Manual Lymphatic Drainage

Our lymphatic system helps to protect us from infection and disease by acting as a one-way drainage system. Lymphatic drainage is a specialised massage technique that encourages lymph fluid to drain out of an area affected by swelling into an area that drains normally. Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is performed by a trained specialist and is a gentle, non-invasive skin massage that helps to gently restore this system.

The main benefits of Manual lymphatic drainage are:

  • Swelling reduction. MLD induces a pumping effect in the tissue. The lymphatic pathways’ own rhythm is accelerated to up to 20 times its normal rate. This enhanced drainage effect results in rapid decongestion and restoration of normal tissue condition.
  • Reduces pain levels and promotes relaxation.
  • Promotes a healthier immune system by accelerating the transportation of bacteria and allergens.

The main conditions that Manual lymphatic drainage can be used to treat include:

  • General wellbeing, relaxation and stress control
  • The prevention, treatment and control of lymphedema (swelling)
  • Post-surgery  - reduces swelling, pain, bruising, inflammation and prevents scarring
  • Fluid retention - swollen feet and ankles or anywhere in the body
  • Respiratory conditions - sinusitis, nasal congestion
  • Skin -cellulite
  • Pain – including joint pain, muscular pain, osteoarthritis, migraines, chronic headaches, rheumatoid arthritis
  • Pregnancy - Swollen legs and / or feet , cramps, relaxing
  • Digestive conditions - constipation, IBS



What can I expect at my first appointment?

The first appointment will take about an hour. Your therapist will take a full medical history which includes past operations and illnesses, any current treatments, medicines or tablets you are taking as well as a history of the swelling and any investigations you have had.

What will I get from the appointment? 

Gradual improvement to the tissue and swelling condition. 

How long does treatment last? 

There are two phases of treatment:

Active Phase

  • Lasts 2 to 12 weeks depending on the amount of swelling and tissue firmness

Maintenance Phase

In order to prevent the area of swelling constant attention is needed

  • Elastic compression garments that fit like a second skin are worn during the day
  • Often bandages with foam are worn at night to decrease daily daytime swelling
  • Exercises are done while wearing compression
  • Self-manual lymphatic drainage is done for 20 minutes per day


Massage South West London

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