Manual Lymphatic Drainage

This technique, also known as MLD, performs the critical role of re-routing stagnated lymphatic fluid. Specific strokes which were first described by Dr. Emil Vodder (1896-1986) are used to stimulate healthy lymph vessels and lymph nodes. The strokes commonly include a stretching stroke with a directional stroke toward the lymph nodes of that region. The result is lymphatic activity that creates a suction effect and moves fluid from stagnate areas to areas with normal lymph drainage. These techniques should not be confused with massage techniques. MLD is performed on subcutaneous tissue directly beneath the skin with lighter pressure than massage and using different strokes. MLD is effective for management of post-traumatic and post-surgical edema as well as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines, rheumatoid arthritis, and chronic pain. Further more, MLD is effective for general relaxation and for detoxing the skin and superficial fascia.

Complete Decongestive Therapy

Also known as CDT, this therapy includes MLD, Compression Bandaging, Skin Care, and Decongestive Exercises. Performed by a Lymphedema Therapist, this technique is used for the treatment of Lymphedema which is defined as long term protein rich swelling in the interstitial spaces of the tissues. The intensive phase of treatment, which averages 2-4 weeks, would include a session of Manual Lymphatic Drainage and would be followed by Compression Bandaging using short stretch bandages to the affected limb. In extreme cases the decongestive phase may last 6-8 weeks. The client is taught the importance of skin care to avoid infections and given exercises to help decongest the limb. This intense phase ends when the measurements of the affected limb begin to plateau. Once this happens and the swelling becomes manageable for the client a compression garment is fitted and the bandages are no longer needed. The client is taught how to maintain the progress made. There is no cure for Lymphedema and these garments will have to be worn for the rest of the client’s life. CDT shows excellent long term results in both primary and secondary lymphedema. Numerous published studies describe the effectiveness of this safe and reliable approach which has been well established in European countries since the 1970’s.

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