Manual Lymphatic Drainage
Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) was developed largely by Drs. Emil and Estrid Vodder in France, in the 1930’s. The first focus of the work was with sinus infections, enlarged lymph nodes and acne. It remains a very popular therapy in Europe and is becoming more well known in the United States. MLD reduces soft tissue pain, stimulates the immune system and relieves mind-body stress, often inducing a meditative state.The lymphatic system is composed of lymph vessels and nodes, clusters of lymph nodules in the respiratory and digestive tracts, lymphocytes, lymphatic fluid and organs (tonsils, spleen and thymus). It is connected to and dependent on the vascular system, but unlike that system, it does not have its own “pump.” Fluid is moved through the lymphatic system with normal movement, exercise, breathing, and other natural internal movements such as the heart beating and abdominal peristalsis.
Important functions of the lymphatic system include balancing body fluids, distributing immune cells, cleaning out excess proteins and toxins, transporting digested fats and helping with tissue repair.
Many factors may contribute to lymphatic stagnation or edema, including emotional stress, toxins, lack of exercise, poor diet, chronic infections, soft tissue injury, allergies, and hormone cycles. Manual lymphatic drainage assists in these conditions by gently moving fluids out of body tissues and into the lymphatic system, to be transported through lymph nodes and purified by lymphocytes.
MLD uses primarily slow, gentle, repetitive, strokes that are rhythmic and precise in their speed, pressure and direction. This type of stroke stimulates the lymph capillaries to contract and encourages the fluid in the tissues to enter the lymphatic system. The work follows the direction of lymph flow, moving fluid towards major drains and groups of lymph nodes.
Consider Manual Lymphatic Drainage to assist in boosting the immune system before and during the cold and flu season, to assist in detoxification, and for fibrocystic breasts.
Primary and secondary lymphedemas are serious conditions which are treated by specialists. Heart and kidney diseases may result in edema, but lymphatic drainage may be contraindicated in these conditions.