Every part of the body depends on a continuos flow of
blood. The vital body fluid has several essential functions.
Firstly, blood is a transport system picking oxygen from the
lungs and delivering it to tissues by means of red cells. Most
activities t take place inside the cells are totally dependent
upon oxygen, which ensures their survival a continual regeneration.
Secondly, blood transports and delivers white blood cells,
which are the vital components of our immune system. This system
defends us against invasion by bacteria, parasites and other
harmful substances. The blood is also constituted so as to prevent
uncontrolled haemorrhage when an injury occurs.
Thirdly, blood picks up from our digestive system the nutrients
which are produced by the food we eat, and carries off waste
products to the kidneys and liver for removal and neutral-izing.
It does the same with certain hormones, which exert control over
many of the body's physical and chemical activities. The blood
collects the hormones from glands and delivers
them to the cells.
Fourthly, blood distributes heat from the centre to the periphery
of the body. This is essential in order to maintain body temperature
and a stable internal environment, in which the tissues of the
body can function efficiently.
The Lymphatic System
This is best considered as a subsidiary of the circulatory
system because, although it has its
separate channels, the lymphatic system. It carries a fluid (
lymph ) containing nutrients, oxygen and white blood cells to
body tissues and takes waste matter away from the cells and closely
follows the same pathways as the circulatory system.The lymphatic
system is widely distributed within the body in numerous lymph
nodes, commonly referred to as lymph glands. The tiny transparent
lymph vessels, which carry the lymph, resemble veins. They also
help to manufacture and store antibodies that are so vital for
neutralizing or destroying harmful micro-organisms.
By conveying lymph around the body, the lymphatic system plays
a vital part in the maintenance of the immune system, helping
to prevent and fight infection.
We usually become aware of the lymphatic system when lymph nodes
swollen, particularly in the neck, armpits, groin and behind
the knees, due to over-activity or infection.
Because the lymph fluid is not circulated through the action
of the heart, exercise and
massage are very useful ways to maintain a healthy flow and enhance
Complaints of the circulatory system can range from the uncomfortable,
such as chilblains and cramp, to the more serious, such as high
blood pressure. Massage is valuable in helping to ease some of
the following complaints.
This poor circulation problem is always at its most distressing
following exposure to winter cold spells. It is characterized
by localized swelling and inflammation of the hands, fingers,
feet and toes, accompanied by intense itching and burning sensations.
Massage by warming the body and stimulating circulation helps
to avoid or soothe chilblains, but the feet and hand massages
are particularly helpful. The essential oils of ginger
and rosemary stimulate the circulation; whilst chamomile
and lavender help to ease the inflammation.
This painful muscular spasm can occur during or after exercise;
or following repetitive movements; or even during the night.
It is caused by a build-up of lactic acids and other chemicals
in the muscles or the loss of sodium salts through sweating or
Cramp is relieved by massage, using gliding and deep kneading
strokes, and self-help stretching exercises, which increase circulation
to the painful part, often experienced in the calf muscles. Use
the essential oil of lavender to improve circulation and
High blood pressure
When blood reaches the parts of the body that need it, it has
to be at the right pressure. Too much pressure (high blood pressure)
can have an adverse effect on a variety of different organs and
functions of the body. If this condition is caused mainly by
stress and tension, massage certainly helps by relaxing the muscles
and allowing the blood to flow more freely.
The main aim when soothing high blood pressure is relaxation.
Massage, using gentle, rhythmic strokes, concentrates on the
hands and feet , and the neck, head and face Use calming essential
oils, such as lavender, neroli, chamomile or orange peel.
This problem, more commonly referred to as fluid retention, is
often created by poor lymph drainage, and is frequently accompanied
by inflammation and swelling. It can also be caused by rheumatic
and arthritic conditions; ageing; and injury. Both 'water on
the knee', or swollen ankles, for example, are really oedema.
Massage with the diuretic essential oils of lavender,
fennel or juniper.
When this is characterized by excessively hot and red extremities
(hands and feet), treat with a massage which particularly concentrates
on the hands and feet, using 100 ml (4 tablespoons) of base oil
to which you add one drop each of cooling essential oils, such
as lavender, vetiver and cypress.
When characterized by cold and pale extremities, particularly
common during winter months, treat with a similar massage as
above, adding one drop each of rosemary, ginger
and cypress to 100 ml (4 tablespoons) of base oil. If
you also suffer from high blood pressure, avoid rosemary.
Vitamin supplements, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, bioflavonoid
(vitamin P), and rutin (a glycoside obtained from buck-wheat),
help to improve poor circulation. Ask your doctor or health shop
to advise you on the correct dosages for your condition.
This fluid-retention problem is exacerbated by a sedentary lifestyle;
travelling, especially when legs are confined; premenstrual tension;
pregnancy; ageing, particularly among the inactive; or injury,
such as insect bites and sprains.
Use a circulatory oil like cypress or lavender
and a diuretic like juniper or fennel. Avoid the
use of juniper if you are pregnant.
These enlarged, blue, twisted veins are most commonly seen on
the backs of the calves and the insides of the leg. They are
made worse by poor circulation and prolonged standing. Aching,
swelling of the feet and itchy skin results.
Massage helps to prevent varicose veins by stimulating and encouraging
good circulation. If they already exist, do not massage directly
over the top of the varicose vein area. Instead, massage
the feet and legs using light effleurage (stroking), and avoiding
petrissage (squeezing, kneading, wringing and pummelling) strokes.
Lavender, vetiver and cypress are perfect
oils for this massage.
Those that improve circulation and can be used for all the
aboveailments are Spleen 6 (SP 6), Spleen 10 (SP 10), and
Pericardium 6 (PE 6)
Check the videos on leg and arms massage as those techniques can greatly help circulation