Manual Lymphatic DrainageManual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is a specialised, rhythmic massage which is done to encourage natural drainage of the lymphatic system. This technique was developed in the 1930s by Emil Vodder.
A therapist trained in MLD uses specific, circular hand movements to provide a gentle pumping action on the skin. Although this is a type of massage, no oils are used. This ensures that the maximum skin stretching effect is gained with the minimum of pressure. As a result, lymph flow improves without increasing capillary filtration. The increased flow helps to remove infections and prevents damage. These movements also calm the nervous system and help inhibit pain.
MLD and Lymphoedema
MLD is known to have a number of physiological effects. These include;
- increase in the contraction rate of lymphatics
- increased reabsorption of protein into lymphatics
- reduced microlymphatic hypertension
- improved collateral lymph drainage between the lymphatic territories of the skin
It has also been suggested that MLD influences the sympathetic nervous system, promoting relaxation. A simplified version of MLD, often referred to as simple lymphatic drainage (SLD), is commonly taught in the UK to patients suffering from lymphoedema, and to their relatives, as a self-help measure.
MLD is used as a treatment procedure for the following conditions;
- Lymphoedema (both primary and secondary)
- Chronic sinusitis
- Digestive disorders and constipation
- Pregnancy-associated swelling
- Post cosmetic surgery
- CRPS (Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome)
- Venous ulcers
- Arthritic conditions
- Acute whiplash
- Meniere’s Syndrome
- Trauma-related injuries
- Joint Replacement
We provide training in MLD to healthcare professionals and SLD to patients. We also provide MLD services to patients at our centre.