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 …
“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
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
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).
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.
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:
“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).
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 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.
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.
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
Wendy, visiting Nottingham
(She has had Lipoedema and Lymphoedema for more than 30 years)
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.
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
Molly, Nottingham, after three MLD treatments.
(Her ankle injury had required surgery two months previously)
As well as successfully treating lymph oedema, MLD …
"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."
Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD)/CPT session costs from £52 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.
If you would like to book a Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) session then please call me on 0115 845 7113.
You can also email me 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 -
- Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy® - ATMAT -
- 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 -
- Holistic Facial - Face Vitality - Total Detox -
Mar 20, 19 05:00 AM
I've had persistent pain in my sacrum, coupled with a history of slipped/herniated discs, for the past 7 years. I hadn't had a good nights sleep in years
Mar 13, 19 12:57 PM
I recently had vaser liposuction and two days later after the procedure I had MLD massage as recommended by my surgeon. The results were amazing and helped
Mar 12, 19 05:05 PM
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