Manual Lymph Drainage

“Lymph Drainage is a healthy, natural, painless and absolutely effective method which gives a new basis to life, health and beauty,” Dr Emil Vodder.

This specialised therapy is a gentle, rhythmic, and structured form of massage technique based on pumping, circular and spiral shaped movements, which encourage the lymph fluid to flow more freely around the body.

By improving the functioning of the lymphatic system – a natural cleaning process in the body - Manual Lymph Drainage, or MLD, helps to eliminate waste products and excessive fluid, strengthen the immune system, and promote circulation. It gives a deep feeling of relaxation, and is therefore an extremely effective treatment for severe stress. It also supports the relief of pain and can be beneficial in the healing process before and after operations.

MLD pre and post-surgery

A few MLD sessions prior to surgery could be beneficial to stimulate the immune system, prepare the tissue for surgery, reduce oedema and swelling, and also to relax. Post-surgery sessions could be as soon as 24 hours after surgery with approval from your doctor and no contra-indications. The main benefit of applying MLD after surgery is to prevent or alleviate oedema or swelling. Swelling can cause pain and encourage infection.

Other benefits could be reducing pain, stimulation of fluid circulation, aid rerouting of lymph flow, stimulation of immune system, getting rid of waste products, detoxifying, and optimising skin regeneration, which will improve wound and scar healing. Studies show that it takes between seven and ten days for the natural functioning of the lymphatic vessels to be re-established. Practising regular breathing exercises and movement, like walking, is a great complement to your MLD sessions.

Manual Lymph Drainage requires a personally tailored treatment schedule and plan. This plan will be discussed during the initial consultation.

Complete Lymphoedema Therapy (CLT)

Lymphoedema is a result of a failure of the lymphatic system. This causes swelling in the body tissue, which can affect the limbs, though it may also involve the trunk, breast, head and neck.

The lymphatic system is a network of vessels and nodes throughout the body that transports fluid (lymph) from the body tissues back to the bloodstream. The functions of the lymphatic system are to remove excess fluid and to assist the immune system in removing waste products from the tissues.

Primary lymphoedema may be present at birth, develop at the onset of puberty, or not become apparent for many years into adulthood.

Secondary lymphoedema is the most common type, typically developing following damage to the lymphatic system. The damage may occur as a result of cancer treatment, including the removal of lymph nodes, following radiotherapy to lymph node groups, or with the progression of malignant disease. The onset may be at any time, e.g. within months of the damage or years later.

Complete Lymphoedema Therapy (CLT) is designed to keep the swelling (lymphoedema) under control and to reduce the oedema so that there is no risk of complications, such as inflammation, ulcers or immobility. CLT consists of education, skin care, exercise, Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD), and compression therapy. Treatment is individualised for each client. For example, not all the above treatment elements may be necessary in all cases. Elastic Taping for lymphoedema might also be used as an element in CLT.

When the client has sufficiently improved, the next step is self-management. Unfortunately, there is no cure yet for lymphoedema, so it is important that the client keeps up with the self-management programme and checks in with their CLT therapist once or twice a year.

CLT has a holistic multidisciplinary approach and is provided by qualified lymphoedema therapists.

For more on lymphoedema management, please go to the following sites:

  • UK- www.thebls.com
  • USA- www.lymphnet.org
  • Europe- https://www.lymphedema-clinic.com/home.html
  • Practitioners: Pascale King