Manual Lymph Drainage


Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) increases lymph flow through the application of precise, gentle, and rhythmic movements applied according to the flow of the lymphatic vessels.



The Lymphatic System

The lymphatic system consists of a network of lymph vessels and lymph nodes that have multiple functions.  It is involved in the collection and transportation of the fluid in our body and plays an important role in immune function.  Unlike the cardiovascular system which uses a pump for distribution, our lymph vessels require external pressure and movement from surrounding structures to generate fluid transport.  Under normal conditions our body can cope with any additional fluids.  However when there is injury, surgery, or an underlying systemic condition the lymphatic system becomes overloaded and its capacity to compensate decreases.  In such cases swelling or edema forms.  Depending on the situation, this can be temporary or long-standing.  The goal of MLD is to stop the progression of this excessive fluid buildup and/or to remove it.  Although very gentle and relaxing, this treatment can significantly speed up a person’s recovery.

Indications for

Manual Lymph Drainage

  • Lymphedema following cancer treatment (surgery/radiation)
  • Post-operative edema (cosmetic, diagnostic, medical treatment)
  • Traumatic edema (falls/accidents)
  • To help with wounds, burns, scar tissue, fibrosis
  • To decrease pain
  • To restore fluid equilibrium in the tissue
  • To promote relaxation/reduce anxiety
  • To strengthen lymphatic function


Apart from increasing lymph flow, Manual Lymph Drainage also has a pain relieving effect, and is gentle enough to be used with even recent trauma such as surgeries.  MLD is a superficial skin technique, and is most effective when light minimal pressure is applied to the treatment areas.  The treatment is painless, soothing, and relaxing with no side effects. It is therefore effective and safe enough to begin as soon as swelling is either anticipated or already noticeable.  It is performed with a great deal of precision and requires a well-trained therapist to obtain good results.

Combined Decongestive Therapy

Combined Decongestive Therapy (CDT) helps patients manage lymphedema that has developed following cancer treatment. CDT uses a combination of Manual Lymph Drainage, Compression Bandaging, Exercise Therapy, and Skin Care.