About Manual Lymph Drainage:
Manual lymph drainage (MLD) is a very specific, gentle, and rhythmic massage technique used to stimulate the body’s lymphatic system.
The lymphatic system plays an important role in circulation and immunity. It consists of a dense network of vessels that start in the skin and then connect with deeper lymphatic pathways and lymph nodes. Lymph vessels transport lymph fluid which consists of excess water, proteins, toxins, and cellular wastes. The vessels pump this fluid away from space between the body’s cells and then return it back to the blood vessels near the heart.
Manual lymph drainage massage stimulates the vessels of the lymphatic system and has been shown to have many other effects on the body. By improving lymphatic flow and function, MLD may result in decreased swelling and congestion, aid the body’s detoxification process, and provide support for the immune system. MLD can improve microcirculation of blood in an area and helps to bring nutrients to cells. MLD also acts on the nervous system and can promote a deep state of relaxation helping to manage stress and may result in decreased pain. The combined effects can help to improve health at a cellular level and create an optimal environment for healing to take place.
MLD may be beneficial for treatment of both acute and chronic conditions. Here are some examples of conditions that MLD therapists may treat:
- Lymphedema (Primary or secondary)
- Skin conditions (ex. acne, rosacea, eczema)
- Before and after surgical procedures (ex. orthopedic, cosmetic)
- Varicose Veins
- Digestive concerns (inflammatory/irritable bowels; constipation)
- Pregnancy/Post Cesarean Section
- Painful Breasts (Mastodynia or lactation disorders)
- Dental procedures/surgeries
- Chronic pain conditions (ex. Fibromyalgia, complex regional pain syndrome)
- Nervous system disorders (ex. Multiple Sclerosis)
- Headaches and Migraines
- Chronic sinusitis
- Injuries due to motor vehicle accidents (Whiplash)
- Orthopedic injuries
- General wellness
MLD is NOT a suitable treatment if you have a current acute infection, current allergic reaction, are at risk for deep vein thrombosis, have had a blood clot within the last 6 months, or if your swelling is due to congestive heart failure.
About Your Appointment:
As with other massage therapy appointments at Local Health, you will need to fill out the online intake form which will be emailed to you before your appointment. Your therapist will then go over any questions about your appointment. Your massage therapist will take a thorough history of your health and current condition, and will perform an assessment. This will include an examination of your area of concern as well as your body as a whole. For certain lymphatic conditions assessment may include specific measurements of your area of concern.
Subsequent treatments will vary in frequency and length depending on your condition. They will involve reassessment, treatment and education. Your massage therapist may also suggest home care exercises or slight modifications to your routine to accommodate positive changes in your health.
Certain conditions of the lymphatic system require Combined Decongestive Therapy. This includes MLD massage as well as compression therapy (bandaging and/or other compression garments) to support your treatment. Your therapist will discuss this further during your appointment if this is a necessary part of your treatment plan.
Please note that Manual Lymph Drainage is a massage therapy treatment. If you have extended health care coverage, this type of therapy is included under registered massage therapy of health care plans. Some health care plans will also provide coverage for compression garments.