I have letters after my name which are sometimes confusing: CMLDT. This stands for “Certified Manual Lymphatic Drainage Therapist,” and it is one of my favorite modalities. Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is vastly under-utilized. I am making it one of my goals for the coming year to introduce this work to a broader audience.
MLD is a gentle technique designed to increase the movement of fluid through the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is our waste removal system, transporting fluid from spaces between body tissues into the cardiovascular system for delivery of nutrients and removal of wastes. The lymphatic system also serves immune system functions.
MLD has a number of applications. Most people hear about it in reference to cancer treatment where lymph nodes are removed and the risk for lymphedema is increased. MLD is certainly a powerful part of lymphedema treatment and prevention, but it has many applications for everyone.
For example, MLD was initially developed by Dr. Emil Vodder and Estrid Vodder as a method of treating the chronic colds displayed by English visitors to their clinic in Cannes. Their techniques showed dramatic successes, relieving colds and sinus congestion almost immediately. I have also seen this effect with clients who use MLD to manage chronic allergy-related sinus congestion.
MLD Is also effective as part of the treatment for whiplash, injury-related swelling and post-surgical swelling. The techniques are so gentle that they can often be applied very early in the healing process, even before traditional massage techniques can be used.
MLD can also help with management of chronic illnesses such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, people who suffer migraines or sinus headaches often find relief with MLD.
My clients report that the experience of MLD is profoundly relaxing. Even a brief, 15-minute head, neck and face treatment can help alleviate overall tension and stress. I have also noticed decreases in post-workout swelling and recovery time if a client receives MLD right after a training session.
In short, MLD can benefit you, right now. I’d love to tell you more about it, and talk about how you can incorporate this work into your overall wellness plan.