What is manual lymph drainage?
Manual Lymph Drainage (also referred to as simply MLD) is a very gentle type of massage therapy used to drain excess fluid from the body and improve the overall functioning of the lymphatic (immune) system.
MLD originated in Europe during the 1930s. It was first used on patients as an effective way to detoxify (ridding of waste) the body. Today, MLD is still used as a way to improve the inner workings of the lymphatic system. The massage is applied gently in the direction of lymph flow in order to unblock any obstructed lymph vessels, and allow lymph flow to transport waste from the body freely.
MLD massage is performed by a certified MLD massage therapist, who applies a light form of circular massage to their clients skin. MLD massages must be applied to bare skin, and no massage oils or lotions can be used in order for the treatment to be effective. MLD massage is applied in gentle strokes towards the heart. This technique will lightly stretch the walls of the lymph vessels and encourage lymph drainage.
Indications for Manual Lymph Drainage
Primary and secondary lymphedema
Acne, rosacea, sinusitis (without infection)
Congestive conditions such as rosacea, facial erythrosis, facial edema and hematomas (the last 2 after face lift)
Pre-operative before facial surgeries to prepare skin and lymph system
Pre- and post- plastic surgery, pre- and post- elective surgery
Pre- and post- hip/knee replacements
Post bone fractures/ cast removal
Blocked tear ducts
Skin alterations or chronic injury: allergies, chronic eczema, chronic inflammation with excess protein in the loose connective tissue
Scars become smaller, softer and less visible
Keloids new and old have good results with MLD
Cellulite: spongy, waterlogged tissue is an indication for MLD
Pregnancy/maternal care: prevent leg edema and striae gavidarum (stretch marks) with regular MLD. Existing stretch marks can improve with MLD. Prophylactic MLD can prevent stretch marks
Mastodynia: breast tenderness or pain during ovulation. Possibly due to lymph congestion, regular MLD relieves mastitis (without infections), fibrocystic breasts, premenstrual swelling
Thick legs, heavy legs, fatigued legs
Weight loss with MLD will maintain skin tautness
Circulatory disturbances, constipation, digestive congestion
Sports injuries, sprains and strain, sciatica, piriformis syndrome, chronic low back pain or strain, compartment syndrome
Non-infected inflammatory conditions (e.g. sprains and strains)
Colds, congestion, post-cold or flu congestion and acute or chronic coughs
Shoulder/neck trauma, whiplash, tendinitis, possibly disc conditions (herniation, etc..)