Manual Lymph Drainage

Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) is a massage therapy technique that increases lymph flow through the application of precise, and gentle movements applied according to the flow of the lymphatic vessels. Manual Lymph Drainage is a superficial skin technique that is most effective when light minimal pressure is applied to the treatment areas.  The treatment is painless, soothing, and relaxing with no side effects. It is therefore effective and safe enough to begin as soon as swelling is either anticipated or already noticeable.  It is performed with a great deal of precision and requires a well-trained therapist to obtain good results.

What is the Lymphatic System?

The lymphatic system consists of a network of lymph vessels and lymph nodes that are involved in the collection and transportation of the fluid in our body. Unlike the cardiovascular system which uses the heart for distribution, our lymph vessels require the movement of surrounding structures to generate fluid transport.  Under normal conditions our body can cope with any additional fluids.  However when there is injury, surgery, or an underlying systemic condition the lymphatic system becomes overloaded and its capacity to compensate decreases.  In such cases swelling or edema forms.  Depending on the situation, this can be temporary or long-standing.  The goal of MLD is to stop the progression of this excessive fluid buildup and/or to remove it.  Although very gentle and relaxing, this treatment can significantly speed up a person’s recovery.

Indications for Manual Lymph Drainage:

  • Lymphedema following cancer treatment (surgery/radiation)
  • Post-operative edema (cosmetic, diagnostic, medical treatment)
  • Traumatic edema (falls/accidents)
  • To help with wounds, burns, scar tissue, fibrosis
  • To decrease pain
  • To restore fluid equilibrium in the tissue
  • To promote relaxation/reduce anxiety
  • To strengthen lymphatic function