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Discover the Benefits of Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)

Imagine a gentle, rhythmic massage that relaxes you and revitalises your body’s inner workings. That’s the magic of manual lymphatic drainage (MLD). This soothing technique enhances the lymphatic system, crucial for removing metabolic wastes and bolstering immune defences.

Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD)


How Does the Lymphatic System Work?

Your lymphatic system is like a dedicated maintenance crew for your body. It regulates fluid balance, filters and flushes out toxins, promotes strong immunity, and boosts the circulation of white blood cells that help combat infection and disease. Over time, everything that comes into contact with our skin gets absorbed and processed by the lymphatic system. These lymphatic pathways can become overloaded and blocked for various reasons, leaving nowhere for the sweat, pollution, and dirt it processes daily.

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When lymphatic pathways become stagnant, unwanted bacteria and fluid accumulate, leading to problems like general fatigue, bloating, puffiness, and immune dysfunction. Fortunately, our lymphatic system always works in the background, with lymph flow naturally prompted when breathing, stretching, and moving. However, it can always benefit from a little extra encouragement, which is where MLD comes in.

What Type of Conditions Can Manual Lymphatic Drainage Assist With?

Developed by physical therapist Dr. Emil Vodder and his wife, Estrid Vodder, MLD was initially designed to treat lymphedema in cancer patients. Increasing lymphatic flow produces more lymphocytes, amplifying circulation and immunity and expediting tissue healing, metabolite elimination, and emotional well-being.

  • Injuries: After the initial inflammatory stage of an acute injury, MLD can help clear tissue debris, reduce edema, enhance tissue regeneration, and increase healing times.
  • Lymphedema: When combined with bandaging, exercise, skincare, and a healthy diet, MLD can effectively treat lymphedema. It is also a preventative measure post-surgery or after lymphatic trauma.
  • Pregnancy-Related Edema: Swelling in the lower limbs during the third trimester of pregnancy is common. MLD can safely reduce this swelling and is considered safe for a low-risk pregnancy, making it a popular choice for expectant mothers.
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  • Scarring: MLD increases circulation, which can reduce scar appearance, especially in women who have undergone breast cancer surgery. It’s also a significant part of the Brazilian surgical industry, aiding in scar reduction and post-surgery healing. 
  • Migraines: Gentle stimulation of lymphatic flow helps reduce inflammation and alleviate the pressure that can contribute to migraine pain. By improving circulation and reducing toxin buildup, MLD can help mitigate the frequency and severity of migraines.
  • Arthritis: This can provide much-needed pain relief and swelling management for those suffering from arthritis and inflammation of the joints, improving joint mobility and quality of life.
  • Fibromyalgia: By promoting the flow of lymph fluid, MLD can help reduce the build-up of toxins and metabolic waste in tissues that contribute to the chronic pain experienced by people with fibromyalgia.
  • Stress, Anxiety, and Depression: This can help calm the sympathetic nervous system, reducing feelings of anxiety, stress, depression, and pain caused by these conditions. MLD’s gentle, rhythmic movements can also help activate the body’s relaxation response, reducing stress hormones and promoting a sense of calm and well-being.
  • Athletic Performance: It enhances recovery and performance by clearing metabolic waste from muscles, reducing soreness, improving flexibility, preventing injuries, increasing energy levels, and regulating fluid balance for optimal hydration.

Beyond these specific conditions, MLD can be a powerful wellness tool. It reduces sluggishness, boosts mood, and enhances overall well-being. Its stimulating abdominal massage can also aid digestion and reduce bloating.

How is it Different From A Massage?

A typical lymphatic drainage massage involves gentle stimulation of the lymph nodes found in sensitive areas such as the neck, chest, armpits, abdomen, and groin. The rest of the massage focuses on moving the lymph fluid into the nodes. After a session, many experience rejuvenation, while others may feel a detoxing effect, sleepiness, and an increased need to use the toilet. For optimal results, it’s recommended to have 3-5 sessions. To experience the benefits of MLD for yourself, book today! 

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MLD is a generally safe technique, thanks to its gentle and nurturing approach and direct impact on the lymphatic system. This means that almost everyone can benefit from a session. 

Note: Due to MLD’s effects on the lymphatic system, if you have acute inflammation or fever, cancer, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), congestive heart failure, or kidney problems, please ensure you get medical clearance before trying lymphatic massage.

Carrin Perrins
Remedial Massage Therapist

Carrin Perrins

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