Manual Lymphatic Drainage Therapy is a gentle deep massage that assists equal distribution of lymphatic fluid. The following article provides information about the various benefits of this massage therapy.
The lymphatic system is a network of organs, lymph nodes, lymph ducts, and lymph vessels that produce and transport lymph from tissues to the bloodstream. Lymph is a clear-to-white fluid made of white blood cells and a fluid from the intestines called chyle, which contains proteins and fats.
Lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped, soft nodules. They are located in clusters in various parts of the body, such as the neck, armpit, groin, and inside the center of the chest and abdomen. A condition termed lymphedema, also referred to as lymphatic obstruction, is defined by localized fluid retention and tissue swelling, caused by a compromised lymphatic system.
What is MLD Therapy?
Manual lymphatic drainage therapy or MLD is a kind of massage that assists in lymphatic drainage. There are two methods in which the therapy is given. One method was invented in the early 1930s by massage therapists Dr. Emil and Mrs. Estrid Vodder. The other was the outcome of M.D. Bruno Chikly’s award-winning research on the lymphatic system. MLD may be performed by massage therapists who are specially trained to administer it.
The Vodder method uses gentle massage strokes to stimulate the lymphatic system to eliminate metabolic waste products, excess fluid, and bacteria. In the other method, therapists first discern the existing overall circulation of the lymph flow anywhere in the body. They then use a lymphatic drainage massage technique employing flat hands and all the fingers to simulate body-fluid stagnation down alternate pathways for draining.
The lymphatic system is an important part of the body’s immune system. It carries nutrients to cells and eliminates metabolic wastes, toxins, and excess fluids from the body. There is little difference in both the methods even though they produce similar effects. The therapy helps in detoxification of the body and stimulation of the immune defenses. It encourages fluid circulation and cell regeneration. Some of the other significant benefits are:
- It helps in reducing oedema (build up of fluid in the tissues).
- It may provide relief from ulcers.
- It encourages tissue regeneration (e.g., from burns, wounds, stretch marks, and pre & post surgical scarring).
- It is an important component of control and treatment of lymphedema.
- It improves the skin damage caused due to radiotherapy.
- It also helps in reducing the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.
- It may provide relief from chronic pain, sprains, and strains (sports injuries).
- It may provide relief from numerous chronic and sub-acute inflammations such as sinusitis, bronchitis, hay-fever, and rhinitis.
- It can provides relief from venous insufficiency (weakening of the walls of veins and damage to the valves).
- It assists in the alleviation of adiposis and cellulite tissue.
Consultation with the doctor is essential if you are affected by chronic high blood pressure, heart problems, or other infections. Before going for the therapy it is essential to avoid using lotions or other skin lubricants to enable maximum friction. After MLD, you may observe certain reactions, but don’t be alarmed. Some people may need to pass urine often within a few hours after the therapy, due to increase in fluids in the kidneys. However, ensure to replenish this lost water by drinking sufficient amount of water. A few others may experience nausea or deep body ache.
Between sessions, to optimize the effect of the treatment, self-massage is advised. It involves gently rubbing the lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, groin, and behind the knees. Some also suggest keeping the legs elevated for fifteen minutes after self-massage to increase lymph flow. Other suggestions include a little bit of light exercise between sessions, not wearing under-wire bras, keeping warm, and avoiding sugar and alcohol.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.