Technique Highlight: Manual Lymphatic Drainage

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD), developed in the 1930s by Dr Emil and Estrid Vodder, is a manual therapy technique that stimulates the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system works alongside our circulatory and immune systems to maintain fluid balance in our bodies by clearing out excess water and waste products. Not only does it remove impurities from our tissues, it also produces lymphocytes that fight bacteria and viruses. These are the lymph system’s two main purposes: fight infection and remove excess fluid. 

Our lymphatic system is made up of deep lymphatics and superficial ones. The deep lymphatics include the spleen, thymus and tonsils, and lymph nodes. There are also superficial, or initial, lymph nodes and lymphatic vessels just under the skin which are receptive to manual therapy. While we cannot manually affect the deep lymphatics, we can facilitate lymphatic flow in the superficial lymphatics through manual lymphatic drainage techniques. 

We keep our lymphatic system moving properly through body movement. Whereas the heart pumps blood throughout our body in the circulatory system, the lymphatic system relies on muscle contractions to pump fluid. During a manual lymphatic treatment, we mimic the natural body movement by applying gentle pressure in a rhythmic, pumping motion and through skin stretching. 

Here at Heaven and Health, we now offer manual lymphatic treatment for clients looking for a gentle, deeply relaxing full body treatment, or looking to reduce localized inflammation and edema. This is a great treatment to improve circulation and lymph flow, reducing post-surgery edema and stimulating the lymph system to work more efficiently. This gentle and noninvasive technique can be scheduled as a stand alone session or included with other modalities, depending on your goals. As with any treatment, it’s always advisable to consult your doctor with any concerns you may have.