A Leg Up On Lymphedema
A Leg Up On LymphedemaA Leg Up On Lymphedema

What is Manual Lymph Drainage Therapy?

Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) is a series of light, rhythmic movements which increases the flow of excess fluids from the tissues.

What is Lymphedema?

Lymphedema occurs when the ability of the lymphatic system to move lymph fluid is compromised. This results in an accumulation of fluid and proteins in the tissue. The accumulation of fluid then creates a swelling in the affected area.

The goal is to reroute lymph fluid from areas that are blocked and gently move it to areas with healthy lymph vessels where the fluid can drain. Through the pumping and stretching effect on the lymph vessels, the Dr. Vodder method of MLD stimulates the contraction of lymph vessels, helping to move the lymph forward and drain the connective tissue.

Primary vs. Secondary Lymphedema:

Primary lymphedema is considered to be congenital. You are born with the condition and sometimes it may not show itself until puberty or later. In some cases this will be noticed much earlier.

Secondary lymphedema results from an event that has damaged the lymph system. Lymph nodes have been severed or burned through surgery or radiation and no longer function at normal levels or at all. The highest rate of secondary lymphedema occurs in women who have undergone breast cancer surgery.

Why Dr. Vodder Manual Lymph Drainage?

Dr. Vodder training is a 160 hour training which requires recertification review every two years in order to keep their certification.

This post-graduate training offered by the Dr. Vodder School is the most extensive and thorough program on Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD®) offered in North America. It is well known throughout Europe and has been the leading treatment for lymphedema and venous insufficiencies since the late 1920's.

Finding the Right Therapist

Your therapist is of the utmost importance in your recovery and management of your lymphedema. Make sure that you see your therapist's credentials. Ask for a copy of their certification. There are several people out there who claim to know how to do this treatment. Also, as a side note, no matter what lymph drainage training they have undergone, if they do not start with the neck...get off the table! The lower part of the neck (a Dr. Vodder term for this area is the terminus) is the end of the lymph system and it is imperative that this be open first.

The lymph system is a negative system so all avenues of lymph flow that is fully functioning must be opened first before treating the area that is blocked. It must have a place to move and if the place that we are trying to move it to is not opened, than there is not drainage.

Should I be able to see results?

YES. With fluid movement the swelling should reduce during treatment. This treatment is slow and light and will not be achieved in less than one full hour. The best way to ensure that you are getting the full benefit of treatment is to have Manual Lymph Drainage and followed up with

Combined Decongestive Therapy

What is Combined Decongestive Therapy?

Combined Decongestive Therapy is used primarily in the treatment of lymphedema and venous insufficiency edema and it has been shown to relieve the edema, fibrosis and the accompanying pain and discomfort of these conditions.

This is compression bandaging, use of daily compression garments, skincare and exercise therapy preferably in water.

Patients undergo an intensive course of treatment, usually lasting three to four weeks and may often see a good reduction in the swelling during this time. Maintenance therapy is usually required at much less frequent intervals in order to maintain the reduction. Patients are given specific guidelines to help them maintain their reduction at home.

What if I don't have lymphedema, why should I seek Manual Lymph Drainage?

The all around benefits of MLD as a complimentary therapy:

  • Decreases Edema
  • Reduces Pain
  • Promotes Relaxation
  • Speeds the healing process of surgery and injury
  • Decreases scarring
  • When to consider have MLD as a complimentary therapy
  • Lymphedema
  • Pre and Post surgery: Plastic surgery, hip and knee replacements)
  • Sprains, strains and muscle tears
  • Sluggish Immune System
  • Sinusitis
  • When not to consider MLD as a complimentary therapy:
  • Cellulitis
  • Acute infections
  • Thrombosis or other circulatory problems
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Untreated Malignant Tumors

If you are currently undergoing active treatment for cancer (consider this after treatment).



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