Warminster Osteopathic Clinic

Our osteopaths treat a variety of pain conditions

01985 213927

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Google Bookmarks Share via e-mail Print

If you like this page, share it!

Warminster Osteopathic Clinic
4 Station Road ● Warminster
Wiltshire ● BA12 9BR

01985 213927 www.facebook.com/WarminsterClinic

Company registered in England & Wales 05751974

Copyright © Warminster Osteopathic Clinic 2017

All rights reserved ● Privacy policySitemap

Manual Lymphatic Drainage

Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is a specialist massage treatment. It works directly on the lymphatic system, redirecting the natural drainage pathway of the excess fluid.

MLD combines a variety of gentle massage techniques, which work lightly over the skin. For some conditions these movements are augmented with slow firmer pressure aimed to reach lymph vessels, which lie deeper inside the body. However, MLD is never painful and many patients find it soporific and fall asleep.

The treatment stimulates the larger lymph vessels and enables them to increase their capacity for transporting fluid. In this way it helps to clear the congestion, or swelling, that has built up.

MLD is a physical treatment, which has four main beneficial effects on the body:

  1. Decongestive. Drains the build up of fluid in connective tissue and increases re-absorption into the venous capillaries.
  2. Analgesic. Is effective in reducing pain.
  3. Immunological. Boosts the immune system.
  4. Is calming to the sympathetic nervous system.


Combined decongestive therapy (CDT)

This treatment combines MLD with compression bandaging. Compression bandaging has three benefits. It compensates for the lack of tissue pressure, softens fibrosis that may be present and stimulates the re-absorption of fluid into the veins and lymph vessels. CDT is proven to be the most successful treatment for patients suffering from lymphoedema.

The period of treatment will depend on each individual. The usual requirement is an intensive period of 3 or more sessions for 2 weeks. The frequency of treatment is then reduced until only an occasional appointment is required to maintain a healthy tissue state. The patient may need to wear compression hosiery between treatments.

Many conditions can be successfully treated using MLD including:

Should my doctor know?

If you are receiving treatment from your doctor then it makes sense to tell him or her about your plans to have MLD. If there is any doubt about your suitability for treatment, then a consent form from your GP will be required. Your therapist will advise you on this matter at your consultation.

History of MLD

Following his pioneering research into the lymphatic system during 1932-1936, Dr Emil Vodder devised a series of massage techniques, which had a direct benefit on the lymphatic system. His findings were first presented in Paris in 1936, and were a great success. The newspapers reported on "lymph drainage, a revolutionary skin treatment".

Until that time the lymph system, formerly known as the "neglected child of medicine", was an unknown factor in the field of physical therapy, "an unexplored and dangerous no-man's land", into which little research had been done.

It was not until the 1950s that other countries showed any interest in Dr Vodder's findings. Now it is widely practised throughout Europe and America, and considered the most effective treatment for primary and secondary lymphostatic oedema.

Further information

MLD uk

The British Lymphology Society

The Lymphoedema Support Network

The Wittlinger Therapy Centre

The lymph vessels form a network throughout the body

Liz Martin

Liz is our Manual Lymphatic Drainage therapist. Click here for more information about her.

Elizabeth Martin