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WHAT IS Manual lymphatic Draining?

MLD is a light, skin stretching massage that helps promote the movement of lymphatic fluid in a desired direction. It should not be confused with a traditional massage you may receive at a spa.  MLD is very light and the target is not muscles.  In fact, most of the lymphatic system is above the muscle layer. The technique was developed by Dr. Emil Vodder, a fellow Dane, and the Földi’s. Manual Lymphatic Draining is also refereed to as MLD and Lymphatic Massage.


MLD Therapy for Lymphedema is applied to your unaffected areas first, making it possible for the fluid to move out of the affected area, or as we say, “decongest.” An uncompromised lymphatic system that is receiving MLD for toxin removal, autoimmune benefits or similar things, will not necessarily follow the same sequence as for lymphedema. The exception is plastic surgery recovery, as there is often an area affected that needs specific draining.

Deep breathing techniques called diaphragmatic breathing are usually done at the beginning and end of a therapy session to help open your deep lymphatic pathways. It’s not only relaxing, but it helps increase movement of fluid toward your heart.


A Certified Lymphedema Therapist (CLT) who has been specially trained in MLD should perform this therapy for complex and compromised cases, such as lymphedema.

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