Light Therapy & The Lymphatic System

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While you may have heard of the lymphatic system, it’s something that few people truly understand; however, it’s an important part of the human body that is essential to our health.

The lymphatic system is part of the circulatory and immune systems, and  comprises a network of lymphatic vessels that carry a clear liquid called lymph to the heart. 

Why is it important you may ask? Well, for many reasons. 

The lymphoid tissue associated with the lymphatic system performs immune functions for the body's defense against infections and the spread of tumors. It consists of connective tissue through which the lymph passes, formed by reticular fibers, containing various leukocytes, mainly lymphocytes.

Among the jobs the lymphatic system has, it includes: 

  • Protecting your body from illness-causing invaders
  • Maintaining body fluid levels
  • Absorbing digestive tract fats
  • Removing cellular waste

As you can see, the role the lymphatic system plays is very important. However, blockages, diseases, or infections can affect your lymphatic system's function, all of which creates lymphatic dysfunction in the body.

A common issue that arises from lymphatic dysfunction is lymphedema. Lymphedema causes swelling in your arms or legs. Your fingers or toes can retain fluid and swell, and even the tissues of the head and neck can become affected, too. Lymphedema can then lead to skin changes, skin discoloration, blisters, fluid leakages from the skin, and infection.

Another problem that occurs when our lymphatic system isn't doing its job is infection. Infection may cause swollen lymph nodes because the lymph nodes are inflamed. In certain situations, the lymph nodes, themselves, can become infected (which is called lymphadenitis) by organisms that spread through the lymphatic system from the original infection site. Our body is left without its protection, making it susceptible to disease.

When the lymphatic system doesn't work optimally, it has a more difficult time in receiving the fluids carried by the venous system, which then accumulates in the space between the lower skin wall and the upper part of the muscles, causing a pressure higher than what should be with normal conditions.

Due to this excessive pressure, there’s the risk of weakening the fibers that allow the skin and muscles not to overly expand. If this happens, edema will form with consequent swelling. 

The swelling initially grows slowly and generally causes no pain. It can affect only one limb or multiple limbs. The symptoms of lymphedema include the change in the color of the skin on the area affected by the edema and the constant sensation of heaviness of the limb, as well as itching. 

None of this sounds like a walk in the park. However, light therapy can help improve sympathetic drainage to prevent swelling. 

What is light therapy, and how does it work, again? Light therapy is a non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical treatment that focuses on improving the body’s overall health. Depending on the color of light, whether it’s from a lamp, box, or mask, each color has specific health benefits. Red light therapy is usually anti-inflammatory, blue helps with bacteria that cause acne, and the benefits of white light therapy include enhanced mood and help offsetting sleep disorders. However, all work to rejuvenate the body on a cellular level. 

With light therapy, your cells become regenerated with each session. The reproduction of cells is accelerated, creating an entirely new set of cells that carries on to reproduce younger and stronger ones. ATP, which fuels our body, is released – giving us a healthier, more efficient organism. 

Five trials were reviewed on light therapy’s benefit on lymph, which ultimately concluded that there was moderate to strong evidence for light therapy treatments' effectiveness in the management of lymphatic issues. In 2012, four trials found that LED light therapy showed favorable results in reducing limb volume in those managing lymphedema. 

Overall, light therapy can help the lymphatic system by improving drainage, restoring normal lymphatic activity, and reducing swelling. Light therapy increased lymphangiogenesis and decreased inflammation in animal studies, as well. 

Typically, the only way to improve the lymphatic system is by keeping hydrated, eating clean, and lymphatic massage; but, light therapy now provides additional lymphatic support via non-invasive at-home treatments. 

At Kaiyan, we’re proud to produce MDA-certified and FDA-approved light therapy devices that help people live healthier, more balanced lives. This means you or your patients have the liberty of treating your body with a non-pharmaceutical and non-invasive treatment that's side-effect free. It’s simple and safe to use and Kaiyan products are perfect to use as at-home or in-clinic treatments to improve well-being and quality of life for everyone.