What is swelling?
Swelling or oedema is an accumulation of fluid in the tissues. It is a result of inflammation, stage 1 of the healing process in the body. When tissue is damaged by injury or surgery, some blood vessels are ruptured, which leads to bruising. The body’s response is to initiate inflammation; blood vessels in the damaged area expand and become leaky, losing some of the plasma components into the surrounding tissues, creating swelling. This process also brings different cells and chemical mediators for clot formation to the area.
While inflammation is necessary, too much inflammation results in severe oedema and function and mobility may be affected. If the swelling becomes chronic, then the body starts to lay down collagen fibers as part of the later stages of repair. This can lead to permanent changes in the tissue with thickening and fibrosis. Function may stay impaired.
The lymphatic system is like the waste disposal system for the cells. Its functions include:
- Distribution of fluid and nutrients in the body.
- Assisting in draining of excess fluids and proteins left behind by capillary circulation activity, thus preventing tissues from swelling.
- Removal of toxins.
It filters out the impurities in the lymph nodes before returning the fluid to the circulatory system.
The lymphatic system is very slow compared to the circulatory system, which is why areas of swelling or bruising can take a week or more to resolve. When it is blocked or congested, its filtering and neutralizing functions can be dramatically reduced, cell nutrition can be affected, and the healing process can be slowed.
Lymphatic Drainage Therapy is a gentle massage technique, which enhances the flow of fluid through the system and thereby aids the reduction of the swelling so that the healing process can progress and function can be restored.
The lymphatic practitioner at The Body Group is Sarah Eames. To make an appointment please call 2167 7305.