Inflammation is the body’s innate way of providing acute healing to an area of the body. When this persists on a low level throughout the body, it can do much more harm than good.

Chronic inflammation can create many symptoms such as – allergies, skin rashes, pain, insomnia, migraines, food allergies. Chronic inflammation also sets the stage for many serious age-related diseases, such as autoimmune diseases, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, heart disease, and cancer.

Stress and Inflammation

When a person is exposed to prolonged stress, the sympathetic nervous system produces cortisol to meet the demand. This creates an inflammatory response and elevated cortisol levels spark inflammatory reactions that diminish immune system function.

A research team led by Carnegie Mellon University’s Sheldon Cohen has found that chronic psychological stress is associated with the body losing its ability to regulate the inflammatory response. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the research shows for the first time that the effects of psychological stress on the body’s ability to regulate inflammation can promote the development and progression of the disease.

Cohen found that experiencing a prolonged stressful event was associated with the inability of immune cells to respond to hormonal signals that normally regulate inflammation. It has also been found that neuropeptides in the Immune system that mediate stress also mediate inflammation. Immuno-neuropeptides may be involved in underlying processes in the development of, and the responses to, acute and chronic inflammation.

Lymphatic System and Inflammation

When the lymphatic system is compromised, chronic inflammation occurs.

The lymphatic system is responsible for eliminating wastes and can be described as the garbage system of the body. When the lymphatic system does not function effectively inflammation and stagnation occur. Lymph stagnation is the result of a poor diet, poor elimination, stress, fatigue, and overwork.

Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) is a gently rhythmical massage performed by a trained lymph therapist to detoxify and cleanse the connective tissue. This therapy flushes toxins and inflammatory wastes from the tissues. MLD can help to reduce inflammation by reducing inflammatory cytokines.

Neuropeptides in the Immune System: Mediators of Stress and Inflammation. Available from: [accessed Sep 24 2018].

The lymphatic system is important and plays a vital role in the body. It is responsible for the following:

  • Immunity – Supports your immunity by noticing and dealing with pathogens and cancer cells.
  • Fluid Balance – Rids your body of waste and fluids by running parallel to your circulatory system and maintaining your body’s fluid balance.
  • Nutrient Absorption – Absorbs fats, fat-soluble vitamins, and proteins from your intestine, where you have intestinal lymph nodes.
  • Reducing inflammation.

A sluggish lymphatic system is not unusual in our modern times due to nutrient-poor diets and lack of exercise.

Symptoms of stagnant lymph or lymphatic system problems can include:

  • Swelling of legs, hands, feet, and can happen in your arms
  • Pain – this could include fibromyalgia, painful fat
  • The sensation of heaviness in your legs or limbs
  • Fat disorders, like lipedema or Dercum’s disease
  • Circulatory problems (including venous insufficiency, spider veins, varicose veins)
  • Edema.

Book a session of lymphatic massage with one of our experts and caring lymphedema therapists.

Linda Anne Kahn CLT-LANA NCBTMB CMT is the director and founder of Lymphatic Therapy Services and Beauty Kliniek in San Diego California.