In the current climate of a world pandemic, it’s crucial that we understand as individuals what we can do to optimize our health, whether we come into contact with COVID-19 or not. For the purposes of detoxification and optimal health, the fascia is to the lymphatics what the heart is to the vascular system!
To understand the function of the lymphatics, we must first appreciate the complexity of our vascular system at a cellular level. Arteries terminate at the capillary bed where oxygen and nutrient rich blood leaks out of the smallest arteries (arterioles) and bathes our tissues in fluid. The smallest veins, or venules, collect most of this nutrient-depleted fluid, returning it to the heart to start the process over again. 10% of the fluid however, which contains large protein molecules, cannot pass through the small holes in the venules and must be removed from our tissues by our lymphatics.
This protein rich fluid contains dead cells, bacteria, toxins and inflammatory components. Once collected by the lymphatic vessels, the fluid, now called “lymph,” is transported back towards the heart through a series of one-way valves. The lymphatic fluid then flows through “lymph nodes” which contain immune system cells that kill off harmful micro-organisms like viruses and bacteria contained in the lymphatic fluid. The lymphatic system, in essence, “cleans” the space between the cells of potentially harmful molecules and fluids.
Helen Langevin, a professor at Harvard Medicine and University of Vermont, and author of multiple research papers investigating fascia, considers that fascia, or connective tissue, is really the home of the immune system spread (Langevin et al., 2016; Schierling, 2017). The lymphatic channels run through fascia. When fascia is healthy – well hydrated and “slippery” – the lymph fluid moves through its surrounds easily. Per se, the immune cells within the lymph fluid are able to fight infections and subsequently, reduce inflammation (Schierling, 2017).
Happy fascia is well-hydrated and is moved often (including bouncing movements). So as well as implementing all the recommendations for protecting yourself against Corona Virus, give some consideration to your fascial tissue.