Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)
We all have a small amount of fluid (lymph) in our body tissues. This fluid leaves our blood system to provide water and nourishment to the tissues. Most of this fluid is collected by a system of drainage tubes, similar to blood vessels, called the lymphatic system.
Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is very gentle, ‘light touch’ form of massage based on light, rhythmical, very precise hand movements, which works to help re-circulate body fluids and stimulate functioning of the immune system.
MLD encourage the extra lymph fluid to move away from the swollen area so it can drain normally.
MLD also improves lymph fluid drainage through the healthy lymph vessels, which helps control swelling and speeding up body cleansing from unwanted particles.
Breathing techniques are also an important part of this treatment +
Fluoroscopy Guided Manual Lymphatic Drainage
What it is
Fluoroscopy guided manual lymphatic drainage uses specialised massage techniques to help move lymph fluid and reduce the swelling. It is also called the ‘Fill and Flush’ method.
FG-MLD is a way of doing manual lymphatic drainage based on research that used a new test. This test is called mapping of the lymphatics. It shows how fluid moves through the drainage vessels just under the skin (the superficial lymphatics) and how it builds up in certain areas.
The test allowed researchers to identify lymph drainage pathways that work and those that don't. They also found other drainage routes that can take over when certain channels get blocked.
The research helped people who do MLD to develop hand movements that can work better in moving the fluid away from swollen areas.
Lymphoedema specialists need special training to do FG-MLD.
You usually lie down to have MLD. But if you have lymphoedema in your head and neck, you sit up.
When you have FG-MLD, the lymphoedema practitioner uses particular hand movements to encourage the lymph fluid to drain. You feel pressure on the skin. The skin movements are firm but comfortable, slow and rhythmic.
You might have FG-MLD daily from Monday to Friday. Or you might have it 3 times a week, for about 3 weeks.
The number of treatments you have depends on the amount and type of swelling you have. Your specialist will use their knowledge of FG-MLD to adapt the way they treat your swelling.
For some people, having the lymphofluoroscopy mapping test can help the MLD to work better.
Lymphofluoroscopy mapping of the lymphatics
Lymphofluoroscopy mapping shows up problems with the flow of lymph after lymph node treatment. Treatments like surgery or radiotherapy can change the way lymph fluid usually drains.
Mapping your lymphatics might help you to have a better response to MLD. Your lymphoedema specialist will see the unique problems you have with the flow of lymph, especially in the area where you had cancer treatment. They can then work out an individual treatment plan for you.
Dr Vodder Technique
MLD was developed by Dr. Emil and Estrid Vodder in the 1930’s following many years of research into the lymphatic system.
Vodder method is one of the most popular and is today used in many countries throughout the world.
Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is a specialised massage technique that should only be practised by trained therapists.
What is the benefits of MLD treatment?
MLD may be used as part of your :
Lymphoedema treatment DLT
Lipoedema Treatment DLT
As well as being and excellent way of enhancement for your general well being and general body detox treatment
Manual lymphatic drainage can prove beneficial in the correction of numerous conditions:
Reduction of oedema, swelling (e.g. pregnancy related, hormonal issues, puffy eyes)
Pre and post cosmetic surgeries – to aid healing and reduce swelling
Pre and post most surgeries – to aid recovery, reduce bruising and swelling
Skin condition (e.g. eczemas, acnes etc)
Immune system stimulation
Reduction of symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia
Pain relief (e.g. migraines, headaches, joint pain
Recovery from fracture, sprains, strains, torn ligaments & sports injuries – promote healing and aid with pain relief
Deep relaxation to aid insomnia, depression, anxiety and stress
Aiding a detox program
Digestive disorders, bloating, IBS
How Does Kinesiology Tape Help with Lymphatic Drainage?
Kinesio Taping is very effective in treating acute or chronic oedemas. With 24hr use, Kinesio Taping augments treatment by opening up lymphatic pathways - even when the patient is not in clinic.
In the UK it is recognised as an effective and successful treatment for lymphoedema reduction.
When kinesiology tape is applied to an inflamed or swollen area, the lifting motion of the tape creates a space between the top layer of skin and the underlying tissues. This space creates a pressure gradient between this area and the surrounding tissues that allows fluids to move into the lymphatic vessels and be eliminated from the body.
Applications can also encourage lymphatic fluid to move from areas of high pressure to low pressure and towards working lymph nodes.
In addition, enhanced muscle activation increases the muscle pump pushing more fluid through the lymphatic vessels. The result? Swelling goes down, pain is relieved, and the healing process is accelerated.
Taping can affect the lymphatic system in several ways:
On the skin it causes a massage-like movement that directs lymph away from an affected area. When placed over areas of fibrosis, the lifting and massage action, as well as the increased movement of skin also assists in softening these tissues.
The motion of the tape and its action on sensory receptors in the skin can improve muscle contraction. This enhances the function of the deeper lymph vessels nearby.
Tape can be placed to stabilize joints that have been affected by lymphoedema.
As the tape affects the muscles and skin it also improves the ability of blood to flow in and out of the treated area. This improved circulation aids in healing.
Swelling can place pressure on sensory receptors in the skin thus causing pain, numbness or reduced sensitivity. When excess fluid is removed the pressure is reduced and the ability of these receptors to communicate with the brain is improved.
Thus taping can be very helpful as an adjunct to lymphoedema treatment. It is particularly useful in the reduction of truncal, head, and neck lymphoedemas or areas where compression is difficult or not appropriate.