Today we’re gonna talk about the lymphatic system and aging. Is your lymphatic system working?
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Hi everyone. How are you? My name is Dr. Shellie Goldstein and I am delighted to be here. Thank you to the American Acupuncture Council for hosting today’s presentation. I am a cosmetic facial acupuncturist. I’ve been practicing for over 30 years. In addition to lecturing internationally, I work with the Pacific College of Health and Science.
We run the facial applications for cosmetic enhancement of the face program, and at the end you’ll see my links to obtaining more information about me and other programs. I’m the author of Your Best Face Now and created the Touch and Glow facelift kit. So there’s a lot out there. Today we’re gonna talk about the lymphatic system and aging.
Is your lymphatic system working? Let’s go through these questions. How do you feel physically? Are you feeling tired or stiff or swollen? Do you feel, does your body feel inflamed? Um, are your muscles fatigued? Is your body contained fatigued? Do you have allergies? How do you feel mentally? Are you experiencing brain fog?
Do you feel depressed, stressed, anxious for no reason? Reason? Maybe you have headaches, you can’t remember, things can’t concentrate, or just simply not motivated? Uh, how does your skin look and feel? Does it look dry? Are you having acne or blemishes? Rashes, some type of irritations or itchy, tingling skin, maybe thi thick, leathery.
And then how does your body look? Do you look puffy? Do you look different than you would normally think that you look? Or how does your metabolism work? Uh, how is your bowel movements you, are they regular? Do you have stomach aches? Gas, bloating, any type of abdominal bloating, difficulty losing weight even though you’ve made dietary changes and you’re working out, all of these can be symptoms of poor lymphatic drainage.
So it’s not your fault that you feel these ways if your lymphatic system isn’t working. So let’s take a look at the lymphatic system. What does the lymphatic system do? It maintains fluids, so all of the fluids that, this is the lymphatic system, the image on the right, so all of the fluids in the skin and in the tissue that drain from the cells.
And circle in this kind of bathing interstitial tissue. So the. The fluid goes through the circulatory system, comes out into the interstitial tissue if it doesn’t continue in through the venous system, and then it gets reabsorbed back into the lymphatic system, and then the lymphatic system takes that.
Fluid in and circulates it through the body and puts it back into the bloodstream. It also filters through the digestive tract, so fats, proteins, anything that falls out or comes out of the digestive tract, the lymphatic system takes it, puts it back in, circulates it through, cleans it out, puts it back into the bloodstream.
It also helps to protect ab against foreign substances. Lymphocytes, it’s gonna produce them. It’s gonna release them, and we know that lymphocytes, white blood cells are responsible for maintaining proper immunity to help destroy bacteria viruses. Parasites, fungus, and it also is a purifier. So the lymphatic system takes all of the waste, all the impurities from our system filters.
It gets rid of it, breaks it down, gets rid of it. So it’s kinda the clean. Part of our body that cleans things, purifies things, keeps the fluid moving. So imagine if it’s not working, what happens? You get backup, you get swelling, you get breakdown of the entire body. And this is why you feel bad without even understanding your realizing why.
The lymphatic system is part of the circulatory system, and it’s also part of the immune system. So as part of the circulatory system rather than blood, the lymph system carries that clear fluid, we call it lymph throughout the body. It’s in a unilateral direction, which means it takes it from the capillaries, from the interstitial tube.
Tissue moves it through the lymph, the vessels, through the lymph nodes into the thoracic duct, and back into the circulatory cy system. It’s a one-way track here. The extracellular fluid, what is this fluid? So we think of the the arteries and the heart pumps, the arteries, and then that this blood moves, th and fluids runs through the arteries and then back through the venous system where it goes into the lungs and it gets oxygenated and then back to the arterial system.
When this pressure, there’s a gradient ion, the heart is pumping. It creates a pressure when the pressure reaches what we call the capillaries or this little area. In here it starts to shift and it moves into the venous system. There’s not the pressure in the venous system to keep moving things, so there’s a pressure gradient, which means it’s coming faster in through the arterials.
As it going out through the venous system, so some of the fluid gets lost, it goes through that interstitial tissue, and then this, the green, this is the lymphatic system. It’s gonna suck it up and transport it and push it back into the system through the nodes. Here are the vessels. So this is the surface of the skin that’s picking.
The circulatory system runs parallel to the circulatory system, and the lymphatic system right here starts to grab all of the fluid that gets pushed out of the. The vessels, picks it up, cleans it through these ducks, and then sends it back. So these ducks are, no, they’re called lymphatic nodes and they look like bean shaped glands.
They look like this. And they store, they have a number of different properties and this is where. The lymphatic system interfaces with the immune system, the lymphatic system stores lymphocytes and other immune system cells that are designed to attack and destroy and filter bacteria and other harmful fluids.
Substances in the fluid. There are about 600 lymphatic nodes scattered throughout the body. Some of them are single nodes. And if you look at this image, you can see some that are single. Others are closely collected. And this is a chain. So a few of the most familiar locations of the lymph nodes are in the armpits along the clavicular area, right below the clavicle in the groin.
Area and behind the knee. So we’re gonna look at a massage later to help move that lymphatic system. And then as the fluid moves through, the vessels gets cleaned and filtered through the nodes, it comes back right at the clavicle and empties into the right lymphatic duct and the left lymphatic duct.
And these ducts, what they do is they connect to the subclavial vein, which returns the limb to the bloodstream. And then helping to do this not only helps to maintain normal blood vessel. Blood volume and pressure, but it also helps to prevent the excess of buildup of fluids and tissues, which we call edema or puffiness or swelling in the body throughout the body.
What’s interesting for us as acupuncturists is along the face, these lymph nodes gather along the jaw area. The neck and the clavicle area. And if you look at the acupuncture points, it’s around stomach five, stomach six triple warmer, 17 down the S scm triple warmer, 16 small intestine 1716 large intestine 18 large intestine 17 through stomach 12, and here it empties into.
Kidney 27. So right below kidney 27 is the primary area of drainage back into the circulatory system on the body. These lymph nodes gather again at the armpits in the elbow area, the abdominal region, the groin, and the knees. So once again, what we’re doing is we’re looking at the vessels, the flow from the venous to, from the arterial system into the venous system.
We lose a lot of the fluid here and the capillaries, and this is the interstitial tissue. So this is the blood flow, this is the loss of tissue of fluid coming out into the interstitial tissue and then gets absorbed into lymphatic capillaries. The lymphatic capillaries are more like the venous system in that they don’t have a pump, like the heart to pump the fluid.
So it really relies on an external manual manipulation to move that fluid through the vessels. There are similar to the the venous system, there are little valves. So this is the lymph, it’s the lymph gathers through the interstitial. Tissue. The fluid comes in through the limb system. There are some little nodules or valves that help to prevent back flow, but if it’s not flowing properly, what happens is you just get a buildup.
So there’s no place to go. So they, it starts to swell. The flu can’t get in, and that’s how you get swelling. And when that happens, we start to see. Decreased lympho tissue swelling, it results in pain and it feels like physical and mental fatigue, and then all sorts of illnesses related to the inability for our immune system to function properly.
It looks like this. Think of it as a fishbowl. Here’s a bowl with fish in it. And all of these fish are our cells. And when the system is working cleanly, the water is nice and clear and pure. But what happens when the lymphatic system isn’t working problem? Then you properly, then you get this, it looks like that gray, yucky, murky stuff.
So which do you want in your system? Do you want nice, healthy, clean lymphatic system or this yucky, dull, putrid lymphatic system? And it’s amazing how easy it is. To make that transition. And also how easy it is to not have poor lymphatic drainage. And so there are things that you can do on a daily basis to help have this instead of that.
So let’s take a look at some information with regard to aging, because it’s a two double-edged sword. If you have a good lymphatic system and your flow is nice and healthy and effective, then aging slows down. If you don’t, then you actually age more on the other end of that sword. As we age, our lymphatic system does slow down a little bit, and so it’s even more important as we are aging to maintain the integrity of the lymphatic system.
In this research by Shang and Capron and others what are they saying in terms of the lymphatic system aging, the diverse etiologies of age related disease from osteoarthritis to Alzheimer’s disease, all share an impairment or slow loss of tissue functioning. Aging tissue homeostasis shifts toward progressive low grade inflammation and a dampen immune system.
So this is saying that as we age organically, things start to slow down. The lymphatic vascular is the key regulator of tissue homeostasis and health and disease. So in order to maintain health, you need to have a healthy lymphatic system. Lymphatics, transports, antigens, and other macromolecules excess.
Interstitial fluid in activated immune cells during inflammation. We know this. This is what its job is according to she and colleagues. Detrimental molecular changes occur in lymphatics with age and reduced lymphatic function is a key component regulating numerous age related diseases. Interesting. Because when we look from our T C M perspective, our team perspective, traditional Eastern Asian medicine, when we look at some of these illnesses, what we’re calling this is phlegm and blood stasis.
So you think of the lymphatic system, it’s job is to clear infection and keep the fluids in balance. And when it’s not working properly, those fluids build up in tissues and cause swelling or lymphedema. And then what happens is it starts to back up. This is what we’re calling our phlegm. It’s that inability of fluid to move that gathers and gets stuck.
It’s also when things don’t move. Think of the yin and yang chiam blood, the blood moving with cheek. She blocks can’t move. The blood starts to stagnate and then you get blood stasis. And when you look at some of the top aging conditions in Chinese medicine, hearing loss, cataracts, macular degeneration, dry eyes, Alzheimer’s, poor memory, brain fogginess, dizziness, maculas, dry skin, itching, numbness, and hair loss.
These are all from both a Chinese medicine perspective, but also an Western medical. Perspective Western medicine being portly, drainage, Chinese medicine, phlegm and blood stasis. They’re all the same. And so one backs up the other here there are a number of different techniques for making a difference for moving lymphatic drainage.
Remembering that it needs some type of manual manipulation, either acupressure. Massage or manual lymphatic drainage. And when you look at the manual lymphatic drainage research, because that seems to be the most prevalent there’s a great literature search of 30 years starting from 1989 to 2019, so 20 years.
Of study 20 studies that met inclusion criteria of identifying different effects of manual lymphatic drainage. What research has found was that the manual lymphatic drainage has been shown to help with symptoms and conditions beyond edema and lymphedema. Mainly fatigue and pain tolerance. So isn’t that interesting that a lot of our idiopathic pain symptoms could actually be related to the lymphatic system and a number of brain fog and fatigue could also be related to poor drainage.
And according to the authors, this study suggests that mld or manual lymphatic drainage can be used INSYS symptomatic treatment of various diseases like. Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and a number of other various systems. 2022 study explored the integrative therapies for managing fatigue associated with long covid.
So here we go. Here’s another one. Long Covid found that the student that study participants who had face-to-face treatment sessions with parent technique practitioners, along with daily self massage and gentle mobility exercises. An approximate 50% reduction in subscale scores of fatigue. The parent technique is based on the theory that different stress factors, whether they’re physical or allergies or emotional.
Or infections lead to an over strain in the sympathetic nervous system. So their job is to as manual lymphatic drainage with this particular system. They use, they look at the nervous system. And the overload of the nervous system and the buildup of toxins and fluids around the brain and the spinal cord.
So a lot of their techniques work on massage in the brain area and also along the spinal cord, as well as opening up the lymph nodes. So again, here we go again. Look at the symptoms related to long covid fatigue, palpitations, dizziness, sleep disturbances, fever. Pain, joint and muscle pain, chest pain or tightness, stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, loss of type, brain fog again, headaches, numbness and tingling delirium.
We look at that in terms of dizziness, not dementia. Depression or anxiety, sore throat, loss of taste or smell earaches are tend, so all of this information is leading to the same thing that whether it’s on a physical level, a mental level, or an emotional level or pain related on all of these levels.
Are all affected and affect the lymphatic system. There are, we are gonna go through a small lymphatic drainage technique. So just to general safety, although it’s generally safe, if you have a high risk of blood clots, congestive heart failure, kidney disease, any type of active lymphatic infection or swelling of a night cause.
You may just wanna watch, not participate. And again, I would check this out with your physician to see if these would be precautions or contraindications or actually helpful for some of these conditions. So when we look at supporting the lymphatic system with massage, let’s just do this. We’re gonna start with the points right below kidney 27 and stomach 10.
So if you place your fingers on the chest bone right at these right below the clavicular head, We’re gonna find this area and we’re just gonna massage it with our hands. So medium pressure. Just massage this area. So what are we doing? We’re opening up the flow in the Subclavial area. The big filtering system because if this is clogged, you’re not gonna be able to move things through.
Interestingly enough, when you’re massaging this area and keep massaging ’em, I notice that because I get spring allergies and here we are is, I’m starting to swallow a little, I feel like a little fluid building up in my throat, which is good. That’s a good sign. And then just give this little tap.
Okay. Tap and then we’re gonna move to the jaw line. So I’m actually gonna take my fingers and just massage around the jaw area like this, moving from CV 23 and four, and then five, stomach, five and six. So along the jaw, just give it a little bit of massage with medium pressure so that we can stimulate that fluid so you can go from back to front.
Front to back, let’s go from front to back and then you can just slide down the SM back to that clavicular head area. And then we’re gonna try the neck area. So let’s just put our fingers at the back of our neck from reaching from bladder 10, gallbladder 20, amnion triple heater, 17, and just massage.
Along the neck area. Good. Great. Good massage. See if we can get that fluid to move and then I always slide back, bring it back to that area below, kidney 27. Okay. And then armpits. So we’re gonna lift our arms. You can do it at the same time or under, or one at a time. Just take your thumb and put it in the lung one, lung two area, and then reach under the armpit like this and just give it a little massage.
Good. And do one side
and the other. Lung one, lung, two, heart, one, spleen, twenties, stomach, small intestine. 19, this whole area. Great. Good job everybody. And little tap. Now we’re gonna go to the elbow so you can bend your elbow and a 90 degree angle. And we’re just gonna give it a little bit of a massage. At the large intestine.
11 part three, lung five, pericardium six.
I’m gonna do both sides.
There you go,
Okay, now you’re not gonna be able to see this, but in the inguinal groove, in the groin area, same place. So the large intestine, 11 lung five heart sorry. Spleen 12, stomach 30 to 31. Liver, 10 to 11 area. Just gonna give it a little bit of a massage.
Great. And then behind the knee bladder 54.
Good job. All right, so you can do this several times a day. I know that I come from Florida and drive to New York and imagine you think of these point, these areas where the joints are. So yeah, I’m sitting in a car with my knees bent in a 90 degree angle. So bladder 54 is locked. My in green groove area is locked, and I have my hands on the steering wheel and I’m clenching my.
Neck area because I’m constantly paying attention to driving and you’re just sitting there. But after three days of driving, I’m exhausted. And then I remember, oh gosh, my lymphatic system didn’t really flow because you don’t really. Drink too much in case you have to pee. You don’t wanna have to keep stopping.
This is just a really quick for me, A reminder was, oh, lymphatic drainage. Or if you’re sitting at the desk and you are worse studying or doing a lot of computer work, guess what? You’re in the same position. You’re in, Guino area is locked, your knees are bent, your arms are up. You probably, are hyper focused.
So your jaw area might be a little tighter. Again, this is such a simple thing. It took us less than five minutes, and it makes a huge difference on your physical health, your mental health, your emotional health, and just remembering that when you feel good, you look good. And. When you feel good, you’re also nicer person.
And so I think, just a five minutes of lymphatic drainage a day makes a better you and a better world. I hope this helps and thank you very much for being a part for paying. Listening to this, thank you again to the American Acupuncture Council. If you want more information about me, Instagram at Shellie Goldstein, and then my website is hampton acupuncture.com.
You can learn about me more, things that I do, classes that I teach, and programs that I’m involved with. So have a wonderful day. Don’t forget to do your, I’ll do your little lymphatic drainage massage, and we will see you again. All righty. Bye-bye.