Essential Medical Massage & Wellness

2301 Ohio Dr, Ste 214, Plano, TX 75093

Essential Medical Massage

Specializing in Acute Pain, Rehabilitation and Cancer Care

Phoebe Courcy, LMT, MMP, CPMT

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What is manual lymphatic drainage and what can it do for you?

Posted on December 28, 2012 at 1:04 PM
Manual lymphatic drainage is actually not a 'massage' at all.  That's right.  Many folks are confused by this, including some doctors, who may be hesitant to prescribe this type of technique for post-surgical care, fearing that it is a massage using invasive pressure.  Created and developed by Danish therapists Dr. Emil Vodder and his wife, Estrid, in the 1930's, the Vodder method of lymph drainage has grown to be the most well known manual technique to assist lymph flow and aid in drainage of tissues.

Research in Australia, Europe, and America has proven its efficacy as a stand-alone treatment and as a combination technique with other therapies.

Manual lymphatic drainage(MLD) is a gentle, non-invasive manual technique that is intended to encourage the natural drainage of the lymph from the tissue spaces.  The lymph system depends on intrinsic contractions of the smooth muscle cells in the walls of lymph vessels (peristalsis) and the movement of skeletal muscles to propel lymph through the vessels to lymph nodes.  The lymph nodes then drain to the lymph ducts, which return lymph to the cardiovascular system.

Manual lymph drainage uses a specific amount of pressure (less than 9 ounces per square inch) to gently stretch the skin.  Torque is applied with rhythmic circular movements.  It is basically a gentle pumping motion, following the natural direction of lymphatic flow.  This assists the cutaneous lymphatics in picking up and removing not just fluids, but all the waste products, protein particles and debris from our system. 

If performed correctly with the correct pressure, direction and speed, this technique can greatly enhance surgical recovery, facilitate fluid drainage and produce rapid results.  It also has profound effect on other systems in the body!

So what is MLD good for? 

Here are a few things that MLD is ideal for:
-Sinusitis                                 -Edema & Lymphedema
-Chronic Fatigue                       -Stimulating immune system 
-Vertigo                                   -Arthritis
-Headaches                              -Scar tissue regeneration
-Cancer care (such as with lymph node removal, mastectomy, lymphedema, etc.)
-Post-surgical recovery            


If you or someone you know has lymphedema, I encourage you to visit the National Lymphedema Network for more information.  Find out how this powerful technique can be of great benefit!.

To schedule your manual lymphatic drainage appointment, schedule online today!

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