Manual Lymphatic Drainage

What is the Lymphatic System?

The Lymphatic System is part of the circulatory system and immune system. The lymphatic system is made up of organs and lymph vessels that carry a clear fluid, called lymph. Lymph moves through the body, gathering toxic waste and foreign invaders as it transports white blood cells to and from lymph nodes. The lymph nodes will then clean the lymph fluid and dispose of the toxins. In this way, the lymphatic system cleanses every cell in the body.

What is Manual Lymphatic Drainage?

Manual Lymphatic Drainage, or MLD, is a gentle technique used to promote lymphatic drainage. The lymphatic system sits right beneath the skin. By using light pressure and rhythmic pumping, the lymph fluid is prompted to move, creating an increased lymph flow. All hand motions follow the natural movement of lymph and are directed towards the lymphatic drainage areas, including the neck, armpits, and groin. When applied correctly, MLD will increase lymph vessel activity and move interstitial fluid, resulting in a properly functioning lymphatic system.

If the body is in a state of distress, the lymphatic system may become blocked or backed up. When this happens, lymphatic fluid builds up in the tissues, preventing waste from moving out of the body. This creates congestion in the body, forcing the toxins to track back into the tissues, skin, and joints.

As a major player in the immune system, proper lymphatic flow can remove the harmful substances in the tissues that contribute to the symptoms of colds and flu infections, joint pain, headaches and migraines, menstrual cramps, arthritis, fatigue, depression, acne, cellulite, and much more.

Recommended Protocol

For optimal results, you must receive MLD on a consistent basis. Ideally, a client should receive one session per day for six days in a row, or until the therapist notices a difference. After this time, the therapist may advise the client to come for weekly visits, and eventually maintenance visits every few weeks or months.

MLD is designed for long-term results; therefore, it is imperative that a client be seen based on the above guidelines. One treatment alone is not going to bring about adequate results, as an initial session will only hold the body at an optimal spot for 24 hours. In order to sustain beneficial results, more maintenance needs to occur.

Please note that if a client is not willing or able to follow the recommended protocol, we do not suggest scheduling an MLD appointment, as they will not receive optimal results. The spleen, thymus, tonsils, and adenoids are also part of the lymphatic system, and support the functions of the immune system. Immune cells, which fight infection in the body, are also created in the lymph nodes.

Massage Therapy

Manual lymphatic drainage helps promote the cleansing of blood cells and supports the increase of a healthy system, one that can properly rid toxins and illness efficiently.

Healing with MLD

Manual Lymphatic Drainage is extremely helpful to those dealing with the symptoms and diagnosis of cancer. It is a very common misconception that any form of lymphatic massage will “spread” cancer. In reality, MLD helps promote the cleansing of blood cells and supports the increase of a healthy system, one that can properly rid toxins and illness efficiently.

It has also been found that MLD can play a part in promoting fertility and help women who have trouble conceiving, have miscarried, or are starting fertility treatments. If a lymphatic system is sluggish, hormones will not distribute and circulate the way they are designed to, therefore disrupting the ability to conceive. By increasing lymphatic flow, the body will begin to produce more efficient hormones and support ovulation.

MLD is also able to help with symptoms related to…


alopecia, trigeminal neuralgia, Bell’s Palsy, ear aches, sinusitis, strokes, burns, Alzheimer’s disease, glaucoma, lymphedema, diabetic neuropathy, fibromyalgia, cystic breasts


acne, rosacea, eczema, effects of aging, under eye circles and puffiness, cellulite, lipodema


bruising, discoloration, torn muscles, phantom pain, effects of knee/hip/shoulder replacements, tennis elbow, skier’s thumb, golfer’s arm, tendonitis

Issues with pregnancy:

infertility, immune support, stretch mark prevention, edema, constipation, weight loss after delivery, healing after delivery or C-section, scarring, milk production


swelling, immune support, allergies, weight

Massage Therapy

Massage Therapy vs. MLD

The meaning of the word massage is “to knead,” and is used to describe forms of “classical” or “Swedish” massage. Massage therapy is the act of manually moving and manipulating the tissue, muscle, ligaments, and tendons. There are several varieties of massages, ranging in pressure and purpose. Massage can assist in promoting relaxation while reducing muscle tension, stress, flexibility, circulation, headaches, pain, etc.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage should not be confused for massage therapy, as it is not a massage. MLD is a gentle, light touch technique. The purpose is to activate the movement and flow of lymph fluid. Since the lymphatic system sits right below the skin, pressure must be kept light in order to obtain the optimal goal. The techniques of MLD are used to effectively treat primary and secondary lymphedema, and post-surgical and post-traumatic swellings. Migraine headaches, chronic venous insufficiencies, and swellings (edema) of different geneses present additional indications. MLD also has detoxifying effects. This technique can be used in combination with compression therapy, skin care, and decongestive exercises. These therapeutic applications are collectively known as Complete Decongestive Therapy.


Can I keep my clothes on during MLD?

Yes! MLD can be performed on fully clothed clients. It is best if the client wears tank tops and loose fitting clothes; however, it is not required.

Will I experience any side effects?

You may experience headaches, upset stomach, excessive tiredness, frequent urination, or odor/color change in urine. These side effects can last 24-48 hours after treatment, so be sure to drink plenty of water before and after treatment.

Are there any diagnoses that should not receive MLD?

Yes. If a client has been diagnosed with kidney, liver, or heart failure, DVT, malignant tumor(s), or kidney disease, or if they are experiencing infection, open wounds, fever, high-risk pregnancy or morning sickness, or acute inflammation, or if they are taking blood thinners, it is best to hold off on receiving an MLD treatment.

Please click on one of the below links for more information about each type of modality we offer.



Massage therapy is the manipulation of skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments with the goal of helping the body to heal itself.

Lymphatic Drainage


Manual Lymphatic Drainage, or MLD, is a gentle technique used to promote lymphatic drainage.



Cupping is a therapy in which suction is used on the skin surface.



Reflexology is the application of pressure to certain areas of the foot which correspond to specific parts of the body.

CranioSacral Therapy


CranioSacral Therapy is a noninvasive technique that helps detect and correct an imbalance within the rhythm of movement between the cranium and the sacrum.



Acupuncture involves placing single-use stainless steel needles beneath the skin to stimulate the body’s 14 major meridians, or energy carrying channels, which connect to every organ of the body.

For more information or to schedule a consultation contact us today!