Manual Lymph Drainage(MLD)

“Designed to improve the functioning of the
lymphatic system and help treat Lymphoedema”

Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) is an advanced therapy, specially designed to improve the functioning of the lymphatic system. It uses a range of specialised and gentle rhythmic pumping techniques to move the skin in the direction of the lymph flow and stimulate the lymphatic vessels.

MLD can …

  • prevent lymphoedema deterioration
  • decrease swelling
  • improve mobility
  • increase your comfort levels
  • improve the way your oedema looks and feels
  • help you get into shoes
  • prevent cellulites

You can reach Touching Well by mobile: 0794 227 6538, or via our landline 0115 648 9636, or the contact form.

Opening times: Monday to Thursday daytime

 I hope to see you soon. With warm regards, Regina

“I came to Regina with swelling in the head and neck area. Over the last few months she has reduced the swelling with her MLD therapy so that it is almost gone. The massages are always excellent and I look forward to them.”
Asha, Derby

What is Lymphoedema?

ancient oedema

Lymphoedema is a swelling that arises because the lymphatic system is unable to function properly. This may be as a result of the lymphatic system not developing properly, or through damage or trauma. It has been around for millennia, as the Egyptian wall sculpture to the left shows. 

Approximately a quarter of women get lymphoedema of the arm, breast or chest wall some time after the treatment of breast cancer.

The lymphatic system is a central part of the immune system and has a critical role in maintaining the flow of fluids (lymph) around the body, and also removing and transporting waste products from body tissues.

If the lymphatic system is in some way damaged it can lead to fluid building up in the body’s tissues, as a result of poor drainage. Swelling occurs when the amount of fluid in an area is greater than the capacity of the lymphatic system to transport it away.

Lymphoedema can affect any part of the body but is most commonly seen in the arm or leg. Although thought to be relatively uncommon, a recent study has estimated that at least 100,000 people in the UK may be affected by this condition (this is more common than Multiple Sclerosis).

Lymphoedema Mythbuster

To find out more, visit the Lymphoedema Support Network’s website.

Once lymphoedema is present, it tends to deteriorate if left untreated. The oedematous tissues harden (fibrosis) and chronic inflammation remains present.

The good news is that lymphoedema can be managed successfully with professional help.

Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) can help treat Lymphoedema

Although a form of massage, MLD differs from ordinary massage. It is very gentle, with the aim being to encourage the movement of fluid/lymph away from swollen areas.

The general sequence is:

  • stimulation of lymph nodes
  • breathing exercises to stimulate deep lymphatic drainage
  • massage of chest, abdomen and back to clear central body areas
  • gentle, rhythmic strokes to assist drainage of limbs, trunk and/or head.

“The MLD massage was ever so gentle. I felt very energised after it in spite of expecting a “healing crisis”, e.g. headache or similar. I was bouncy and full of life.”
Cristina, Mapperley, Nottingham

Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) is a vital part of what is known as Complex Physical Therapy (CPT).

Complex Physical Therapy (CPT)

CPT (also known as Complex/Complete Decongestive Physiotherapy - CDP/CDT or,  more descriptive, Decongestive Lymphatic Therapy - DLT) is the standard treatment for lymphoedema. It consists of four elements:

  • Compression (bandages or garment)
  • Manual lymph drainage (MLD)
  • Exercises
  • Skin care

Compression on its own reduces the oedema, however, it has been shown that Manual Lymph Drainage speeds up the process.

The treatment consists of an intensive and a maintenance phase. The intensive phase involves more frequent treatment with MLD and bandaging.

The maintenance phase begins when there is no further reduction in the oedema, usually after 2-3 weeks. Then a compression garment is fitted. This is an important way of controlling swelling. Compression sleeves can be used for swollen arms and compression stockings for swollen legs.

The garments (and the bandaging) work by compressing the swollen tissues and stopping fluid from building up. At the same time, they help to move the fluid to an area that is draining well. The support allows the muscles to pump fluid away more effectively. The design of the garments means that more pressure is applied in certain areas to encourage the fluid to drain.

A compression garment should be worn all day, but can usually be taken off at night when you are lying down and resting.

The Touching Well Session

During the first session a full history is taken. We may measure the limb, and or take photos (subject to your permission), so that we can track the progress of the treatment. We will discuss your treatment options. These obviously will depend on the severity of the oedema, and your desired outcome (sadly I can't take it away).

For example I have elderly clients, whose main outcome is to stay mobile. In this case it is most important to prevent cellulitis (a potentially serious infection) and to stop deterioration. Here we will probably not bandage, but opt for compression stockings and MLD. On the other hand I also have younger clients where it is possible and desirable to reduce the limb volume. Here we may decide to have more intensive therapy, including bandaging.

Each session takes place in private, on a one-to-one basis, in comfortable, informal premises (as opposed to a hospital outpatient setting). A session can last between 45 minutes and 2 hours, depending on your particular needs.

I may give you a booklet with specialist exercises that you can use to support your treatment. You will probably be offered Deep Oscillation to enhance the treatment.

As a matter of course, I work in conjunction with your medical practitioner and/or your consultant. In this way, you will be sure of receiving the best care possible.

“Very good. MLD was a most relaxing and helpful treatment. I had more information and practical advice in two visits than I have had from anybody else.”
Wendy, visiting Nottingham
(She has had Lipoedema and Lymphoedema for more than 30 years)

I am the only fully qualified private lymphoedema therapist in Nottingham

I am based in Nottingham and am a full member of MLD (UK) and of the British Lymphology Society (BLS). I have trained in the Casley Smith method in the management of lymphoedema using Complex Physical Therapy, including Manual Lymph Drainage.

In addition to this I have taken courses at the world renowned specialist Foeldi Clinic in Germany, in order to continually keep my knowledge up to date. I am also a trained nurse (RGN) and massage practitioner. I update my skills every other year and I regularly attend MLD conferences.

Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) can effectively treat other symptoms as well

MLD can be applied to many conditions and is excellent as a preventative measure to enhance well-being.

“I am very happy with the excellent results of my treatment. I would recommend Regina to anyone who wishes to speed up recovery after injuries.”
Molly, Nottingham, after three MLD treatments.
(Her ankle injury had required surgery two months previously)

As well as successfully treating lymph oedema, MLD …

  • Clears the skin
  • Can be part of a detox
  • Can be profoundly relaxing
  • Alleviates fluid congestion such as tired puffy eyes and fluid retention due to pre-menstrual syndrome or pregnancy
  • Promotes the healing of wounds and burns and can improve the appearance and texture of old scars
  • Is a key element in the treatment of venous oedema
  • Has successfully been used to aid the healing of leg ulcers
  • May be used pre and post surgery to aid healing
  • Is particularly useful after cosmetic surgery.
  • Can help to treat paralysed limbs after spinal cord injury or stroke

"I have severe mobility problems as a result of a high spinal cord injury. I have found lymphatic drainage can alleviate some of these problems, including my swollen legs, coldness and fatigue."
Alan, Nottingham


A Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) / Complex Physical Therapy (CPT) session costs from £56 per hour. In the past some clients could claim through their private medical insurance.

In addition you may need bandages and/or compression hosiery. These are available on prescription or privately.

For more information about prices, please click here.

Call me to arrange a session

You can contact me on 0115 648 9636 or 07942276538, or via the contact form

If you have any questions or would like to discuss something in particular, then please feel free to get in touch.

I look forward to hearing from you.


P.S. I thought you might want to read stories of clients I have treated in the past. If you do, here is what  Naomi and Annette have written. And if you have a story you'd like to share why not visit "Your massage stories" .

P.P.S. You can also visit "Your massage questions" to ask any MLD or lymphoedema related question or read other people's questions and my answers.

You might also be interested in:

List of treatments
Myofascial Release (MFR) - Saving Hands massage -
Therapeutic massage -
Maya Abdominal Therapy -
- Seated Acupressure - Indian Head Massage - Pulsing - Reiki -
- Reflexology - Tsuboki Foot Massage - Hopi Ear Candles -
Hot and Cold Stone Massage - Myofascial dry cupping -
Aromatherapy Massage - Aromatherapy Lymphatic Massage (ALM) -
- Fertility Massage - Pregnancy Massage - Post-natal Massage -
- Dorn Method - Breuss Massage -
- Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) - Deep Oscillation -
 - Treatment for lymphoedema - Treatment after cosmetic surgery -
Holistic Facial - Face Vitality - Total Detox -
 - Virtual sessions - Supervision

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