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  • Writer's pictureakalawilson

MLD is for Manual Lymph Drainage

Massage therapy, as you know, is meant for healing. There are many types of massage techniques to release tension in various parts of your body. A therapy that more people should become familiar with is manual lymph drainage (MLD).

What is it?

Manual lymph drainage is a light pressure technique that aids in increasing fluid movement in the body through the lymphatic system. The lymph (clear fluid of the lymphatic system) is critical to our immune systems as well as the overall circulation system health. Essentially, each person has lymph nodes (in the neck, armpit and groin areas) that act as the body’s filter. When the lymphatic system is not working correctly, there can be a build up of fluid, resulting in swelling.

There are different methods of MLD, and I perform the Vodder Technique on my clients to help their lymphatic system do its job.

This is a diagram of the human lymphatic system. staff (2014). "Medical gallery of Blausen Medical 2014". WikiJournal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 2002-4436.

What are the benefits of lymphatic drainage?

Manual lymph drainage, also known as lymphatic drainage, lymph or lymphatic massage, helps to reduce swelling and reduce pain. Manual lymph drainage is beneficial for those who have increased swelling due to an injury or a medical condition. It also aids in the healing process for people after their post-op (knee surgery, Brazilian butt lift, Lipo 360, etc).

Why MLD over a deep tissue massage?

Although a massage with deeper pressure can feel amazing, reduce pain and be relaxing, it is not the best fit for someone who is dealing with swelling. A deep tissue massage could increase the swelling.

Who have been my MLD clients?

I have worked extensively with people with edema (a buildup of water) and lymphedema (a buildup of water and protein). The clients who have fallen into either of these categories were pregnant or have undergone breast cancer surgery, tummy tucks, liposuction, and butt lifts.

What should you know before requesting a MLD?

Before requesting MLD, the biggest thing to know is that MLD is a very light pressure, gentle technique, it will be different from your typical Swedish massage. Most people are shocked at how light MLD is when they receive it because they expected more pressure. If you would like to have more knots worked out of your shoulders, you should request a traditional deep tissue massage.

Now another thing to keep in mind is if you have an acute infection of any sort, you should not under any circumstances have a manual lymph drainage treatment. The reason to disclose any infection to your massage therapist is to prevent it from spreading through the body.

How often should you have an MLD therapy session?

Typically for someone receiving MLD post-op, two to three sessions a week for the first four weeks post-op is appropriate. For someone who has lymphedema, you may want to schedule a few days a week, or one to three times a month depending on your level of discomfort. Lymphedema is life-long and there is not a cure for it.

As a pregnant woman, you can opt to have a manual lymph drainage treatment as often as you experience swelling in your legs.

I am one of a few traveling massage therapists who specialize in manual lymph drainage dedicated to the Farmington Hills, East Lansing, and Saginaw areas. You can book your appointment with me online or by phone at (989) 980-2161.

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