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Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD)

Take Charge of your Lymphedema.

Decrease swelling. Improve movement. Regain control.

What is Manual Lymph Drainage?

Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) is a light massage technique that stimulates the lymph system and redirects the flow of the fluid build­up to properly functioning lymph nodes. This treatment is designed to remove excess fluid by opening collateral lymphatics, which allows the unaffected areas in your body to support the compromised areas.

What does it treat?

MLD treats the symptoms of many different conditions as mentioned below.  However, it is often associated with primary and secondary lymphedema.  Primary lymphedema affects those who were born with a faulty lymphatic system.  Secondary lymphedema is more common and can be caused when a persons lymphatic system has been damaged by an infection, trauma, surgery, radiation or cancer.

  • Cancer related surgery (mastectomy, hysterectomy, prostate, etc)
  • Radiation
  • Mild to severe trauma
  • Lymphedema
  • Lipedema
  • Diabetic ulcers
  • Rheumatism or arthritis
  • Mild to severe burns
  • Post­operative swelling after essential or elective procedures
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Pre-operation procedures
  • Sinus issues and concussions
  • Vascular issues

If you have swelling and feel you could benefit from MLD, please contact us.

What should I expect?

During your initial visit, your therapist will go over your medical history and assess your current area(s) of swelling. Once they feel there are no contraindications and that you are an appropriate candidate for MLD, they will explain in detail how to get undressed, onto the table and the treatment plan. Upon their return to the treatment room they will begin the MLD routine (MLD is a very light touch and does not feel anything like a massage treatment). During your treatment you should not experience any discomfort or pain. If you do please inform your therapist. During your treatment your therapist will discuss an appropriate skin care regime, exercises that will assist the flow of the fluid, and different options for compression bandaging/stockings.

These are pre and post images taken of one of our patients suffering from Lymphedema of the left lower extremity.  The patient was seen over a two week period and received 8 treatments of MLD and compression bandaging.

A picture says a thousand words…

First visit – pre-treatment

Eighth visit

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I need MLD?

A visit to your doctor will tell you if you could benefit from MLD. Once confirmed, you can have them call us, or schedule an appointment yourself.

How many sessions will I need?

Everyone is different. It depends on your current condition. Upon your initial visit, your therapist will be able to give you a better idea of the number of treatments that will be necessary to see positive results.

How long are the treatments?

Treatments are booked in 30 or 60 minute sessions, depending on your needs. If you’re unsure what session length to book, we’re happy to help.

Does it hurt?

Manual Lymph Drainage is performed by highly trained and specialized individuals who understand Lymphedema, and that all bodies are unique. It’s a very gentle technique that will provide you a lot of relief. The procedure itself is not painful. Should you have any concerns about pain levels, please speak with your therapist! When will I start to feel relief? Depending on your condition, you could start to feel relief after the first session. Everyone is different, and your therapist will be able to let you know more upon personal consultation.

Does MLD cure Lymphedema?

MLD significantly reduces the swelling and fluid build up side effects of Lymphedema, and is just a part of an overall maintenance plan that can also include diet and exercise, compression stockings, proper skin care, and medication.

What does it cost?

For more information on prices, please visit our Fees page.

When will I start to feel relief?

Depending on your condition, you could start to feel relief after the first session. Everyone is different, and your therapist will be able to let you know more upon personal consultation.

Will you talk with my doctor?

Absolutely! Strong communication between your therapist, doctor, and yourself can be very beneficial in your overall treatment for Lymphedema. We are always happy to communicate with your doctor to ensure we are working towards a common goal of helping you manage your swelling.

Do you direct bill to insurance companies?

We direct bill to Blue Cross and Great West Life. For all other insurance providers, we issue official receipts for you to claim. See our Insurance Coverage page for more information.

The butterfly is a symbol of hope for people with Lymphedema. It represents the emergence of this illness from an unknown malady to a recognized and treatable condition.