MANUAL LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE
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What is Manual Lymphatic Drainage?
Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is a hands-on therapy that increases lymphatic circulation using feather-light massage strokes that gently stretch the skin. It is used to alleviate swelling (edema) due to trauma, surgery, or more chronic conditions such as lymphedema.
MLD from a licensed massage therapist is not the incisional drainage that your surgeon or other doctor will perform immediately post-op. Rather, the drainage refers to MLD strokes stimulating the pumping mechanism of lymphatic channels, which then siphon lymph fluid back into circulation to be processed in the lymph nodes and reintroduced into the blood system. This is an internal process that occurs constantly every day! Most people don't think about their lymphatic system until they're sick and either their lymph nodes are swollen, or if they've had an injury and the fluid accumulates around the injury.
What is a MLD treatment like?
The majority of the treatment is performed with the client face up. The therapist then uses very gentle stretching of the skin to stimulate lymph fluid to be taken in by the lymphatic ducts. Focus is applied to areas where there is a concentration of lymph nodes: the collarbone area, underarms, abdomen, groin, and back of knees. This massage is not painful and many clients report feeling very relaxed. Some will start to feel the lymph moving down their neck or feel the need to clear their throat. Most often there will be a "gurgling" or bubbling sound as the ducts send lymph toward the deeper vessels in the abdomen. A whole-body treatment is usually 60 minutes, while more focused work for post-op recovery and lymphedema ranges from 30-90 minutes.
Why do I need Manual Lymphatic Drainage?
Basically, everybody can benefit from boosting the efficiency of the lymphatic system. From fighting infection to maintaining vital energy, keeping lymph moving and producing antibodies is a good thing. When lymph is stagnant it is not able to rid itself of pathogens and waste. Especially if the nodes are compromised or absent as in lymphedema, or if the entire system has undergone trauma such as surgery of any sort.
How often should I receive an MLD treatment?
For general detoxification, schedule an MLD treatment as desired.
To prevent lymphedema post node removal/radiation, best results are experienced 5x/week for 2-3 weeks, and then maintenance of every other week.
For those living with lymphedema, we recommend 2x/week for 1 month, then a maintenance plan of 1x/week or every other week.
For post-op liposuction, BBL, fat transfer, etc., follow your surgeon's recommendation.
As a general guideline, we suggest:
Week 1 & 2: 5 sessions
Week 3: 3 sessions
Week 4 & 5: 1 session
FULL BODY MLD
A Full Body MLD Session is approximately 60 minutes in duration. Its intention is to stimulate the lymphatic vessels to siphon interstitial fluid back into circulation. This reduces inflammation, enhances immune function, and reduces edema. Some clients only need the Full Body MLD session to see a reduction in lymphedema, while others will need more advanced focused sessions.
UNILATERAL UPPER OR LOWER EXTREMITY MLD
Unilateral Upper Extremity Lymphedema is usually a result of masectomy or lumpectomy with node removal and/or radiation of axillary nodes on one side of the body. 60-90 mins
Unilateral Lower Extremity Lymphedema is usually a result of removal or irradiation of the inguinal and/or pelvic lymph nodes in cancer surgery. It can also be a result of trauma. 60-90 mins
BILATERAL UPPER OR LOWER EXTREMITY MLD
With Bilateral Lymphedema, it is not recommended to treat both extremities in the same session. The focus of treatment will be on the more affected extremity first until results are experienced. 90 mins
MLD FOR POST-OP LIPO, BBL, FAT TRANSFERS, LIFTS, TUCKS
MLD is effective for clients who have received BBL (Brazilian Butt Lift), Liposuction, tummy tucks, breast augmentation, and a variety of other plastic surgeries.
MLD for cosmetic surgery differs from lymphedema focused MLW in the frequency as well as application.
It is important to note that MLD is NOT surgical drainage. This is outside of an LMT's scope of practice in Florida.
Your therapist will wear PPE if wounds are still healing however, she will not physically drain lymph fluid or blood from these sites.
MLD for post-op recovery is intended to alleviate internal swelling over the course of 1-5 weeks, as well as prevent fibrosis of the healing connective tissue.
Post-op recovery MLD may be performed while client is standing, kneeling, prone or supine depending on procedure performed and where client is at within their recovery.
Please call for intake and scheduling well in advance of your cosmetic surgery date to ensure your investment is not compromised!