Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage


MLD (Manual Lymphatic Drainage) is a specialist form of gentle and rhythmical pressure massage focused on precise locations of the body designed to encourage the body’s natural drainage and removal of excess fluid and waste products from body tissues. It is commonly used as a way to control conditions like lipoedema or lymphoedema in which bodily tissues swell or retain fluid, but a course of the treatment is also recommended after Liposuction and other cosmetic surgery procedures.


The lymphatic system is our body’s way of filtering excess fluid, toxins and waste. It is part of the circulatory system and is comprised of a network of very fine lymphatic vessels, which are somewhat similar to blood vessels. Unlike the circulation of the blood, the lymphatic system has no pumping mechanism. Instead it relies, for example, on muscular movement and breathing to assist the flow of the lymph fluid.



Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage can be used for:

  • Post plastic surgery (e.g. face, neck abdomen, thighs etc) – it reduces pain, bruising and swelling
  • Post operative inflammation (e.g. after liposuction etc) – it reduces inflammation, bruising and prevents scarring
  • The prevention, treatment and control of lymphoedema (e.g. after breast- or prostate cancer)
  • The treatment of lipoedema and phleboedema
  • During pregnancy to reduce swollen legs, feet and cramping.
  • Digestive conditions – chronic constipation, flatulence, bloating, Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Pain – joint swelling, muscular pain, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, migraine, chronic headaches

Post Op

When we have surgery or liposuction, the body’s natural reaction is to produce a cushion of fluid around the damaged area to protect it during healing, which is why we experience swelling. While the body will normally remove this fluid over time, occasionally the lymphatic system can struggle to do so quickly enough; meaning pockets of fluid become trapped creating hard, uneven areas (experienced as lumps).

Depending on what treatment you’ve had and where it has been performed will affect how many sessions you will need, but a rough outline would be:

  •  Arms: 3 sessions
  •  Abdomen: 5-10 sessions
  •  Flanks: 5-10 sessions
  •  Outer and inner thighs: 3-5 sessions
  •  Chin and face: 3-5 sessions

For those who have had VASER Liposuction or surgery, MLD massage helps to unblock and drain damaged areas, thus preventing fluid becoming trapped and prevents any uneven areas appearing. Bruising, swelling and pain will be lessened, and the results of your treatment will be visible in less time.


Lipoedema and Lymphoedema

Lipoedema is a little known condition whose causes are currently still not properly understood. Those suffering with the condition have an abnormal and disproportionate, but symmetrical build-up of fat cells in certain areas, most commonly the legs and hips.  Sufferers are mostly female and causes are linked to hormones and genetics.  Occasionally these expanding fat cells block the lymphatic vessels, preventing proper drainage of lymph fluid which results in swelling and pain in the area.

Lymphoedema occurs after abnormal development or damage to the lymphatic system. It is a condition that some are born with, but many develop it after an infection or injury – particularly after cancer treatment. In Lymphoedema the lymphatic system does not work properly, leading to a build up of lymph in body tissues which causes swelling in the area. The condition can occur anywhere on the body, but is commonly seen on the arms and legs. Because the swelling produced is asymmetric, many suffers find that a single limb experiences symptoms of the condition, while the other is still a natural size with no pain.

As Lipoedema and Lymphoedema are chronic conditions which can never fully be healed, MLD Massage may need to be a more regular consideration. The frequency and duration of Manual Lymphatic Drainage sessions will depend on your particular condition and its severity. Your therapist will be able to advise you on your individual case, and will set up a long-term care plan to ensure your condition is managed.





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