Ian Itec Masseur Central London

Holborn near Kings Cross & City of London (+44) 07400590550 / 07378632350

Month: May 2016

Bolster your lymphatic system through massage

massage London sportsWhat exactly is the body’s lymph or lymphatic system? If you have ever had a wound that had clear fluid coming out of it, then you have witnessed your lymph system in action. The lymphatic system is a subsystem of both the circulatory and immune system. It plays a vital role in maintaining health because all the other systems in the body depend on it to clear toxins, wastes, bacteria, fat globules and infection from the body. The word “lymphatic” comes from the Latin word “lymphaticus,” meaning “connected to water.” The fluid is clear or milky white in color, and can be found throughout your body. In fact, there is more lymph fluid in the body than blood! Because we are exposed to so many synthetic chemicals, processed foods and environmental toxins, the lymph system gets overloaded. When this happens, the cells that rely on the lymph system for elimination become less efficient and sluggish as they fill with their own waste. This can lead to many health problems, and can even impair your ability to lose weight.

Our lymph system is made of white blood cells called lymphocytes, and the interstitial fluid that bathes our cells, bringing our cells nutrients and removing their waste. All detoxification occurs first and foremost through the lymph. The system is comprised of lymph capillaries, lymph-collecting vessels, lymph nodes and the lymph ducts. If you have ever been to the doctor’s office with “swollen glands,” those are actually your lymph nodes. (Contrary to popular belief, endocrine glands do not actually swell.) The nodes fill with lymph fluid to fight off infection.

Did you know that anything you put on your skin gets into your bloodstream? This means it also has to go through the lymph system. In fact, the reason why tattoos fade is because most of the ink ends up in the lymph system. With this in mind, It is very important to pay attention to the chemicals we absorb through the skin, as they all have to go through our lymph system, which can create toxic buildup over time. This ultimately leads to illness, dysfunction and disease.

The lymphatic system also has a strong line of defense in the gut. The digestive tract is one of the main pathways for offensive substances, including bacteria, allergens, heavy metals, molds, fungi, chemicals and trans fats. Did you know that when you eat something it has to go through the lymphatic system? It protects us by checking to make sure what we are putting in our bodies is safe. The lymphatic capillaries in the gastrointestinal tract are one of the main routes for fats to be absorbed. So you can see how cleaning this system out is very beneficial for people who want to lose weight and be healthy.

Since the lymphatic system does not have a central pump like the heart, it depends on other factors, like muscular contraction, movement, pressure changes, spontaneous contraction of lymph vessels and external factors, such as massage and gravity. Jumping on a trampoline, swimming, deep belly breathing and massage therapy are some of the best things you can do in your daily life to activate this system.

Massage promotes healthy functioning of your lymph system by directly stimulating and relaxing your muscles. It flushes metabolic wastes and helps distribute nutrients to the body. Normally, 1.5 to 3 liters of lymph fluid are drained each day. Massage increases this up to 10 to 30 liters per day. Massage therapy also creates a response within the body that affects the cardiovascular system, lymphatic system and immune system. Massage increases the count and function of white blood cells, thereby strengthening the immune system. In addition to professional massage, there are massage techniques you can incorporate in your daily life to stimulate the lymphatic system. For example: After showering, the next step is generally to towel dry. This is an excellent opportunity to do a little lymphatic massage. Dry yourself in the direction toward your heart. Starting with the legs (front and back), use light pressure and dry upwards toward the heart. Again, drying toward the heart, go to the arms, neck and torso (front and back). Do the same protocol when applying after shower lotion or oil. This may take a bit of conditioning to get use to, but the benefits are worth it! The important thing is to remember to use light pressure! Seventy percent of the lymphatic vessels are located just underneath the skin. If you use too much pressure, you bypass these vessels (more than 5 grams of pressure can temporarily collapse the lymph vessels). So, the lighter the touch, the more powerful the effect on the lymphatic system. Secondly, you’re not gliding across the skin. Rather, you’re very lightly stretching the skin. The lymphatic vessels are attached to the skin with small elastic fibers. When you stretch the skin, you’re manually pumping the lymphatic vessels simultaneously.

Why Am I Sore After A Massage?

Why Am I Sore After A MassageEyes open slowly, blinking periodically to adjust for a new day. A deep breath is taken while your limbs stretch out, and that’s when you feel it. It’s the day after your massage, and when you roll out of bed you wonder to yourself, “Did I work out yesterday? Did I lift weights in my sleep?” Your muscles feel a little sore, and some seem a bit swollen, almost like they’re bruised. You’re even a little more tired than usual. You think that surely something must be wrong. This soreness couldn’t possibly be a result from your massage . . . could it? Didn’t you schedule your massage with the hope that your tight and tender spots would feel some relief afterwards?

Before you reach for the phone to give your massage therapist an early morning, “What did you do to me?” know that it is perfectly normal for your body to feel a little sore and out-of-whack the day after a massage, as counter-intuitive as it seems. For your muscles, getting a deep-tissue massage is similar to experiencing a tough workout. They got stretched and manipulated during the session, and the massage increased blood circulation to your tight spots. The lining of our muscles is supposed to be smooth, and work fluidly. When a certain group of muscles gets tight, strained or kinked, it becomes more rigid, and will rely on surrounding muscle areas to pitch in and help. During a massage, the therapist works to stretch, lengthen, and break up groups of muscles (commonly known as knots), possibly causing tiny micro tears in the muscle along the way. This is a normal function of massage, and while it leads to more blood flow and healing to that area, it can also lead to that day-after tenderness. Also, if you happen to be dehydrated on the day of your massage, your muscle tissue will not be as pliable, and you will feel more soreness afterwards.

If your muscles actually hurt more than they did before, and are not just tender to the touch, be sure to communicate this to your massage therapist before your next appointment. Perhaps a muscle was worked on too hard, too fast. Or, perhaps you are unknowingly tightening a group of muscles during a massage, anticipating pain. It can take some serious concentration to relax all of your muscles, and not doing so can result in varied muscle pain after a massage.

After your massage that same day, there are some easy, pleasant things you can do to help prevent some of the next-day soreness:

Be purposeful about your water intake, both before and after your appointment. As mentioned above, hydrated muscles are more flexible. Also, there are some strongly-held beliefs that drinking water after a massage can help to flush away the toxins released by massage. Staying hydrated is never a bad idea, and after before or after a massage session is no different.

Do some gentle stretching that evening, paying special attention to your trouble spots that received the most attention during your massage.

Take a warm bath, ideally with Epsom salts (1/2 cup to 1 cup for adults), and soak for 20-40 minutes. Epsom salts are an inexpensive and effective way to further help your body rid itself of toxins and reduce muscle inflammation. You also get the added bonus of absorbing the beneficial magnesium found in Epsom salts through your skin.