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Manual Lymphatic Drainage - explained

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)

Increasing the flow

Diane qualified as a Manual Lymphatic Drainage practitioner about ten years ago when it was still being heralded as the best kept secret in the health and beauty industry. She trained initially in the Vodder method at South Bank University, and followed this with further training in the Leduc method at Bollingbroke Hospital.


There were very few practitioners of this form of massage working in the UK at the time, and very little information was available as research was limited. MLD is now used in many European hospitals and clinics and is gaining popularity and acceptance in the UK for the control and treatment of lymphoedema.

The Lymphatic SystemManual Lymphatic Drainage, commonly known as MLD, is an advanced therapeutic method that has been proven to stimulate the lymphatic system. It is a light rhythmic massage in which the practitioner uses a range of specialised massage movements and gentle pumping techniques. These mild stretching movements stimulate the lymphatic vessels, increasing the flow of the lymph within them.

MLD is mainly recognised as part of the treatment for lymphoedema. This is a condition that constitutes the swelling of a limb or other part of the body. There are a number of causes of lymphoedema: it may be present as the result of a congenital defect (primary lymphoedema), or from damage to the lymphatic system following surgery or radiation therapy (secondary lymphoedema).

A preventative and remedial treatment, providing a major boost to the whole body, MLD has also been proven to be effective in the treatment of many other conditions. It can aid healing, reduce pain, and has also been noticed to soften the skin and reduce the appearance of scar tissue: very useful in promoting healing after some forms of surgical procedures, such as orthopaedic or reconstructive surgery. Some of the other conditions it is claimed to be beneficial in the treatment of are: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Sinus problems, Arthritis, Migraine and Acne. As it is a very gentle massage it can be administered during and immediately after pregnancy, therefore extremely useful in the treatment of swollen ankles.

During the first treatment session the consultation would normally include taking information not only about the condition but also previous medical history and lifestyle. From this an individually tailored treatment plan can be suggested.

Many clients feel improvements after the first session. The treatments are then gradually reduced to occasional maintenance treatments, although some clients like to come more often than recommended because they love the treatment so much. “It’s the best tonic I could ask for”, said one client.

Diane Huggins MGPP MLDuk (CDT) Registered Practitioner
Member of the British Lymphology Society tel: 01242 245200
Member of the Lymphoedema Support Network tel: 0207 3510990.
Further information on Lymphoedema and its management can be obtained from these organisations.

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