What is Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)?
Manual Lymphatic Drainage is gentle manipulation of the Lymphatic System. The practitioner gently guides lymph along its natural path along the lymphatic vessels. Because lymph cannot move on its own, this helps clear blockages and stimulates the production of white blood cells and waste removal functions of the system. This greatly optimizes the productivity of the lymphatic system and helps the body get back to its natural desired state of homeostasis.
What does it feel like?
People see the word “drainage” and imagine an intense, painful process. This could not be further from reality! MLD is so gentle and rhythmic that clients often experience a state of deep relaxation. You can learn more about the experience here.
Who can benefit?
I believe that anyone can benefit from this gentle and nurturing form of bodywork. Bodywork stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which signals that you are in a safe and relaxed place. When the nervous system relaxes, all your other systems relax and this can lead to a beautiful space of healing.
MLD has a variety of benefits, including the following:
Detoxification of the body
Immune system support
Relaxation and rejuvenation
Pre-surgery preparation and post-surgery relief
MLD may provide relief to anyone affected by:
Acute or chronic stress
Minor digestive problems
Acute injury, such as broken bones, sprains, whiplash, etc.
Wounds and bruising
Stress and tension related disorders
Physical or emotional trauma
When is a good time to get MLD?
Bodywork in general is great to get regularly to maintain physical and mental well-being. MLD works well when administered seasonally (4 times a year as seasons change) to help the body adjust to pressure, temperature, and pollen changes. It is also suggested when experiencing any of the conditions listed above or before and after any predicted stressors or emotional difficulties arise. Some people enjoy getting bodywork once a week or once a month. Every body is different and reacts to bodywork in its own way. You may try it and find that you love it and want to experience it more frequently, or you may notice that it works when you have intrusive thoughts and may want to have a session on those particularly hard days. Or you may have recently suffered an injury and heard that lymphatic drainage can help get the swelling down so that you can heal faster. I encourage you to keep your mind open to the possibilities!
Who shouldn’t receive MLD?
Because of the physiology of the lymphatic system and the other body systems that it affects, MLD is not recommended for people experiencing certain conditions:
Acute or systematic infection
If you are feeling unwell, are sick, or are recovering from an illness
Poor blood circulation
Acute absence of urination
Abdominal aortal aneurysm
Massive arteriosclerotic changes
Diseases involving inflammation of the intestines, such as Crohn’s disease and colitis ulcerosa
Adhesions in the abdomen as a consequence of surgical intervention
Changes in the abdomen or the lower abdominal region after radiation therapy, radiation cystitis, or colitis
If you have any questions, concerns, or would like clarification or further explanation of anything you just read, please reach out. I would love to hear from you!