Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)

February 19, 2019
What is Manual Lymphatic Drainage?

It is a gentle manual treatment technique used to manipulate the lymph vessels and nodes with the goal of increasing their activity and promoting the flow of lymph. Lymph is the fluid that originates in between cells and is reabsorbed into smaller vessels in the lymphatic system. Compared to traditional massage, the pressure applied during MLD is much lower in intensity and is designed to assist in moving fluid through the lymphatic structures located in the under the skin. The overall goal of MLD is to move the non-moving fluid around the blocked areas into more centrally located healthy vessels eventually draining into the venous system


What is manual lymphatic drainage used to treat?

A variety of different conditions that can be treated are as follows: edema due to complications following treatments for cancer including removal of lymph nodes and vessels, post-surgical edema, pregnancy related edema, venous insufficiency, neuropathy, migraines, sinus headaches, fibrocystic breast disease, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, and complex regional pain syndrome. There are many other indications that are not included in this list that may also be an indication for receiving MLD. In conversation and collaboration with your doctor and physical therapist, you may be an excellent candidate for this treatment.


How often would I need to have it?

The treatment duration and frequency is dependent on the condition and severity of the lymph edema that is present and will be determined by your physical therapist after the initial examination.


Please Contact Premier Physical Therapy Services for additional information about this treatment and if it is the right one for you.


Written by:
Laura VanDorpe, PTA

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