Manual lymphatic drainage is also called MLD. This is a special type of massage that
reduce swelling from lymphoedema. There are different types of MLD including Vodder,
Leduc, Foldi and Casley-Smith. You should only have MLD from someone who has been
trained in one of these types.
The aim of the massage is to move fluid from the swollen area into an area where the
lymphatic system is working normally. To do this the person massaging you first massages
and clears the area they want the fluid to drain into. It might seem strange to have them
massage your chest and neck if you have lymphoedema in your arm. But it means that
the fluid has somewhere to drain to when they massage your arm.
When you have the massage you feel a gentle pressure. It is not a deep massage. If it is
too deep it won't work because it flattens the small lymph vessels so that the fluid can't
drain. The movements are slow and rhythmic so the lymp vessels open up.
When you should not have massage
There are some situations when you should not have massage or do self massage. Your
lymphoedema specialist will tell you whether you can or can't. Always check with them if
you are not sure. You may not be able to have MLD if you have any of the following:
- an infection or inflammation in the swollen area
- a blood clot
- heart problems
- active cancer in the area
'You are just one massage away from a good