The lymphatic system, one of the most vital systems in our body, is essential for good health. It is an extensive drainage network that helps keep fluid levels in the body in-balance and defends against infections. MLD (also know as Lymphedema or Lymphatic massage) is a gentle, non-invasive manual therapy that uses specific rhythmic stretch and release movements to help reduce traumatic and post-surgical swelling (edema) by helping your lymphatic system pump fluid out of a swollen area. A healthy, active lymphatic system uses the natural movements of smooth muscle tissue to do this, however, damage to the body from injuries, radiation, and/or surgeries (both medical and elective) can cause the lymphatic system to fail to remove this fluid buildup. Swelling is the enemy of healing! Your doctor or physical therapist may suggest MLD for swelling so the body can begin the healing process post-surgery or injury.
MLD sessions will last between 30 - 90 minutes, based on how much work is needed (this will be determined prior to your session); several sessions of MLD will likely be needed to get edema under control.
Manual Lymphatic Drainage is associated with many positive effects in the body. MLD improves uptake of interstitial fluid into the lymphatic system, increases the movement (volume and speed) of lymph fluid throughout the body, has a soothing and pain-relieving effect in the body, and redirects lymph fluid around areas that are blocked due to scar tissue or lymph node removal and sends it to healthy lymph vessels. Below are just some of the conditions that respond well to MLD:
MLD can also provide symptomatic relief for a variety of conditions. The analgesic (pain-relieving) effects promoted by MLD are due to the accelerated drainage of pain-causing (nociceptive) substances from treated areas. In addition, the light pressure used in MLD provides a stimulus for "gate control." The Gate Control Theory is a medical notion that one's nerves can be stimulated in a way that they close the "gates" which send pain signals to the brain. The light pressure used in MLD, as well as the gentle, rhythmic strokes, decreases the body's sympathetic (fight or flight) mode and promotes a parasympathetic (rest and digest) response. Because of this, MLD can be effectively utilized for neurological disorders, autoimmune diseases and other systemic disorders. Some examples are:
MLD is not appropriate for every person. We will do our best to work with everyone we can however, there are some absolute contraindications to receiving MLD. If you have any of the conditions below, we are not able to safely treat you and you will not be able to receive MLD.
We may be able to work with those with the following conditions (if so, special precautions will need to be taken) - these are relative contraindications:
Special considerations will be made for:
Health & Harmony does not accept post-cosmetic surgery patients for MLD. This includes, but is not limited to those who have received a face lift, breast augmentation, tummy tuck, liposuction, hip augmentation, or Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL). Please consult with your surgeon for a recommendation of a local CMLDT that performs that type of work.
We will see patients who have had a mastectomy, breast reconstruction, breast reduction, or sex reassignment surgery.
We do not remove surgical drains and/or drain incisions, under ANY circumstance, as it is beyond our scope of practice. If this is a service you require, please consult with your doctor.
Because of the location of lymph nodes, you CMLDT may be required to work in areas that we do not touch during a regular massage, including the breasts (multiple lymph nodes exist in breast tissue).
Depending on your condition, it may be necessary for us to consult with and/or obtain medical clearance from your doctor so that we can treat your condition safely and effectively.