Manual Lymphatic Drainage

 Information on Manual Lymphatic Drainage

manual lymphatic drainage

Definition of Manual Lymphatic Drainage

Manual Lymphatic Drainage is a form of lymphedema therapy that focuses on removing blockages in the lymph system and promoting a healthy flow of lymphatic fluid. The lymphatic system has many functions, but one of the most important is acting as a recycling system by cleansing the body of bacteria, toxins, large proteins and excess water while defending the body from the spread of tumors and infections. Occasionally, the lymph nodes become blocked, causing fluid to collect and stagnate. The most noticeable result is often painful swelling (lymphedema) and a feeling of heaviness in the affected area, but the buildup of toxins in the lymph fluid is actually a much larger problem and the resulting immune deficiency puts nearby tissue at risk of infection. This can lead to a kind of domino effect, since infected tissues become even more susceptible to lymphedema and immune deficiency. Manual Lymphatic Drainage uses gentle physical manipulations that mimic the peristalsis and skeletal pump action of the lymphatic system which normally move lymphatic fluid.

How to Perform Manual Lymphatic Drainage: Tips and Manual Lymphatic Drainage Techniques.

  1. Inform the patient that they need to bathe or shower before treatment, and refrain from using any type of lotions or creams.
  2. Use light pressure, since pressing too hard can cause the lymph vessels to shut down for a short time.
  3. Take the time to find out as much about a patient’s medical history as possible, since factors like scarring can affect the most efficient path for directing lymph flow.
  4. Intensive treatments should be conducted daily for the first 2-6 weeks, with monthly maintenance treatments after that.
  5. Consider suggesting that the patient learns how to perform simple MLD techniques on themselves between maintenance sessions in order to increase the effectiveness of the treatment.
  6. When patients have tissue affected by fibrosis, be sure to give the area more pressure to help break up the hard fibrous tissue.

Is Manual Lymphatic Drainage Safe?

Manual Lymphatic Drainage is a safe and effective treatment for lymphedema, except in the case of menstruation, heart or kidney disease, malignant tumors, hemorrhage, or in the presence of infection. Before beginning treatment, check for signs of infection such as excessive warmth in the affected area, rapidly increasing swelling, Redness or rash on the affected area, fever or high levels of pain. Also, sinus massage should not be used in conjunction with Lymphatic Drainage if the patient has an untreated sinus infection, since this may cause the infection to spread to other parts of the body.

Benefits of Manual Lymphatic Drainage

While Manual Lymphatic Drainage is an essential therapy for those with lymphedema, there are numerous other conditions that can be improved or eliminated entirely by regular treatments. Patients with recurring migraine headaches, bronchitis, otitis, sinusitis, chronic pain, constipation, insomnia, anxiety and memory loss have reported improvements resulting from Manual Lymphatic Drainage. Intensive treatments are often used to promote faster post-op healing for a wide range of surgical, dermatological, musculoskeletal, and neurological procedures. This detoxification of the body also promotes the general health of the lymphatic, circulatory, respiratory, muscular and endocrine systems and has been shown to aid in the regeneration of tissue, including sports injuries, burns, wounds, age spots and wrinkles while reducing adiposis and cellulite tissue. Manual Lymphatic Drainage has even been used to treat symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, Bell’s Palsy, Down Syndrome and stroke.


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