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Lymphatic Drainage

What is Manual Lymph Drainage?

Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is one of the oldest, most often performed, and time-honored treatments of the body and tissues, removal of toxins, and cleansing of the tissue spaces. MLD was originated by Dr. Vodder in Europe during the 1930s. The effects of MLD techniques have been researched and studied by scientists and doctors for many years. For over 70 years now this therapeutic tool has been used in the successful treatment of over 60 various pathologies. As a result, it is now the fourth most prescribed form of physical therapy in Germany, Austria, France, and the Scandinavian countries.

Therapeutic Benefits of MLD

MLD manually removes blockages in the system and promotes optimal lymph flow. It can provide the perfect fluid environment for our cells. MLD drains the tissue and relieves congestion, enhances lymph low, acts on the Autonomic nervous system, reduces sympathetic firing, thereby promoting relaxation, where ultimately, healing can occur. MLD is also most effective in the relief of pain.

Lymph Drainage Makes the Difference

The sooner lymph drainage is conducted, the faster recovery will be. This is where MLD makes a difference. The technique of gentle massage enhances and stimulates the lymphatic system to more rapidly remove the fluid from around the cells and in the tissues, back into the lymphatic system for removal and ultimate cleansing. The effects of MLD are numerous. It affects the nervous system, smooth muscles, fluid movement in the connective tissue and may have an effect on the immune system. Through the pumping and stretching effect on the lymph vessels, the Vodder method of MLD stimulates the contraction of lymph vessels, helping to move the lymph forward and drain the connective tissues.

What is Lymph?

Lymph is a watery fluid that is circulated through the body through a system of lymph vessels. One of its primary jobs is to remove bacteria, toxins, and certain proteins from the tissues. If the lymphatic system is damaged due to surgery, radiation, trauma, or illness, swelling can occur in the affected area, or areas, of the body. Also, it can become difficult for needed nutrients to be carried by the blood to the body’s tissues. When proper lymph doesn’t occur, cells cannot receive nourishment and may also be exposed to toxins; the disease can result.

Dr. Vodder’s Technique of MLD

Although MLD involves light touch, it is not a simple technique. Each area of the body requires an exact sequence of precise hand movements applied in a specific series of repetitions. MLD must be performed by the body’s natural direction of lymph flow.

Benefits of MLD For Breast Health

The breasts are especially vulnerable to become sluggish in the lymph vessels, due to the restrictive nature of clothing and bras, especially those with underwires. The lack of natural drainage of the lymph vessels causes the lymph fluid to accumulate in interstitial spaces where toxins will accumulate and cause toxic compounds to form, which can lead to tumor formation.

We highly recommend that each woman be evaluated by a certified MLD Therapist as to the need and frequency of lymph drainage for each patient. A skilled MLD therapist will feel when the lymph channels are draining freely without restriction. As one in eight women in the U.S. will develop breast cancer, it is a priority to maintain a healthy flow in the breasts.

The Science Behind Manual Lymph Drainage

MLD affects the blood vessels, especially the arterioles. MLD also affects the collector lymph vessels. When the walls are stretched, the stretch receptors are stimulated and they elicit a firing along a nerve that connects with other nerves that cause contraction of the smooth muscles. The precise movements of the Vodder method enable a specific stretching of the lymph vessels that increases the frequency and amplitude of contraction. By mechanically pushing the lymph forward, MLD may also increase the filling of the lymph vessels ahead of the therapist’s hand.

By increasing both the filling capacity of the lymph vessels and the contraction rate in the walls of the collectors, MLD has a very positive effect on draining tissues of excess fluids, i.e. edema fluid in the interstitial spaces. This also increases the protein removal and consequently lowers the colloid osmotic pressure in the tissues. Colloid osmotic pressure is the water-attracting force of proteins and water tends to move toward a higher concentration of proteins. If there are fewer proteins in the tissues, then less water is attracted toward the tissues and the edema is reduced.


Lymphatic Drainage: Vodder Method


Scientific studies and years of clinical experience show that many conditions can benefit from MLD

  • Tendonitis

  • Migraines

  • Leg ulcers

  • Chronic fatigue

  • Scars

  • Chronic pain

  • Strengthens immune system

  • Wounds

  • Stretch marks

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Swelling during pregnancy

  • Parkinson's disease

  • Neuralgia

  • Reactions to toxins

  • Edema

  • Muscle tears

  • Various breast conditions

  • Fractures

  • Tinnitus

  • Stress reduction

  • Tooth pain

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

  • Allergies

  • Acne

  • Burns

  • Emphysema

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Scleroderm

  • Neck pain

  • Sprains

  • Sinusitis

  • Eczema

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