Manual Lymphatic Drainage
For primary and secondary lymphoedema, lipoedema, fibromyalgia, after aesthetic surgery, pregnancy, improved immunity, stress, skin health and more.
I am a qualified manual lymphatic drainage therapist and Lymphoedema Training Academy therapist for lymphoedema, including for cancer related lymphoedema.
Packages available for follow up appointments or book single massage appointments
Help your lymphatic system with
manual lymphatic drainage massage
The aquarium within
‘The lymphatic system is the septic system, the immune defence and also the nourisher of the body.
It is the ‘Cinderella System’ waiting to be fully recognised as one of the most crucial and important systems of the body.
Sedentary life, poor breathing, stress, diseases, accidents, aging and surgeries contribute to slowing it down even further and the lymph gets sluggish’. Edely L Wallace
Benefits of manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) massage
Since the immune system is directly linked to the lymphatic system, MLD can stimulate white blood cell circulation, improve immune system function, and increase antibody production. This will fight off infections like colds or flu and reduce inflammation.
People who are prone to getting sick are also encouraged to get lymphatic drainage massage on a regular basis.
When lymphoedema is diagnosed
Lymphoedema is the swelling of a part of the body due to a build-up of fluid in the skin. It usually affects the legs or arms, but can affect any part of the body. Lymphoedema occurs when there is a problem with the lymphatic system. The lymphatics form part of your immune system and are responsible for cleansing your tissues and maintaining a balance of fluids in your body. If the lymphatic system is not working correctly, the fluid in the tissues builds.
Medical or Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is ‘a very gentle skin stretching technique or massage designed to move the skin in specific directions based on the underlying structure and physiology of the lymphatic system’ (British Lymphology Society, 2001). The stretching and massage techniques are designed to stimulate the lymphatic vessels which carry substances vital to the body’s defences and remove waste products. The aim of MLD is to move fluid to an area where it can flow more freely.
The MLD technique I use is Fluoroscopy Guided MLD (FG-MLD/’Fill and Flush’ technique) taught by the Lymphoedema Training Academy. This pioneering technique has been developed by Prof J P Belgrado (University of Brussels) following the imaging of over 1500 lymphatic systems. This had allowed identifying for the first time the usual lymphatic pathways used following a pathology. Fluoroscopy also provides real-time images of the lymphatics allowing for us to see how to use our hands to move fluid better and ensure that we are carrying out an effective technique. It is from the feedback of fluoroscopy that Prof. Belgrado has developed the new and researched based technique known as ‘Fill and Flush’.
Compared to traditional massage, the pressure applied with manual lymphatic drainage is significantly lighter, with traction and gentle stretching of the skin and fascia. The goal of these techniques is to manipulate the lymphatic vessels located in our tissue and fascia. This is significant in treatment because fascia is now considered to be an important factor in relation to managing pain syndromes such as Fibromyalgia. Fascia is a comprehensive network of connective tissue that is found all over the body and contains lots of pain-sensing nerves. In Fibromyalgia (and other pain conditions), the brain is mistakenly triggering a ‘fight or flight’ response which then contracts muscle tissue and fascia. So when we get tight in our shoulders or when we get slightly acidic or dehydrated, our lymphatic system can no longer pick up cellular waste and other debris in your body effectively which forces the waste to build in your tissues. As this waste builds in your tissues, it becomes more acidic and more inflamed. It is sustained tightness of fascia that can cause pain, generates inflammation and creates knots in muscles known as trigger points. Several studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of manual lymph drainage (MLD) for the treatment of Fibromyalgia. This rhythmic and gentle skin stretch technique has been demonstrated to show positive results for reduction in pain and stiffness, and improved sleep. MLD also helps with stress and anxiety. Stress is known to trigger the sympathetic nervous system, and this causes muscles to tense up and increases respiratory and heart rates. However, MLDwill trigger the parasympathetic nervous system, which is known to relax muscles and slow the heart and respiratory rates.
Lymph drainage massage is also used before and after surgery, especially cosmetic procedures. It is able to increase blood flow, remove stagnant tissue fluid, and reduce stress and anxiety associated with surgery.
After surgery, lymphatic drainage massage will speed healing and reduce scar tissue and inflammation. Your surgeon will advise the best treatment protocol regarding MLD.
MLD improves comfort in the legs and feet during pregnancy where extra water is present.