What is Manual Lymphatic Drainage?
Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is a very gentle, light, rhythmic form of massage based on precise techniques and pressure. The massage works at skin level to influence the direction and speed of lymphatic flow, this encourages the lymph away from the swollen area and allows the lymph to flow more freely around the body.
MLD was developed by Dr. Emil and Estrid Vodder in the 1930s following many years of research into the lymphatic system and widely recognised and practised in American and European clinics to treat a variety of different conditions.
The Lymphatic System
The lymphatic system is an important part of our immune system and is designed to assist in the removal of waste products from the cells. Unlike the circulation of the blood, there is no pump (the heart); instead the lymphatic system has to rely on muscular movement to assist circulation. This system can become very sluggish, not least because of our sedentary lifestyles, resulting in a build-up of stagnant lymph. As the lymphatic system is part of the immune system, improved health and increase energy is one of the most important benefits of MLD massage.
What does it do?
- MLD helps to drain excess fluid from the tissues of the body
- MLD can help to reduce pain by its action on the nervous system
- MLD aids relaxation by its action on the nervous system and muscles
- MLD renews, nourishes, strengthens and regenerates the cells, removes waste products, and strengthens the immune system
MLD can be beneficial for:
Lymphedema is the name of a type of swelling. It happens when lymph builds up in your body's soft tissues. Lymph is a fluid that contains white blood cells that defend against germs. It can build up when the lymph system is damaged or blocked. It usually happens in the arms or legs.
Lipoedema is a condition that causes abnormal fat buildup in the legs and sometimes in the arms. It occurs almost exclusively in women and can be painful to touch. Unlike normal weight gain, lipoedema looks and feels different from ordinary fat. Other signs of lipoedema include:
- Feel heavy
-Pain and tenderness
Described as “One of the best kept secrets on the health and beauty scene”, MLD’s intensely relaxing effect masks the strength of the treatment itself. It is a very gentle, light touch massage that improves the ability of the body’s lymphatic system to cleanse from the inside out. Specific and gentle movements of the skin stimulate and increase the rate of removal of waste products, toxins and excess fluid from the body’s tissues resulting in clearer and cleaner skin, reduced puffiness around the eyes, reduced cellulite, reduced fluid retention, improved skin tone, has a tonic effect on intestinal peristalsis, which in turn aids digestion.
Many mums-to-be experience swollen ankles during pregnancy. This happens due to the retention of sodium and water and changes in the circulation related to the effect of the gravid uterus on the inferior vena cava. Moreover, increased levels of progesterone, estrogen, HCG, and prolactin during the pregnancy induce changes in vascular permeability, promoting extravasation of plasma with consequent edema, formation of varicose veins, heaviness of the legs, paresthesia and cramps.
MLD is a very gentle, light touch massage that improves the efficiency of the lymphatic system – the body’s waste disposal system. Specific and gentle movements of the skin stimulate and increase the rate of removal of waste products, toxins and excess fluid from the body’s tissues resulting in significantly reduced fluid retention, swelling and puffiness of the ankles.
Post cosmetic surgery swellings - speeding up recovery
A downside of cosmetic surgery (breast augmentation, eyelid, face and neck lifts, liposuction, rhinoplasty, etc) is the initial after effects, such as swelling and bruising, which are experienced by patients post surgery. The time it takes for the skin to recover can differ from person to person due to many factors such as age, general health, lifestyle etc, however, a course of MLD treatment makes the healing process MUCH faster.
Treatment pre and post surgery is often recommended to get the lymphatic system in peak condition to help reduce the swelling and bruising, keep it operating at optimum levels to accelerate the healing process, encourage better scar formation and ultimately reveal the new you in less time.
MLD is an adjunctive method of chronic venous disease (CVD) therapy and significantly decreases the degree of disease severity and foot and lower limb volume as well as improving patients quality of life. MLD before surgery of varicose veins improves the effect of the surgical treatment and decreases anxiety and depressive states caused by varicose veins.
MLD might be beneficial for people with Fibromyalgia manifesting with pain, stiffness,morning tiredness and anxiety. Medication with analgesics and antidepressants and also physiotherapy, are often prescribed and give some relief. Research results demonstrates results that MLD can be a valuable alternative treatment for patients with fibromyalgia
Skin disorders: acne, eczema, rosacea
Acne is a distressing condition suffered by many and influenced by many factors, such as hormones, bacteria, pollutants, poor skin nutrition and many others. MLD can help to reduce symptoms of acne by promoting the balance in the environment of cells. Dr Vodder method of Manual Lymphatic Drainage nether ‘bring out’ the offending toxins in a flurry of sebaceous activity nor force them back into the blood circulation. By stimulating better lymphatic activity toxins and inflammatory mediators are drawn away from the tissue and into lymph nodes where they are processed before being recirculated.
Effective interruption of chronic inflammatory cycles can deliver permanent results. By increasing the ability of the lymphatic system to quickly remove hormones, toxins and inflammatory mediators from the dermis MLD restores the correct balance of elements in the connective tissue bath.
- Long Covid: Post -viral fatigue, foggy brains, loss of smell and taste, PTSD, lingering cough, palpitations, muscle pain and weakness, functional GI symptoms.
- After many types of surgery (e.g. joint replacement) and Post traumatic swellings (e.g. after accidents, sports injuries, sprained ankles, black eye)
- Inflammatory conditions: arthritis, osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Sinusitis, hay fever, recurrent colds & flues
- Stress, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lethargy
- Migraines, Cluster headaches
- IBD, Constipation, bloating, diarrhoea, IBS
- Hormonal imbalances, Hashimoto's thyroiditis