Manual Lymphatic Drainage

A very gentle manual technique utilizing rhythmic, precise hand movements and sequences that aim to influence vessels under the skin to improve lymphatic flow and aids in re-routing congested lymphatic areas

What is MLD?

Developed by Dr. Emil Vodder in 1932, Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is a very gentle manual technique utilizing rhythmic, precise hand movements and sequences that aim to influence vessels under the skin to improve lymphatic flow and aids in re-routing congested lymphatic areas.

The aim of the MLD therapist is to restore equilibrium in the tissues. If the lymphatic system is functioning well, we feel well.

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How to identify a Certified Lymphatic Therapist?

Finding a licensed massage therapist doesn't imply she or he is qualified to provide MLD therapy (the primary component of Complete Decongestive Therapy - CDT) for your lymphatic condition including post-surgical or cancer treatment. In North Carolina, one can be a Licensed Massage & Bodywork Therapist (LMBT) but to practice and provide benefits of Manual Lymphatic Drainage treatments recommended after oncology, cosmetic or orthopedic surgery one needs, at the minimum, advanced and specialized training from a LANA (Lymphology Association of North America) recognized school. Specialists with this qualification will have CLT initials after their title and their license and certification will be displayed. 

It is important to use the most qualified surgeons for surgery.  Board-certified surgeons from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Board of Plastic Surgery have completed 6- 8 years of specific training by an accredited USA training program.

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What are the benefits?

There are many conditions that benefit from the application of MLD because of its propensity to move fluid, but it also has other properties that have great therapeutic value besides decongesting tissue.

Because it is a very light manual technique, utilizing repetitive and continuous hand movements, it has a deeply calming effect on the nervous system and has been found to promote pain-relief.

Evidence shows a consequence of MLD is boosting the immune system. Certainly, people who are receiving MLD on a regular basis, report that they no longer pick up colds and sore throats as frequently as they may have done before having the treatment.

Though it can be beneficial for many people, there do exist some contraindications to treatment. Before any treatment commences, a full medical history will be taken from you to determine that this treatment is suitable for you.

Why should I receive MLD?

MLD can be a great benefit for many people.  However, if you are planning cosmetic, reconstructive or orthopedic surgery MLD can help with post-operative swelling.

Those who have lymphedema, a chronic condition caused by the accumulation of protein-rich fluid, also benefit from MLD in addition to proper compression garments and care.