended periods either due to injuries, illnesses, surgeries, toxicity or systemic conditions, then the lymphatic system becomes challenged.
Inflammation heats up and dehydrates soft tissues affecting the interstitial fluids.
As heat changes the integrity of the soft tissues, it also alters the composition of the lymph fluids causing them to thicken and hinder passage.
This results in stagnation of displaced waste fluids and backs up in the body.
- The negative pressure or vacuum of cupping clears localized underlying tissues and aids in the drainage process
- Cupping creates A systemic “flushing” of residue and waste materials (lactic acid, heat, old blood)
- Lighter Cupping Applications address superficial lymph layers where lymph filtration occurs with negative pressure.
These lymphatic valves can be challenged when lymph fluids are too thick for movement and result in edema. Cups with directional guidance have an impressive ability of moving these fluids along natural routes.
- Lift & Release- mimics the natural, rhythmic opening of the flap valves along the routes
- Slow Gentle Gliding- offers a soothing, wave-like motion along the same pathways.
Move the Cup- Fluid will follow
- Using cups can be beneficial resulting in improved circulation
- More complicated edema- related conditions should be referred to a manual lymph drainage specialist.
Edema is excess of lymph fluid in interstitial spaces, usually defined as swelling.
The difference is that swelling occurs as a response to inflammation, whereas edema can occur without inflammation.
The Tissue fluids swell due to some other fluid dysfunction.
Edema usually occurs in the legs, ankles and feet although it can occur in the arms and throughout the body.
Edema can result from complications of other organ systems:
- Autoimmune Diseases
- Acute Edema- Usually caused by injury – sprained ankle, surgery, lymph nodes removed, toxic overload
- Pitting Edema- Edema where the skin retains and impression when pressure applied. Indention disappears after short time.
- Lymphedema-Disturbance of lymphatic function often caused by surgeries such as mastectomy, lymph node surgeries and radiation.
- Lipedema (Lipoedema)- Congenital condition characterized by excess of adipose tissue in subcutaneous layers of body tissue
- Anasarca- Generalized swelling throughout the body usually due to various system failures
Ascites- Excess fluid in abdominal cavity
- Lingering Muscle Body Aches & Pains, Feeling Heavy or Lethargic
- Frequent Colds, Virus, Bacterial Infections
- Poor Circulation
- Sedentary Lifestyle
- Aches from activity: ie sports ie lactic acid ie: inflammation
- Prior to Surgery or Post Surgery after healed due to scaring impingement of fascia/lymph pathways
- Detox Tissue from medications, toxins, smoke,
- Light Pressure
- Dynamic & Suction & Release (NO STATIC)
- Larger Cups to open larger areas
- Slow, Rhythmic, Repetitive Movements
- Start Proximal then go Distal
- Be Aware and Follow Drainage Pathways
- Average Treatment Time 15-20 Min for larger Area
- Average Treatment Time 5-10 Min for Smaller Area
- Generous Lubrication and Light/Medium Suction
- Larger Cups
Dynamic, Circular, Long Repetitive Movements
Brisk , Vigorous Circulation Stimulating, Vasodilating Repetitive Movements.
Proximal Areas Prior to Distal Areas
Follow Drainage Pathways & Contours of the Body
Cellulite is stagnation caused by superficial fascial adhesions resulting in “adipose” fat pockets becoming trapped within the fascia.
Our Goal is to bring heat to the area to liquify the fascia and fluids to lead the stagnant sticky fluids out and remold the fascia to smooth out the area.
- Start with Client Supine and begin by opening proximal pathway to Inguinal lymph nodes with flash cupping/Suction/Release
- Have client switch to prone or side lying position.
- Start with Light to Medium Suction. If uncomfortable in areas, then you can do flash cupping or small circular movements until tissue softens
- Brisk, Vigorous Movements is what you want to use here because you are wanting to increase heat and circulation to the area
- Hips- draining towards inguinal nodes
- Glutes- draining toward inguinal nodes
- You can use Slow Brisk Circular Motions but always follow up with long brisk movements moving fluid towards inguinal nodes.