Manual Lymphatic Drainage
Manual lymphatic drainage is a light, repetitive manual detoxifying technique that brings you into a relaxed state. This technique boosts your immune system, detoxes the body, and provides an analgesic effect. MLD focuses on creating open lymphatic pathways to assist with fluid movement, calming of inflammation, and excreting toxins.
MLD may be indicated for treatment or prevention if:
You are at a high risk for lymphedema
You need prehabilitation or rehabilitation after or before a surgery that may result in chronic inflammation
You are dealing with a swollen limb or edema
You have an autoimmune disorder or pain from chronic inflammation
You have chronic migraines
You experience fatigue, pain, and/or sleep disturbances from fibromyalgia
How often do you need MLD?
The number of sessions will vary depending on the reason you are seeking manual lymphatic drainage, or the number of sessions a referring physician prescribes. However, in some instances (specifically for prevention of lymphedema) the MLD therapist will provide a client education plan, in which case she will teach you at-home, self MLD techniques for sustainability.
What is the lymphatic system?
The lymphatic system’s primary function is to absorb and transport throughout the body. The lymphatic system works in parallel to the circulatory system. Unlike the circulatory system, however, it is not a closed circuit with a central pump, meaning the lymphatic system requires smooth muscle to run properly. At times, the smooth muscle can become overwhelmed and the rate of lymph (known as lymphangiomotoricity) slows. Oftentimes this creates swelling, puffiness, or inflammation in the body. MLD uses a light, repetitive technique to help the lymphatic vessels function as they should be on their own during this overwhelmed state.
Lymph fluid is made of proteins, water, toxins, and waste products from the body’s tissues. In addition, the system produces and transports immune cells (lymphocytes, also known as B-cells and T-cells) that fight bacteria and viruses. B-cells and T-cells enter the lymph node where they become immunocompetent. Lymph fluid is normally absorbed from body tissues and moves through a series of lymph vessels. As fluid passes through the lymphatic system, it acts as a purifying system that filters out harmful material. Because of this, MLD is often used as a preventive, immune-boosting tool as well.