Manual Lymphatic Drainage, also known as MLD is a type of hands on clinical massage. Although it is a massage, it is very different to what you expect from a traditional massage and not to be confused. MLD specifically focuses on the vessels within the lymphatic and circulatory system to help to promote the movement of lymphatic fluid.
The Lymphatic System
Our bodies have many different systems working at the same time including the lymphatic system. Also known as the lymph system, it is a large structure of vessels around the body, passing through most of the tissues to allow movement of a fluid called lymph. The system makes up part of your immune system and consists of lymph vessels, lymph nodes, lymph organs and lymphatic fluid.
Lymphatic fluid is a colourless liquid which flows through the lymph vessels, connecting to a group of lymph nodes throughout the body. The nodes contain white blood cells which help to fight bacteria and damaged cells in the body. The lymphatic fluid then carries any waste products back into the bloodstream for the liver or kidneys to remove. If the lymph nodes are fighting an infection, they may become swollen and sore to touch.
Who can benefit from MLD?
MLD is a safe treatment for many conditions, including during pregnancy. Which conditions can MLD help with:
- Traumatic edema
- Sudeck’s athrophy
- Rheumatic diseases
- Long Covid – Recent studies shows complementary effect with other techniques used to treat long covid-19
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Inflammatory conditions
- Post surgery
- Swollen lymph nodes
- During 3rd trimester of pregnancy can help with swollen legs
Even if you don’t fall into any of the above categories, there are also a few signs other signs which can tell you that your lymphatic system may need some stimulating:
- Allergies and/or food sensitivities
- Brain fog
- Chronic lethargy (persistent tiredness)
- Digestive problems
There are some conditions where MLD is contraindicated which means a technique or treatment should not be used. The contraindications for MLD include:
- Malignant tumours
- Acute infections
- Deep venous thrombosis
- Cardiac decompensation
If you have any specific conditions not listed, please consult your GP before booking an appointment.
What is MLD massage
MLD helps to promote the flow of lymphatic fluid through the vessels to improve how the system is working. It is a very light skin-stretching massage using slow and controlled techniques and the treatment is completely painless using a constant soft pressure. Your therapist may use a variety of techniques all with their own purpose. The different techniques can include; stationary circles, scoop, pump and rotary technique and thumb circles. These techniques may be new to you as they are not commonly used in other types of massage.
The aim of the slow purposeful techniques is to relax your nervous system whilst promoting movement within your lymphatic system. The specific techniques used help to increase the rhythmic contractions of the lymphatic vessels to enhance their activity to speed up and reroute stagnant lymphatic fluid…quite the opposite of a deep tissue or sports massage!
MLD can have huge benefits including:
- Relaxation and calming
- Pain relief
- Stimulating the immune system
- Reduce oedema (swelling caused by a buildup of fluid)
- Reducing inflammation
- Supporting cellular oxygenation and nourishment
What happens during your appointment
Your first appointment is 90 minutes and starts with a full assessment including a full medical history and conditions you would like help with. This is then followed by your hands on treatment which is either performed on the top or bottom half of your body, depending on your assessment.
You will be asked to take your clothes off (top or bottom), as the treatment requires precise hand to skin touch but you will be covered by towels and your therapist will only expose the area needed.
You will be lying down on the treatment couch and covered with a blanket to keep you warm, help you unwind and relax, calming music may also be played if you prefer. Your therapist won’t speak to you much during treatment to allow your nervous system to be completely undistributed. Promoting relaxation as much as possible during MLD is important as this allows your muscles to loosen allowing the lymphatic system to fully engage.
Once you have had your first appointment, follow-up appointments are 60 minutes. Many of the benefits and improvements from having MLD can be seen after the first – third session depending on the condition your therapist is treating. We recommend your treatment plan should contain 8-10 sessions in total, having one session once a week or once every two weeks over a time frame of 3 months.
How to book an appointment
To book your first appointment, call our reception team and they will schedule a time that works best for you or you can book online here:
We will then book any follow-up appointments in the clinic. We also offer discounted treatment packages for follow-up appointments.
£119 – 90 minutes
£89 – 60 minutes
Aga and Jesse