Manual Lymph Drainage
Manual Lymph Drainage (also referred to as simply MLD) is a very gentle type of massage therapy used to drain excess fluid from the body and improve the overall functioning of the lymphatic (immune) system. MLD is most commonly used to treat Lymphedema, which is characterized by the blockage of lymph nodes in the arms and legs.
MLD originated in Europe during the 1930s. It was first used on patients as an effective way to detoxify (ridding of waste) the body. Today, MLD is still used as a way to improve the inner workings of the lymphatic system. The massage is applied gently in the direction of lymph flow in order to unblock any obstructed lymph vessels, and allow lymph flow to transport waste from the body freely.
MLD massage is performed by a certified MLD massage therapist, who applies a light form of circular massage to their clients skin. MLD massages must be applied to bare skin, and no massage oils or lotions can be used in order for the treatment to be effective. MLD massage is applied in gentle strokes towards the heart. This technique will lightly stretch the walls of the lymph vessels and encourage lymph drainage.
During your MLD treatment your massage therapist may use one of four very effective MLD techniques to encourage lymph drainage:
Stationary Circles these strokes are applied in continuous spirals with the massage therapists fingertips typically over the neck, face and lymphatic nodes.
The Pump Technique the massage therapist will place their palms down on the skin, and make oval strokes with their fingers and thumbs to encourage lymph flow.
The Rotary Technique the therapist massages the skin in circular motions with their palms facing down. The wrists are used to apply and lessen the stroke pressure.
Scoop Strokes the massage therapists palms will face up, and their fingers remain outstretched so that their hands are cupped to resemble a scoop. Twisting strokes are applied to the clients skin to encourage waste disposal.