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 Qigong and Taiji: The Lymph 

Not only is the formula for oxidative phosphoylation the basis of chemical energy production but it is a primary source of lymph fluid production as well. Therefore, Qigong and Yoga practices can increase the amount of lymph which serves as the fluid carrier for endogenous waste products as well as exogenous pathogenic factors. In this context the metabolizing cells are continually contributing pure H2O into the interstitial spaces.

This water, then, is the vehicle of transport for metabolic by-products into the lymph vessels. From the tissue spaces it is propelled, as lymph, to the immunopotent nodal treatment sites and finally to the elimination organs via the blood. Increasing body movement and activating the breath potentially accelerate O2 absorption which generates more H2O and increases the volume of lymph fluid which enhances the removal of the by products of metabolism and pathogenic factors.

2. Lymph Propulsion
The blood circulatory system has the powerful heart muscle to propel it's fluid. The lymph, however, under the same 14.7 pounds per square inch of gravitational pressure, has no distinct heart in humans. The quest for a "lymph heart" added little to the traditional ideas of propulsion until the mid 1900's when studies of birds and reptiles revealed specific lymph hearts.(43). In humans, however, the propulsion of lymph was found to be carried out by an assembly of several mechanisms. The movement of lymph against gravity is accomplished with the help of a system of vessels that are liberally equipped with one way valves. It was known that the lymph was somehow pumped forward and upward enabling the valves to prevent it from flowing back with gravity.

Even as late as 1941 several important aspects of the lymph heart concept in humans remained obscure.(44) By 1949 spontaneous intrinsic pulsatory contraction of the peripheral lymphatic vessels was demonstrated in humans with a rythem unassociated with either the heart or the breath.(45,46) This intrinsic contractility mechanism of the peripheral lymphatics was seen by many as the long sought after lymph heart.(40)

The subject of the lymph is complex and very much unsettled. The current literature is crowded with a wide range of questions raised by research. What factors might stimulate the intrinsic contractile mechanism, what regulates lymph protein concentration, what effect does passage through the lymph nodes have on the proliferation of immune cells from within the nodes(47) and what is the nutrative role of the lymph(41) are several such questions.

Due to the excitement over the intrinsic pumping mechanism, the effect on the lymph of one of the classic propulsion mechanisms, the activity of the respiratory apparatus, was eclipsed. The breath, through two mechanisms, has a significant effect on the propulsion of the lymph: 1). aerobic production of water and 2). mechanical pumping of the breath apparatus. These will likely gain recognition as primary components of the multiple features of the lymph heart. A number of additional propulsive mechanisms are initiated by body movement and body posture.

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 About The Author
Roger Jahnke OMDRoger Jahnke has been in the health field since 1967 beginning with body therapies, herbal medicine, Tai Chi, Yoga and meditation. He turned his attention seriously to Oriental medicine in 1972 with study at the North......more
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