Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) Massage - the massage with purpose
What is Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)?
Manual Lymphatic Drainage. It sounds a little scary to the untrained ear doesn’t it? Believe me, it’s not a treatment that should scare you in the slightest. It’s actually completely non-invasive and painless. MLD is a massage technique that focuses on stimulating the lymphatic system in order to get it moving in cases where it’s being a little lazy. The benefits of this treatment are huge. So, let’s jump in and learn a little more about Manual Lymphatic Draining, the process that’s involved and what the actual benefits of this therapy are.
What is the lymph system and what is its purpose?
The lymph system basically works to filter out cell wastes, bacteria, viruses, excess fluid, and other nasties from our bodies – it’s like a human waste disposal unit. It works in unison with the circulatory system but instead of carrying blood, it picks up contaminants from in between our cells, filters them and cleans them. It also produces cells which fight bacteria and infection. If the lymph system completely failed, the body would develop severe oedema and death would result in 24-48 hours.
When our lymph system is in tip-top shape and working well, we feel healthy and our immunity against cold, flu and other harmful external infections is boosted. When our lymph system isn’t functioning well though, we tend to feel run down, we may have swelling, water retention and our bodies are more likely to be compromised by immunological breaches. There are many reasons for the lymph system running slow and these can include stress, fatigue, pollution, infection and emotional shock to name a few.
Who can MLD help and what are its benefits?
People who tend to benefit most from MLD are those who suffer from the condition “lymphoedema”. When we refer to this condition, we’re talking about people who have health conditions that hinder the flow of the lymph system. This can cause a build-up of fluid in certain areas throughout the body.
Infections, cancer treatments, surgeries and other damaging conditions that require lymph node removal are top contributors to people developing lymphedema.
Other people who may benefit from MLD are people who have just had surgery including dental surgery, as well as sufferers of fibromyalgia, swelling, certain skin disorders, asthma and respiratory illnesses, fatigue, stress, insomnia, and digestive problems amongst others. It also great for detox, cellulitis and to support weightloss!
When performed correctly, Manual Lymphatic Drainage should help stimulate the flow of your lymphatic system, encouraging it to work harder in picking up the nasties floating around in your body in between your cells. The lymphatic system usually circulates between 1.5 to 2 litres of lymph fluid per day. However, efficient activation of lymph fluid following an MLD massage can increase this to 15-30 litres per day and this can continue for up to 3 days post treatment. This is huge is you are suffering lymphoedema or wishing to detox your system for example.
Please note that you shouldn’t have a lymphatic massage if you have acute inflammation, malignant tumours, thrombosis, phlebitis, very low blood pressure or heart valve insufficiencies. Asthma due to heart problems is also contraindicated. It’s always best to consult a medical professional before looking into any new treatment option.
How is MLD performed?
Manual Lymphatic Drainage can be performed standing, lying down or in a seated position but at Trayah, you are usually lying comfortably on your back with a pillow under your head and a bolster under your knees. The most important part is that you’re comfortable. Draping of towels maintains your dignity and the whole process is discussed and your consent sought prior to your treatment.
Gentle pressure is applied to the skin in areas that help release lymph blockages and promote a steady flow of fluid throughout the lymphatic capillaries. This is a completely different massage from others as it is not a muscular massage. It works predominantly on the fascia/connective tissue, above which is where the lymph fluid can be found. Care must be taken not to squash the lymph cells as they can take 20 minutes to reform which will slow further the fluid movement. Therefore, pressure is exceptionally light.
Following your MLD it is important to drink up to 2 to 4 glasses more water than you usually would to help flush the body of toxins.
It’s as simple as that! This is a truly amazing treatment that can help so many people. If you think MLD could help you in any way, please do get in touch. I’m happy to answer any questions you may have before you book in for a treatment.