Lymphatic Drainage Massage

facialLymphatic Drainage Massage is one of the oldest, most effective treatments for healing, detoxifying and relaxing the body.   It was developed in the early 1930’s by Dr. Emil Vodder who created a special type of light massage-like movements that included massaging lightly over  lymph nodes. In doing this, he found that it cured a range of ailments.  In his studies Dr. Vodder noted 60 different ailments and conditions that were helped or cured by this treatment.   These include migraine and chronic headaches, constipation, common acne and acne rosacea, tinnitus, eczema, whiplash, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid and osteo-arthritis, sinus congestion and tendinitis just to name a few. It is also an excellent therapeutic method for facial rejuvenation and to reduce puffiness, fine lines and wrinkles.  By the 1950’s, Dr, Vodder, along with his wife, Estrid, began educating the European world on lymphology and began teaching others about the benefits of Manual Lymphatic Drainage or MLD.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage is a type of specialized massage where light, rhythmical hand movements are used to move lymphatic fluid through the lymphatic system.   The focal point of this massage is to move fluid from the swollen area, through the lymph nodes, and allow it to return to the blood circulation once it has been cleaned.  The lymphatic system plays a huge role in immunity, aids with the removal of waste at the cellular level and facilitates the transport of nutrients and oxygen to cells.

Within the human body, damage to the lymph transport system, which includes lymph vessels or lymph nodes, can lead to edema or swelling, better known as lymphedema. This condition can result in localized swelling of the limbs causing discomfort and pain,  and can affect mobility and self-esteem.  There are two basic types of lymphedema- primary and secondary. Primary lymphedema is believed to be hereditary and caused by issues within the lymph transport system at birth.  Insufficient vessels or weak vessels may cause difficulty dealing with the load; therefore, affecting lower limbs beginning with the feet and ankles.  Secondary lymphedema can occur due to damage to the lymphatic system.  This can occur when nodes are removed during surgery or after cancer treatments, such as radiation.  Both types of lymphedema are quite progressive and can result in swelling of the limbs, trunk, or face.  A big part in managing these types of problems is manual lymphatic drainage (MLD).  The ongoing use of MLD helps keep the lymph nodes moving and stimulated.  This encourages the body to open up other pathways and in doing so this activates the body’s natural backstop in the event of tissue overload.  MLD therapists can assist in redirecting the lymph issue by bypassing where the nodes have been removed and taking fluid to the next available nodes within the system.

There are many other conditions that benefit from the use of Manual Lymphatic Drainage.  Due to its ability to move fluids, it not only de-congests tissue but also has an analgesic effect on the pain and touch receptors of the central nervous system. The light, repetitive touch of MLD stimulates the touch receptors, whose signals overtake those sent out by the pain receptors of the body. Due to this shared pathway, MLD, in practice, does have an analgesic effect, which alleviates pain.  MLD is routinely used after surgery to reduce swelling, bruising and to speed healing.  It is very useful in cases of sinus congestion, allergies, and general pain.

MLD also aids in boosting the immune system by speeding up the functioning of the lymphatic system, which is often impeded by lymph stagnation.  By stimulating the removal of metabolic wastes and toxins from the tissues, the body is better able to bring fresh nutrients, hormones and oxygen to the tissues, resulting in better overall functioning and health.

MLD is also safe to use throughout pregnancy, for both mother and child. As long as pre-eclampsia is not an issue, MLD can be used to treat puffy ankles or eyes and  tired or swollen legs. It can also assist in relieving pregnancy induced carpal tunnel and making it manageable. During the laboring stage of pregnancy, MLD can be used as a calming tool due to its soporific effect.

As a relaxation method, MLD is an ideal stress reliever. Because of the lightness and rhythmical nature of the movements, the recipient easily goes into a relaxed trance or downright falls asleep.  The result is a feeling of deep relaxation and well-being.

For the most part, lymphatic drainage massage is safe. However, there are a few conditions where it may be contraindicated. These conditions include: Acute Inflammation, Malignant Tumors, Thrombosis, Major Heart Conditions and those with a Cancer Diagnosis. Patients with these conditions should consult their physician prior to receiving a lymphatic drainage massage.

To book an appointment for lymphatic drainage massage, please visit our website at


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