Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Portrait of Hydration , Hydration as it Pertains to Massage

By Anna Johnston

Hydration is important to health on many levels, It contributes smoothness to our tissue, hydrates our mucosa in various places, our interstitial fluid is profoundly relevant for the proper functions of our internal organs, brain function and the way our plasma is distributed throughout the body.

Many times neglected, one of the most basic needs of our bodies transport system, hydration takes place between the tiny capillaries embedded within our tissues and the cells of the tissue itself.
Blind end tubes begin in the interstitial compartment.  These one cell thick capillaries allow fluid from the interstitial space to move freely into them.  They branch off and flow through the tissue much like a tributary of a river, or the branches of a tree, finally flowing into precollectors and collectors.  They have one way valves at regular intervals that prevent back flow.

Large drainage areas are called lymphotomes.  They drain the regional areas into a local lymph node.  Fluid is screened at the nodes by lymphocytes and foreign substances are destroyed. These vessels drain into ducts, which eventually drain into major veins in our bodies.
The rhythmic pace of our lymph is about 5-8 contractions per minute, this can vary widely depending on whatever we happen to be doing at the moment. Obviously exercise and massage greatly increase the circulation, though some factors of lymph circulation we have no control over, such as hormonal changes or chemicals in our environment and swelling.
By volume we are composed of two thirds water.  The lack thereof can contribute to adhesion's in muscle tissue.  Adhesion's and  scar tissue can also impede the flow of interstitial fluid in our bodies.

Moving tissue through massage, warming up this extracellular matrix or fascia is paramount in effecting  positive changes.  Without this, no change or movement can take place.

Once warmed properly the collagen matrix resembles more of a gel, allowing for ease of movement.  Breaking up the collagen matrix gets the hydration to many a needy spaces within the body. Bringing homeostasis a little closer to our tissues through renewed blood and lymph flow.

Breaking up areas of stagnation, increasing circulation is all the more reason to continue on hydrating the body to flush out the toxins we've just released.  When you experience local swelling within your body, due to a cut or trauma, the swelling is your bodies way of trying to replace the pressure lost at the point of injury.  Our interstitial fluid maintains a consistent tension or pressure on the lymphatic vessels.  It's easy to overlook the importance of hydration, that is until your really dehydrated.


SWELL Fascia as a Sponge By Thomas Myers  Massage Magazine 2012 November

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Scallan J Huxley VH, Korthuis RJ. San Rafal, CA.
Morgan & Claypool life Sciences 2010.

Massage Therapy.Com By Kalyani Premkumar Dec/Jan 2005.