Most of our clients are pretty familiar with fascia: the spiderweb-like sheets that wrap over and around and through every structure of our bodies. We’ve seen in our own healing processes how restriction in the fascia can produce our symptoms. Many of my clients have also learned about the lymphatic system: the body’s ‘vacuum cleaner’, which assists the circulatory system and is a key part of our immune system. But what happens when these two systems intersect?
I often like to say that there are no dividing lines in the body. Usually, I’m referring to the idea that, internally, our body doesn’t differentiate between ‘left’ and ‘right’ or ‘front’ and ‘back’. Fascial restriction on one side can produce symptoms on the opposite side. But the same can also be said of any of the systems of the body. In this case, the fascia is a key structural component of our bodies, but at the same time it is also part of a fluid environment. This means it both affects and is affected by the fluid dynamics of the lymph.
A favorite analogy I often use to describe how important it is to consider both the fascia and the lymph is to think of a garden hose. Imagine that your hose has gotten kinked and folded over on itself, and someone is standing on it: you’re not going to get much water going through it. If you straighten out the kinks but leave the foot on the hose, the flow will improve, but it won’t be 100%. If you take the foot off the hose, but leave the kinks in place, the same will be true. You’ll get the best results if you do both, and that’s how I think of the combination of lymphatic drainage and myofascial release therapy. In my example, I like to think of the myofascial release as taking the foot off the hose, while the lymphatic therapy is smoothing out the kinks.
Fascial restrictions can pretty obviously lead to slower lymphatic function: many of the lymph vessels are small and can easily be affected by structural changes. But the opposite can also be true: lymphatic congestion and stagnation can lead to fibrosity in the tissue, creating dense, thick areas that prevent free fascial glide. It’s sort of a ‘which came first: the chicken or the egg’ situation: one leads to the other, which re-creates the first. In treatment, it really doesn’t matter which came first, because we need to treat the whole.
By dovetailing myofascial release and lymph drainage therapy together, we can both smooth out the kinks and take the foot off the garden hose. Treating both the solid structural components and the dynamic fluid elements gets us the best results and the most improvement in overall function.
To learn more about lymphatic drainage or to schedule a session with Kristin to experience this therapy, call Natural Balance Therapy at 262.746.9090.