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

Treatments are best performed in the mornings however, if you need a follow up in the same week Erika will organise this directly with you. 

Appointments for MLD are available:

  • Monday: 9.30am - 1.30pm



What can I expect at my first appointment?

The first appointment will take about an hour and a half. 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.

Your therapist may also be required to measure your limbs which helps to give an idea on the amount of the swelling present. It is usually possible to give a diagnosis of lymphedema or chronic oedema at the first appointment although for some, other investigations are necessary first.You will be advised by your therapist what next steps will be.

What will I get from the appointment? 

  • Gradual improvement to the tissue and swelling condition.
  • Exercises will be given, using a form of compression that you can perform yourself at home. This will help to pump lymph out of the swollen area
  • Self-care management: to teach you how to manage your lymphoedema at home

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
  • Includes complete decongestive therapy with a trained practitioner for one-hour sessions, 4-5 days a week 
  • Bandages with foam are worn 23 hours a day

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



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