Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is a very gentle, light touch massage used to treat a wide range of health problems which includes different types of lymphoedema or swelling of an arm, leg or other part of the body due to an abnormal build-up of a fluid called lymph in the body tissues. MLD uses the lymphatic system to cleanse the body, reduce and ease swelling and strengthen the immune system by stimulating the flow of lymph.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is an advanced therapy in which the practitioner uses specialised and gentle rhythmic pumping techniques to move the skin in the direction of the lymph flow.

What is the Lymphatic System?

The lymphatic system is an important part of the body’s defenses against infection. It is made up of groups of lymph nodes or glands throughout the body, connected by a network of lymphatic vessels. It contains cells which fight infection, transports excess fluid from body tissues and gets rid of waste and bacteria.

Types of Manual Lymphatic Drainage

Lymphoedema Management

Lymphoedema management is a regular MLD appointment intended to keep the area of lymphoedema as reduced as possible after the intensive decongestive lymphatic therapy treatment.

Decongestive Lymphatic Therapy (DLT)

This is an intensive treatment for lymphoedema that combines MLD, bandaging, compression garments, exercise and skin care.

Post Operative MLD

Post operative MLD is the application of specialised and gentle rhythmic pumping massage techniques, used to speed up the healing process after surgery, and is most commonly used following cosmetic procedures.

What are the benefits?

MLD is both preventative and remedial and can enhance your well being. Furthermore, MLD may:

  • Be deeply relaxing and reduce stress
  • Promote the healing of fractures, torn ligaments, sprains and lessen pain
  • Improve many chronic conditions: sinusitus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, acne and other skin conditions
  • Strengthen the immune system as part of a “detox” treatment
  • Relieve fluid congestion: swollen ankles, tired puffy eyes and swollen legs due to pregnancy
  • Be an effective component of the treatment and control of lymphoedema (which may occur after cancer treatment *)
  • Assist in conditions arising from venous insufficiency
  • Promote healing of wounds and burns and improve the appearance of old scars
  • Minimise or reduces stretch marks
  • Enhance healing after cosmetic surgery

* Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK. About 46,000 women get breast cancer in the UK each year. Most of them (8 out of 10) are over 50, but younger women and, in rare cases, men can also get breast cancer.

Coping with a cancer diagnosis and resulting treatment is an emotionally and physically difficult journey for the patient and their family. Following the removal of lymph nodes and radiation therapy, Secondary Lymphoedema or swelling of the arm affects about 25% of breast cancer patients. Symptoms of Secondary Lymphoedema can include:

  • a feeling of fullness or heaviness
  • a tightness and stretching of the skin
  • swelling
  • reduced movement of the joints
  • thickening and dryness of the skin
  • discomfort and/or pain
  • clothing, shoes or jewellery (such as rings or watches) feeling tighter than usual

This condition can cause additional pain, discomfort and anxiety. However, MLD (a non invasive therapy) may successfully treat and manage it.

Tell me about the treatment

The first visit will include a consultation during which the therapist will recommend the number and frequency of future sessions. Each session will last approximately one hour. Where appropriate the therapist will work in conjunction with your medical practitioner.


It is an association of Manual Lymphatic Drainage practitioners from different professional backgrounds, and exists to promote the development of Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) within the UK. It believes that to ensure a high standard of MLD is maintained, practice should be confined to those who have undertaken certification or are undertaking training through the Vodder, Leduc, Földi, Casley-Smith and Asdonk methods.

MLD (Vodder method) and its History

During the early 1930’s Dr. Emil Vodder created a unique range of movements which brought relief from chronic conditions such as sinus congestion and catarrh. Since Vodder's pioneering work, MLD has spread world wide and has become a popular treatment in many European hospitals and clinics in the control of lymphoedema.

To Find Out How Manual Lymphatic Drainage Can Help You …

… call Gail on 01256 323409 or 07720 291197 or Julie on 07941 402915.