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Manual Lymphatic Drainage Therapy

Manual lymphatic drainage therapy is also sometimes abbreviated to "manual lymph drainage" (MLD) and it has the same meaning/outcomes, which refers to a very specialized form of massage that 

  • facilitates
  • accelerates

natural lymphatic circulation through our entire body.

What this does is that it will reduce local lymph and global swelling and fluid retention problems in our bodies. You see, the reason why MLD was conceived, created, refined and then spearheaded was to treat and manage primary (direct) and secondary (indirect) lymphedema.

According to Wikipedia, lymphedema is a condition where there is local (area-specific, such as shoulder, foot etc) fluid retention and tissue swelling that can be caused by compromised lymphatic system.

Our lymphatic system returns the interstitial fluid to our thoracic duct and then to the bloodstream, where it is returned to circulate back to the tissues.

In fact, what's worse is that tissues that have lymphedema are at risk of infection.

Manual lymphatic drainage therapy is also helpful for/with the following:

  • Venous insufficiency
  • Swelling after surgery or traumatic event/injury
  • Musculoskeletal and Orthopedic Injuries
  • Post-treatment removal of cancerous cells
  • Sports Injuries
  • Circulatory imbalances
  • Burns and burn injuries
  • RSD / Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome
  • Chronic Pain
  • Non-infected inflammatory conditions (e.g. joint sprains and muscle strains)
  • Dermatological and skin conditions such as dry skin, eczema and psoariasis

our lymphatic system and manual lymphatic drainage 

Our lymphatic system is made of

  • lymphatic vessels
  • lymphatic nodes and
  • tissues

They are located almost everywhere in our body (with the exception of our brains, nails, hair and joints.)

What to note is that our lymphatic system is a pretty important system – a healthy and good lymphatic system helps to maintain plus boost our health and well-being by removing waste materials from the interstitium (a liquid that covers most cells, which provides the cells with nutrients as well as helps with waste removal).

What the lymphatic system do is to carry excess items such as

  • water
  • waste material/byproducts and
  • proteins from connective tissues and cells

to and from the blood stream.

During the process of moving and carrying these, our lymph at the same time is also cleaned and filtered, sort of like an active filter.

That being said, there are many immunity-related events that happen in our lymph nodes.

There is an estimated 500 to 600 lymph nodes in our body, and many of them cluster in our

  • underarm (armpit area)
  • neck
  • groin
  • abdomen and
  • chest

At any point in time, if ever any of the lymphatic pathways becomes congested, stuck or injured because of damage, THEN fluids and water will slowly build up and have fluid retention in our body parts and tissues.

Over time, unfortunately this may lead to conditions such as fibrosis and slowly lead to breakdown in the tissues.

If there is an injury within our connective tissues, for example

  • injuries and damage from burn injuries
  • long term inflammation
  • post-surgical injury
  • accidents such as falls or road-traffic/motor-vehicle accidents

then our lymphatic system will be tasked with transporting the damaged structures and cellular byproducts AWAY from the injury site.

The faster this happens efficiently and productively, the faster the swelling, pain and injury will be cleared (this directly indicates that you can recover faster with a healthy lymphatic system).

Consistent manual lymphatic drainage massage therapy can help for good outcomes following injuries and inflammation.