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Manual Lymphatic Drainage

Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) stands as a therapeutic massage technique with roots dating back to the 1930s when Emil Vodder developed it. MLD is meticulously designed to stimulate the lymphatic system, a key component of the body's immune and detoxification systems. Therapists employ gentle, rhythmic movements and specific hand techniques to facilitate the natural flow of lymphatic fluid throughout the body.

Indications for Manual Lymphatic Drainage and its benefits

According to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, more and more people are deciding to enhance their appearance through cosmetic surgery. Some of the most popular procedures opted for by men and women include breast augmentation, eyelids, face and neck lifts, liposuction, rhinoplasty, etc.

A downside of cosmetic surgery is the initial aftereffects, such as swelling and bruising, which are experienced by patients post-surgery. The time it takes for the skin and tissue 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.

MLD is regularly prescribed in Europe to improve healing and reduce recovery time after cosmetic surgery. Treatment 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.

Kindly note that, as a Level 2 MLD therapist, my qualifications specifically cover Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) treatments. I do not provide services for Complete Decongestive Therapy or Compression Therapy. If you require the expertise of a Level 3 or higher MLD specialist, please visit for assistance.

What to expect during Manual Lymphatic Drainage

Personalised Assessment: Your MLD session will commence with a thorough assessment. I will invest time in understanding your unique needs, whether they pertain to specific lymphatic concerns, chronic conditions, or stress-related issues. This personalised assessment ensures that the MLD is precisely tailored to address your requirements.

Communication and Comfort: Throughout the session, communication is encouraged. Feel free to express any preferences or concerns.

Post-MLD Guidance: Following the MLD session, I will offer guidance for post-treatment care. This may involve recommendations on hydration, gentle movements, or other self-care practices that can enhance the benefits of the MLD.

Important considerations before receiving MLD

As a dedicated massage therapist, I prioritise the safety and well-being of each client.

Before scheduling a massage, please be aware of the following factors and contraindications:

Absolute Contraindications 

  • Acute inflammation whether local or systemic, caused by antigens such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, chemicals, etc. 

  • Allergies 

  • Acute Deep Vein Thrombosis

  • Acute Phlebitis 

  • Cardiac Insufficiency 

  • Malignant diseases that have not been treated surgically or with radiation or chemotherapy.

Relative Contraindications 

  • Low Blood Pressure 

  • Thyroid disorder

  • Bronchial Asthma

  • The first trimester of pregnancy

  • Chronic infection

  • Severe unexplained pain

  • Severe kidney / liver problems

  • Herpes / Herpes Zoster

  • High fever

  • Vaccinations less than 72 hours before the intended MLD treatment

If you have any concerns or questions about the suitability of MLD for your specific situation, please consult with your healthcare provider.

Edema and Swelling after Cosmetic Surgery – speeding up recovery

Primary lymphedema is a rare, hereditary condition where the lymphatic system is congenitally impaired. MLD is often utilized as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for primary lymphedema.

Key aspects include:

  • Reduction of Edema: MLD aims to reduce edema by enhancing the drainage of accumulated lymphatic fluid. This can alleviate swelling and improve overall mobility for individuals with primary lymphedema.

  • Maintenance Therapy: As primary lymphedema is a chronic condition, MLD is often used as a maintenance therapy to manage symptoms and prevent further complications. Regular sessions may be recommended to sustain optimal lymphatic function.

Secondary Lymphedema is more common and often occurs as a result of damage to the lymphatic system, commonly associated with cancer treatment, surgery, trauma, insect bites, etc. MLD plays a significant role in the management of secondary lymphedema:

  • Prevention and Early Intervention: MLD is sometimes employed as a preventive measure before or immediately after surgery, particularly in cancer patients at risk of developing secondary lymphedema. Early intervention with MLD may help minimize the severity of swelling.

  • Combination Therapy: MLD is frequently used in combination with other components of Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT), which includes compression therapy, exercise, and skincare. This comprehensive approach is particularly effective in managing secondary lymphedema.

  • Symptom Relief: MLD can provide relief from symptoms associated with secondary lymphedema, such as heaviness, discomfort, and limited range of motion. It helps improve the overall quality of life for individuals dealing with the consequences of lymphatic system damage.

Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) has also demonstrated positive effects in supporting various conditions, including:

  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME)

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Symptoms associated with Post Menstrual Syndrome.

  • Detoxification Support

  • Pain relieving

  • Stimulating immune system 

Primary and Secondary Lymphoedema 

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