Manual Lymphatic Drainage

What is manual lymphatic drainage?

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is a light, skin stretching massage that is designed to help move lymph fluid back into remaining lymph vessels and reroute it out of swollen areas. It is a very light and gentle massage that should not be confused with a traditional massage you may receive at a spa.

Phase I is the intensive phase and lasts 3-8 weeks. Typically you will visit your therapist 2-5 times weekly during the intensive phase. You will have MLD and bandaging, along with skin care, education and exercise.

Once your therapist has reduced all the fluid possible out from your affected body, you will enter stage II maintenance phase. This phase lasts lifelong, and you will use compression to prevent reaccumulation of the lymphedema, along with skin care, exercise, and self massage. Your therapist will guide you through these steps and help give you the proper tools and education to help you manage your lymphedema, maximize your quality of life, and reduce your risk of complications.

Flexitouch Pump from Tactile Medical

Flexitouch System Brochure – Tactile Medical

Entre Pump from Tactile Medical

Lympha Press Pump

Lympha Press 2018 Brochure – Lympha Press

Finding a Therapist

There are several different schools and methods of instruction in lymphatic drainage. Use these links to locate a therapist near you.

Klose Therapists

Norton Therapists

Vodder Therapists

The Lymphology Association of North America, which is the organization that certifies lymphedema therapists, also offers a therapist locator.

LANA-Certified Lymphedema Therapists (CLT)

If you are at risk for lymphedema or have existing swelling, it is important to establish a relationship with a certified lymphatic therapist. LANA provides a standard of certification for healthcare practitioners. A CLT-LANA certified therapist must have completed at least 135 hours of lymphedema training from a qualified school and must pass a certification exam. They must also continue their lymphatic education to be recertified.

How to Perform Lymphatic Drainage Massage

Alternate Therapies

Astym Therapy

Quadrivas Therapy

Tui na Massage

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