Manual Lymphatic Drainage Therapy
and massage for edema pain!

Manual Lymphatic Drainage Therapy, or MLD, is performed for patients who experience edema in legs, arms, abdomen and other areas of the body due to improper lymph flow.

Lymph originates as plasma, which is the fluid portion of blood. After the blood is pumped out of the heart, it begins to slow down as it moves through the capillary bed.

Some of the plasma leaves the arterioles and flows into the tissues, where  it becomes interstitial fluid. About 90% of this fluid continues to move through the circulatory system, but the other 10% becomes the lymph.

The lymphatic system consists of nodes (where lymph is filtered), vessels (which carry lymph into and out of the nodes) and organs. Acting as our own personal filtration system, it is responsible for moving the lymph (waste, microorganisms, and other foreign matter) to the organs that eventually move it out of our bodies.

Lymphatic disruption or obstruction is when lymph nodes are blocked. They are responsible for draining the fluid from the tissues and allowing the immune system's cells to travel and distribute throughout the body.

Lymphatic obstruction is also called lymphedema, which means a swelling of the lymph pathways. This can occur for many reasons.

  • Surgery or Scar Tissue
  • Tumors
  • trauma or injury
  • Infection
  • Radiation Treatments

Benefits of Manual Lymphatic Drainage Therapy

The benefits of lymphatic massage include detoxification, increased fluid movement, increased cell regeneration, boosting the immune system and general healing and break-up of scar tissue.

It is a light, rhythmical massage which encourages elimination of waste, excess fluid, and bacteria. It is performed to improve the flow of lymph by stimulating the vessels.

The clear fluid of the lymphatic system has been compared to the oil in cars that requires a filter and is necessary to the function of every part it touches. Important enough, that without out it, function would not happen.

Costs of Manual Lymphatic Drainage

A one hour massage is usually $95-$125, depending on the location and experience level of the therapist.

Learning MLD at Home

Read more about classes that teach therapists about MLD techniques at

This Lymphatic Drainage DVD teaches how to provide this therapy in a clinic, spa, or for your family at home.

This is a short clip of that DVD:

Manual Lymphatic Drainage Contraindications


While MLD is generally considered safe and beneficial for many individuals, there are certain contraindications and precautions to keep in mind.

It is important to consult with a qualified healthcare professional or certified therapist before undergoing MLD to ensure its suitability for your specific condition.

Here are some common contraindications for manual lymphatic drainage:

  1. Acute Infections: MLD should be avoided if you have an active infection, such as a bacterial or viral infection. Massage can potentially spread the infection throughout the body or exacerbate the symptoms.
  2. Acute Inflammation: If you are experiencing acute inflammation, such as in the case of an acute injury or flare-up of a chronic condition, MLD may not be suitable. Massage can increase blood flow and potentially aggravate the inflammatory response.
  3. Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): Individuals with a known or suspected DVT should avoid MLD, as the massage can potentially dislodge a blood clot and cause serious complications. If you have a history of DVT, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider before considering MLD.
  4. Malignant Tumors: MLD should not be performed over areas with known or suspected malignant tumors. Just out of caution and to avoid interfering with ongoing treatments like radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
  5. Heart Problems: If you have severe cardiac conditions or congestive heart failure, MLD may not be suitable for you. The increased circulation and fluid movement associated with MLD could place additional strain on the heart.
  6. Kidney Problems: Individuals with kidney dysfunction or renal failure should avoid MLD, as the increased lymphatic flow could potentially overload the kidneys and worsen the condition.
  7. Active Bleeding or Hemorrhage: MLD should not be performed over areas with active bleeding or unhealed wounds, as it can interfere with the clotting process and delay healing.
  8. Pregnancy: While Manual Lymphatic Drainage Therapy can be beneficial during pregnancy for certain conditions, it should only be performed by therapists specifically trained in prenatal massage. It is important to consult with your healthcare provider before considering MLD during pregnancy.
  9. Open Skin Infections: If you have open wounds, skin infections, or dermatitis in the area to be treated, MLD should be avoided until the condition has healed.
  10. Acute Thrombophlebitis: MLD should not be performed over areas with acute thrombophlebitis, which refers to inflammation and blood clot formation in superficial veins.

These are some general contraindications for manual lymph drainage therapy, but it is essential to remember that each individual's situation is unique. Always consult with a healthcare professional or certified therapist who can assess your specific condition and determine the appropriateness of MLD for you.

Also known as a great anti-aging treatment, Manual Lymphatic Drainage Therapy is on the menu of many exclusive spas and is often used to speed recovery from many types of surgery.

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