Manual Lymph Drainage
The lymph system has three main responsibilities in the body: tissue drainage, immune response and fat transport. It is the body’s water and sewage system, working to reduce waste products and maintain a healthy balance of blood and fluid. When the lymph system is impaired by injury, surgery or disease, it can result in a variety of uncomfortable or potentially damaging symptoms, including:
edema (swelling of part or all of your arm or leg, including fingers or toes)
feelings of heaviness, tightness, aching or discomfort
restricted range of motion
immune system compromise with recurring infections
hardening and thickening of the skin (fibrosis)
Manual Lymph Drainage (Lymphatic Drainage or MLD) is a light, skin stretching massage that helps promote the movement of lymphatic fluid out of a swollen limb or injury site. MLD is specifically focused on the lymph vessels and nodes to help increase or maximize the flow of lymph fluid. This therapy moves in the direction of normal lymphatic movement and is applied to unaffected areas first, making it possible for the fluid to move out of the affected area and decongest the tissue. MLD helps open the functioning lymph collectors and move protein and fluid into them, helping to speed up fluid flow through the lymphatics and improving immune function as the body clears pathogens, toxins and metabolic debris.
MLD is highly recommended after any surgery, medical procedure or injury that produces bruising, swelling or scarring, as it can directly address all of these while increasing immune response for optimal healing. This is a very gentle modality and is also suitable for many people experiencing disease states that are otherwise contraindicated for traditional or Swedish massage, such as post-surgical lymphedema, cancer, lymphoma, fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, and pharmaceutical or environmental toxicity. Regular massage moves against the flow patterns of the lymph system and can cause damage or discomfort in patients recovering from injury, surgery or experiencing disease or toxicity states, while MLD works with the lymph system to improve function.