Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)

  • Rebecka Blentoft
    Rebecka Blentoft

Rebecka Blenntoft – Manual Lymphatic Drainage Therapist

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) can be used to improve many conditions and benefit general health and well-being. Approved by the NHS for the treatment of lymphoedema, MLD is an advanced therapy that uses specific techniques for stimulating the lymphatic system. This enables the removal of toxins and waste products from the body and improve flow of nutrients to the cells and tissues.

What is Manual Lymphatic Drainage?

MLD was developed by Dr Emil Vodder in the 1930’s after extensive research into the workings of the lymphatic system. This advanced therapy works by the therapist stretching the skin lightly in two directions, followed by a ‘zero phase’ of almost no pressure. The therapist uses a slow, rhythmical pumping movement as this stimulates the initial lymph vessels lying just under the surface of the skin. The technique uses set sequences designed to move fluid in the direction of the lymphatic pathways and drain according to lymphatic “bundles” – or areas of the lymphatic system that work together as a unit and drain to the same place. This in turn leads to the absorption of excess fluid and waste products whilst not increasing blood congestion to the area.

How does MLD work?

• Helps drain excess fluid from the tissues of the body
• Reduces pain by its action on the nervous system
• Aids relaxation by its action on smooth muscle and the nervous system
• MLD is believed to improve the immune system

What can be treated using MLD?

• General well-being, combating stress and relaxation
This is due to the MLD technique having a relaxing effect on the sympathetic nervous system and allowing the parasympathetic nervous system to come to the fore. This allows for a change in focus from the daytime “fight or flight” nervous reactions to a more restorative and relaxing state

• Promotes healing of fractures, strains, torn ligaments, bruising and swelling
MLD is an excellent therapy for improving recovery time from accidents and injuries, as well as helping lessen the pain associated with bruising and swelling. After injury, the body starts to protect and repair the damaged areas of tissue by releasing histamines and other substances. It also works very hard to transport cell debris and toxins away from the injury site via the lymphatic system. MLD can stimulate the lymphatic pre-collectors to be able to process more fluid and can increase speed of lymph flow from 8-12 beats a minute to up to 35 beats a minute. This means that the recovery time from injury is significantly faster. MLD also allows vital substances to get to the damaged cells in order to help them repair. The transport of these substances is hindered when there is a lot of swelling, as there is a larger area to cover. With the toxins and histamines encouraged to move away from the injury site, the pain associated with the swelling decreases.

MLD is an excellent therapy for improving recovery time from accidents and injuries, as well as helping lessen the pain associated with bruising and swelling. After injury, the body starts to protect and repair the damaged areas of tissue by releasing histamines and other substances. It also works very hard to transport cell debris and toxins away from the injury site via the lymphatic system. MLD can stimulate the lymphatic pre-collectors to be able to process more fluid and can increase speed of lymph flow from 8-12 beats a minute to up to 35 beats a minute. This means that the recovery time from injury is significantly faster. MLD also allows vital substances to get to the damaged cells in order to help them repair. The transport of these substances is hindered when there is a lot of swelling, as there is a larger area to cover. With the toxins and histamines encouraged to move away from the injury site, the pain associated with the swelling decreases.

• Improves conditions such as sinusitis, scleroderma, acne & skin complaints
MLD allows vital nutrients and substances to be transported to the cells of the skin, as well as removing waste products, proteins, and excess water. Regular treatment of the skin can improve texture, tone and colour, and help lessen irritation and scarring. The rhythmic “pumping” technique helps relieve the symptoms of sinusitis and assists the sinuses drain.

• Relieves fluid congestion
Helps reduce the effects of stagnation within body fluids – tired, puffy eyes, swollen ankles and legs due to pregnancy or travel.

• Promotes healing of wounds, burns and improves appearance of scars
This is even true of old scar tissue

• May assist with fertility issues

• Promotes post-surgical healing from cosmetic surgery, caesarean sections, liposuction, skin grafts, operation scars
There are many MLD therapists working with cosmetic surgeons and general surgeons in order to speed up recovery times and reduce swelling, pain and bruising associated with surgery. It is advisable to treat before any operation to “prime” the lymphatic system, and MLD therapists can treat quite quickly after surgery as the technique is gentle enough to work around stitches and bruising.

• Assists in reducing the symptoms of PMT (breast tenderness and bloating)
Breast tenderness can be a problem with many women, and MLD can be beneficial in reducing pain and clearing any blockages that may be causing discomfort.

• Provides a deeply relaxing effect on the nervous system

• Assists in decreasing the recovery time from competitive or strenuous sports
After strenuous exertion, the body releases a number of hormones, chemicals and lactic acid to allow it to cope with the activity and then assist its recovery. MLD can help with speeding up this process, as well as lessening muscle fatigue, soreness and stiffness.

• Assists in the management of pain
The MLD technique stimulates touch receptors in the skin, which in turn travel along nerves via synapses to the brain. When a person is also feeling pain, the pain receptors are also firing signals along the nerves to the brain where it registers discomfort. In stimulating the touch receptors, MLD can assist in triggering an inhibitory nerve response to lessen the signals from the pain receptors. This can help reduce pain felt from a wide variety of causes, from rheumatoid arthritis to injury.

• May strengthen the immune system as a result of the lymphatic system being stimulated

For more information about Rebecka or MLD please contact the clinic on 01865 558561, or email us here.