Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD)

Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) is a safe, effective technique that utilizes slow, rhythmic strokes to increase lymphatic flow. The gentle movements stimulate the lymph vessels to contract, which allows more waste products, proteins and excess fluid to be removed from the body’s tissues and into the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is responsible for moving fluid between the tissues and the blood stream and protects the body from infection and disease through the immune response system. MLD has been used to treat dozens of medical and non-medical conditions.

Madge received her training in Manual Lymph Drainage/Complex Decongestive Therapy in Germany. Her advanced technique takes the best practices of the Vodder method, Földi method and Asdonk method to create the most effective lymph drainage therapy available.

What is a session like?

MLD uses very light pressure as lymph vessels are superficial, located in the subcutaneous layer of the skin. The therapist follows the lymphatic pathways, pushing fluid towards the next lymph node station. The movements are slow and tend to induce a deep relaxed state. Afterwards you may feel sleepy and you may have to urinate from the cleansing effects.

Frequently Asked Questions

How MLD helps the body recover:

  • Reduces swelling and bruising
  • Prevents and or minimizes adhesions and scar tissue formation
  • Reduces pain and inflammation
  • Speeds the healing process
  • Regenerates broken lymph vessels and damaged tissues
Post-operative MLD

  • Same benefits as injuries
  • Special wound and scar treatments accelerates healing and reduces scarring

Pre-operative MLD (1-2 days before surgery)

  • Prepares and detoxifies the tissues to be operated on
  • Enhances immune functioning, helps prevent infections and improves healing results
  • Promotes relaxation
MLD has been shown to be effective in relieving migraines, tension headaches and headaches caused by head trauma/whiplash. Weekly “interval” MLD treatments can help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. Receiving MLD at the first sign of a migraine can prevent full onset of a migraine.

  • Pain is reduced by MLD’s toning effect on dilated extracranial blood vessels
  • Reduces concentration of pain mediators through the removal of metabolic wastes from the meningeal vessels
  • Relaxes hypertonic neck and head muscles
  • Sufferers report feeling a reduction in pressure, throbbing and nausea during the treatment
Lymphedema is a serious medical condition, in which fluid accumulates in a limb or torso due to the lymph system being unable to transport the lymph load. Cancer treatment is the most common cause of secondary lymphedema. Lymph node removal, mastectomy or other surgery, radiation, scarring or chemotherapy can disrupt the flow of lymph. For these patients MLD in conjunction with Complete Decongestive Therapy is recommended. Treatment consists of four parts: MLD, compression bandaging, remedial exercises, and skin care instruction.For more information on lymphedema see resources.
  • Frequent colds
  • Sluggish immune system
  • Detoxification (fasting, nicotine, etc.)
  • Lipedema Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI)
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Scars
  • Burns
  • Wounds
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
  • Allergies
  • Sinusitis
  • Pregnancy related swelling


Manual Lymph Drainage is contraindicated in situations where increasing lymph flow would be harmful to certain medical conditions, such as acute infections, malignant tumors, serious heart problems, and acute thrombosis.

There are other relative contraindications that would be considered on a case by case basis. Your therapist will take a thorough health history and consult your primary care physician if necessary.

How long is an MLD session?

A session may last from 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the condition being addressed and how many lymphatic areas are to be treated.