5 Reasons to Get Manual Lymphatic Drainage

What is Manual Lymphatic Drainage?

First up, let’s start off by understanding what Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) actually is.
There’s a common misperception of this therapy – even amongst therapists – so it’s
important to understand when you are getting MLD and when you are getting a lymphatic
massage, and what the differences or benefits are.

MLD is a therapy which supports and stimulates the body’s lymphatic system, putting the
system under load to get it working harder and more effectively. It has a systematic (whole
system) effect – think of it as turning on the vacuum cleaner (turning on the lymphatic
system). It’s more effective with results long lasting – for days, not just during the treatment.
Lymphatic massage or effleurage is more of a toothpaste effect – you’re just emptying the
system, not activating it, so it will refill at a faster rate, therefore bringing shorter or less
effective results.

So, while both will have immediate results, the overall impact and effectiveness will be quite

While MLD may be incorporated into a remedial massage treatment, it is not a form of
massage. More a technique which can be integrated to support the body’s lymphatic system
and healing process. It’s an incredibly gentle treatment which is why it can be used
effectively in some acute conditions (think post surgery) as well as in lymphoedema

What are the functions of the lymphatic system?

The primary role of the lymphatic system is circulation of lymphocytes – immune elements –
for protection of the body. It also removes fluid leaked by the capillaries into connective
tissue spaces, removes protein and lipid molecules too large to enter blood capillaries,
removes waste materials from the tissue and assists in maintaining blood volume.

If the lymphatic system is functioning at an optimal rate then the body is clean and healthy
and able to support normal immune function and healing. If the lymphatic system is
compromised due to injury or illness then Manual Lymphatic Drainage can help the system
work more effectively bringing the body back to homeostasis (balance).

What symptoms can Manual Lymphatic Drainage treat?

1. Sinusitis – by removing congestion from the affected areas it enables the immune
system to function more effectively and support the natural healing process of the
body. MLD can treat chronic sinusitis and can have long-lasting effects.

2. Sports injuries (e.g. ACL tear, sprained ankle) – MLD will remove the excess fluid
from the tissues (swelling) and expedite the healing process. Inflammation of the
area will be reduced, bruising will heal much faster and oxygen will circulate through
the tissues more effectively.

3. Bursitis or tendonitis (to include epicondylitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, plantar
fasciitis and so on)
– MLD will reduce inflammation in the area, enabling oxygen to
circulate and the body’s tissues to heal more effectively.

4. Respiratory conditions – especially good for people recovering from bronchitis. A
treatment will help to clear congestion in lungs, get the lymph flowing more freely
through the area, boost immunity post-illness and support healing.

5. Surgery (orthopaedic or cosmetic) – pre-surgery it will get the lymphatic system
firing effectively so it’s ‘ready to go’ and will be able to work more effectively
following the surgery. Post-surgery it will reduce swelling, help bruising heal faster
and increase the natural healing process. As the pressure is so light it can be used
post-surgery with no discomfort.

These are just a small selection of some of the conditions MLD can be used to treat. It can
also help with traumatic injuries, TMJ, bowel issues such as constipation, frozen shoulder,
headaches or migraines, respiratory clearance if you’re giving up smoking, management of
swelling in the legs from vein removal and many more…

Even if you don’t have a specific issue, the calming effect MLD has on the sympathetic
nervous system alongside stimulation of immune function can benefit even the healthiest of
people – supporting stress management and better immunity.

If you are suffering from lymphoedema you’ll need to be referred to a therapist specialising
in lymphoedema treatment.

Hannah is a Remedial Massage Therapist specialising in lymphatic therapies. She has
completed studies with the Dr Vodder School. If you have any questions or would like to
know more about Manual Lymphatic Drainage and how it can benefit you, give us a call and
we can arrange a short phone consultation with Hannah prior to your treatment.