Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is a gentle treatment technique initially developed in the 1930’s by Danish PHD Dr. Emil Vodder for treating patients with chronic sinusitis and other immune disorder. Vodder had noticed that many of his patients had enlarged lymph nodes, and despite not a great deal being known about the workings of the lymphatic system at the time, Vodder persevered, and along with his wife Estrid, developed a series of light strokes to stimulate the flow of lymph through the system. From these beginning, MLD is now a clinically proven treatment, and is the primary treatment for Lymphedema management (Lymphatic Drainage).
The aim of Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is to stretch the subcutaneous tissue against the fascia, but not to manipulate the underlying muscle tissue in any way; as such the pressure applied during treatment is light. Very light. In fact the pressure is generally agreed to be no more than what the average person would apply to the head of a newborn infant, so if you’re part of the ‘no pain no gain’ crowd, this might not be the massage for you.
MLD is most effective in the treatment of Lymphedema, with the goal of treatment being to re-route the flow of stagnated lymphatic fluid around blocked areas, and into more centrally located, healthy lymph vessels. From here, the fluid is able to eventually drain into the venous system. An example of such a treatment could occur with a client who may be suffering from upper extremity Lymphedema resulting from surgery for breast cancer. It is necessary to re-route the flow of stagnated lymph in the subcutaneous tissues of the arm, around the blocked auxiliary area, towards the inguinal nodes around the site of the surgery, and the auxiliary nodes on the opposite side of the body. These lymph nodes are the drainage points for the stagnate lymph fluid in the affected area, and because of the blockage resulting from the surgery, the fluid needs to be moved towards them to promote effective fluid drainage before treatment can begin on the arm itself. Manual manipulation of the lymph creates a sort of suction like effect on the healthy lymph nodes, and they in turn will pull the accumulated lymph from an area of unhealthy nodes and enable the fluid to drain into the venous system.
As effective as Lymphatic Drainage MLD is for clients suffering from Lymphedema, such cases are not the only ones that stand to benefit from the effects of this treatment. The Lymphatic System forms a vital part of our immune system, with Lymphatic fluid acting as a courier for proteins, excess interstitial fluid, bacteria and other toxins that enter our system.
The lymph carries these things to the lymph nodes, where they are filtered, cleaned or destroyed, and then released through the subclavian veins back into the blood stream. Ensuring efficient flow through the Lymphatic System contributes to ongoing health and wellness, and can be an effective component of a natural detox program, or simply a method of promoting increased health and a more effective immune system. It is often the case that a client experiencing MLD for the first time might be sceptical that something so gentle could be effective at all, only to find themselves with flu-like symptoms hours after treatment that have been brought on by the swift movement of bacteria and environmental toxins in their body. Many natural therapists believe that regular MLD treatments not only benefits clients suffering from oedema, but can also be a powerful tool to assist in “detoxing” the body and promoting a healthy and efficient immune system, and a better long term quality of life.
If you would like to discuss the benefits of MLD, or you would like to try it for yourself, call our Everton Park Clinic on 0422 135 370 and we can discuss what options are right for you.