What is Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)?
MLD is a very gentle and non invasive form of massage that has powerful cleansing, relaxing, pain relieving and immunological effects. It is a light, flowing, rhythmic massage that stimulates and encourages the flow of lymph fluid through the body.
It can increase the lymph flow by twenty times if performed correctly. Specific light, rhythmical and precise techniques and pressure are used, based on scientific, physiological principles that have proven to encourage lymph flow.
MLD is the most effective treatment in controlling Lymphoedema and other forms of swelling. It is beneficial used pre and post operative for both cosmetic and orthopaedic surgery. It can promote the healing of fractures, torn ligaments, sprains and lessens pain. It relieves fluid congestion and can help heal wounds and burns as it improves the immune system and encourages the removal of waste products.
What is the lymphatic system?
The lymphatic system is the ‘cleaning system’ of the body and is part of our immune system which helps to cope with infection by detoxifying and cleansing the body’s tissues. Lymph vessels rely upon hundreds of tiny muscular units called lymphangions which contract throughout the lymph vessels to help the flow of lymph fluid which allows the transport of substances such as proteins, toxins, hormones, fatty acids and immune cells to the lymph nodes, which process and purifies them. There are 400-700 nodes in the human body with nearly half of them located in the abdomen.
There are also many nodes located in the neck. The main groups of nodes are found in the major articulation folds of the body such as armpits and groin. Lymph nodes have the following functions:
- removal of toxins and dead cells
- concentration of the lymph fluid
- filtration and purification of lymph fluid
- production of lymphocytes (immune cells).
Once the lymph fluid has passed through these nodes, it will then drain into the venous system and will be removed from the body as urine via the kidneys.
Due to venous insufficiency (veins and valves not functioning properly), injuries (including sports), a sedentary lifestyle, chemical overload in the body, high level of consumption of food additives, increasing age, surgery or trauma the circulation can stagnate resulting in an accumulation of fluids, proteins, cells and toxins.
How can MLD help you?
For each person the effect is unique. However, it is extremely relaxing as it works directly on the nervous system; it encourages decongestion and more efficient movement of the body’s waste products, it may therefore strengthen our immune system; and it can help to ease pain. Whilst it’s helpful for many specific conditions, is also a good preventative therapy, supporting us to keep and feel well.
- Reduces feelings of stress – and can induce a deep state of relaxation
- Effective as part of the treatment and management of lymphoedema
- Encourages elimination of waste and toxins – helping to cleanse; aids constipation and digestion
- Can improve chronic conditions such as sinusitis, tinnitus, arthritis, joint problems, acne, catarrh, hayfever, bursitis, headaches, migraines, ME, asthma.
- Promotes the healing of fractures, torn ligaments, sports and other injuries; burns, wounds, scars, venous ulcers, sprains and traumatic and post-operative reactions
- Can relieve fluid congestion, swollen ankles, eyelids, tired puffy legs due to constant standing, PMS and during pregnancy; decreases inflammation
- Minimizes or reduces stretchmarks
- Helps with conditions resulting from venous insufficiency and can also help to heal leg ulcers.
- alleviate swelling which may occur as a result of lymphoedema after breast cancer.
- speed up recovery after cosmetic surgery
- Detox and cleanse their body from the inside out
MLD usually has the best results with a treatment plan of 3 initial treatments spaced over 2 weeks. Each treatment session will be approximately 60 minutes. Then depending on your condition, further weekly/monthly treatments may be recommended.
During or after the treatment you may feel a tingling or drawing sensation under skin, decreased swelling, freer joint, increased tiredness or irritability (24-48hrs only), lighter, decreased pain or ache.
MLD treatments continue well to up to 48 hours after treatment has finished, therefore results may not be noticed until after 48 hours or after 2-3 treatments.
After the treatment it is advised to increase the consumption of water by 2-3 glasses a day for 48 hours as this will help removing metabolic waste products from the body quickly via the kidneys.