Lymphedema

Manual Lymphatic Drainage

What is Manual Lymphatic Drainage?

Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is a part of lymphedema treatment that patients usually referred to as massage. MLD uses very light pressure to stimulate the lymph vessels that lie just beneath the skin. MLD is an important technique for moving the fluid out of the congested area and back into circulation in the center of the body.

First the areas of the body when nodes are concentrated (neck, axilla, or groin) are stimulated in order to ready them to receive the fluid back towards themselves. There are four basic strokes used called stationary circle, pump, rotary and scoop. Following stimulation, the therapist begins, close to the nodes, moving fluid toward them with slow and rhythmic strokes. The massage continues with the therapist’s hands moving farther away from the cleared nodes by degrees, but always directing the fluid back toward them

Lymph fluid cannot move through hardened (fibrotic) areas, whether the fibrosis was caused by surgery, radiation, or the lymphedema itself. If you have areas of fibrosis blocking lymph flow, your therapist will begin with a deeper massage designed to break up the hardness over time. Putting the fluids back into circulation will make you need to pee.

In order to prevent reaccumulation of the fluid evacuated from the extremity, it is necessary that the MLD treatment is followed up with compression, which depending on the stage of treatment, is applied either with specialized padded bandages or compression garments. Gentle exercises help you improve muscle function and also help the body pump the fluids about.

We have a special MLD trained therapist that can help you significantly with MLD in addition to the gentle exs and training to help you achieve your goals.

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