A Watershed is an imaginary line that divides the body and the Lymphatic System into quadrants.
Each quadrant has its lymphatic liquid collection canal, and the lower quadrant, as per the two legs, sends the liquid to the cisterna kili, a gland that sits deep behind the belly button that is connected to the upper left duct within the upper left quadrant.
What the watershed division looks like?
The main watersheds are four.
A vertical one divides the body into two equal vertical halves.
The other three lines are horizontal and parallel to each other.
The top runs along the clavicle, the second runs through the belly button, and the third and last runs on top of the iliac crest.
In doing so, we have six quadrants, two uppers, two medial and two lower.
The importance of watersheds.
As we dig more and more within the functionality of the Lymphatic System and MLD as a Lymphatic Drainage technique, we can see that in these specific quadrants, there are bundles of Lymph nodes that get loaded from the lymph vessels connected to it.
So the watershed division allows having the liquid directed to a specific body area where lymph nodes are found. Indeed, the lymph nodes are the ones that do the cleanup of the lymph liquid, also called obligatory lymph load.
When we do a treatment, we have to make sure where we direct the liquid because we want to ensure that the lymph liquid gets sent to the lymph nodes, to be processed and then transferred to the lymph/vein duct at the high of the cervical area.
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The upper watershed and the duct.
After the obligatory lymph load reaches the upper watershed (the one running along the clavicle), it gets passed to the venous system.
This happens after the obligatory lymph load travels with the trunk collector and passes through the duct.
The duct is the last portion of the lymph trunk that connects to the venous system.
In conclusion, we want to specify that the lower quadrants (R leg and L leg) and the upper L quadrant drain in the L thoracic duct within the L subclavian vein.
Where the R upper quadrant does drain in the R duct connected to the R subclavian vein.
Below here, is a list of blog posts that talk about conditions where MLD can be beneficial: