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 Qigong and Taiji: The Lymph 

Simultaneously, when the diaphragm drops downward on full inspiration it compresses the abdominal and pelvic organs including the cisterna chyli which empties under the pressure. The contents of the lymphoid reserviors and vessels are forced by the same one way system of valves upward toward the thoracic duct. In research done by Dr. Jack Shields (49) moving X-ray films were used to study subjects in various actions and breath patterns. It was demonstrated that deep inspiration pumps the lymph at a rate that is dramatically increased over average resting inspiration and other activities.

3. Immune Function
The immunoactive aspect of the lymphatic system is well represented in the literature.(42,44,47,50) The bone marrow, thymus, spleen and lymph nodes participate in the interaction of the lymph and immunity. The composition of the lymph fluid itself includes a number of immune active agents such as lymphocytes and macrophages.(47)

Lymphocytes that exit with the lymph fluid from the nodes come from three sources: 1) inflowing with lymph from the tissues in the peripheral vessels, 2) exchanged from the blood that enters the node's own vascular system and 3) formed by local proliferation in the node itself.(42) Lymphocytes naturally collect within the node, especially when flow is sluggish. Greater numbers proliferate when lymph flow is greater and the numbers circulated out of the node increase with flow volume as well.(42)

Excellent recent research has clearly delineated, localized and quantified the development of specific antibody forming cells in lymph nodes.(50) In addition, it has been found that there are neurotransmitter receptor sites on lymphocytes where they actually interface with neurotransmitters.(51) This demonstrates an important link between neurochemistry and immunity through the medium of the lymph system.

4. Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF)
The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) system has classically been perceived as a closed system. One view held that CSF was actually in an open system that allowed the fluid to flow through the aracnoid villi and into the venous blood. However, by the 1970's it was generally acknowledged that the CSF travels along the cranial and spinal nerves and into the perineural lymphatics.(52)

Some recent research using the microinjection of tracers has suggested several possible pathways for the passage of both the CSF and the cerebral interstitial fluid (CIF) to exit the aracnoid space.(42) By 1985 the flow of CSF and CIF into the lymphatics was well documented.(42) Consideration has even been given to the effects of pressure and posture on this flow(42), both of which are primary effects that are enhanced in Qi Gong and Yoga/Pranayama practice.

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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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