Manual lymph drainage (MLD) is a gentle technique initially developed by Dr. Emil Vodder, a Denmark PhD. MLD is a specialized form of massage that can stimulate the lymphatic system to improve lymphatic fluid flow, and re-direct the fluid to alternate (unaffected) lymphatic pathways, thereby reducing swelling.
Dr. Vodder developed the technique of MLD in the 1930s. While working on the French Riviera treating patients with chronic colds, he noticed these patients had swollen lymph nodes. In the 1930s it was taboo to tamper with the lymphatic system due to the medical profession's poor understanding of this system. He began to study the lymph system, and developed careful hand movements to cause lymph movement. After more research, Vodder then introduced this technique to the world in Paris, France.
The light strokes manipulate lymph nodes and lymphatic vessels, increasing their activity and promoting the flow of lymph. It has a very powerful relaxing and calming effect on the nervous system, and compared to other hands on massage techniques it is very light in pressure (skin deep only). The gentle, rhythmic, pumping, massage movements follow the direction of lymph flow and produce rapid results.
Research in Australia, Europe and North America has proven its efficacy as a stand-alone treatment and in combination with other therapies, such as compression taping/garments, prescribed exercises. MLD should not be confused with "Lypossage", a branded "spa" technique that claims to offer similar results of plastic surgery procedures. I have done MLD on post surgical clients with good results, and I have also worked on clients who have a slight buildup of fluid seen via thermography.
WHAT IS LYMPHATIC FLUID?
The circulatory system is comprised of two interconnected subsystems: the cardiovascular system which transports blood, and the lymphatic system which transports lymphatic fluid or ‘lymph’. As part of normal circulatory and metabolic functions, our bodies circulate nutrient-rich fluid throughout our tissues. This fluid (called ‘interstitial fluid’) arrives at the tissues via the blood stream, and must eventually return to the heart.
Normally, 80% of all tissue fluids that return to the heart travel in the blood stream, while the other 20% returns via the lymphatic system. Fluid traveling through the lymphatic system back to the heart passes through lymph nodes where smaller lymphatic vessels combine to form larger vessels. Aside from its role in maintaining a proper balance of fluid between the body’s tissues and the circulatory system, the lymphatic system is a vital component of the immune system. Lymph in of itself is not toxic to your body, but build up can result in bacterial infection.
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