Manual Lymph Drainage

Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) is a unique manual therapy that cannot be compared to any other massage therapy technique; the technique is complex and requires special training. MLD is extremely effective as a therapy to remove edema (fluid) caused by a variety of conditions, and it’s a powerful way to promote wellness, enhancing the body’s immunity from disease. It is a rhythmic, light, specific and relaxing technique by which the therapist uses her hands to move the lymph fluid to the lymph nodes for filtration, thereby reducing swelling and aiding immune function.

manual lymph drainage
What do you know about your lymphatic system?

When we speak of circulation we’re usually referring to the cardiovascular system: the arteries which deliver oxygen-rich blood from the heart, the veins which return de-oxygenated blood back to the heart, and of course the heart, the circulatory system’s never-resting pump.

But the lymphatic system is also a closed circulatory system. It is comprised of lymph vessels, lymph collectors and lymphatic organs – and it circulates another vital fluid called lymph. It is important to know that lymph bathes all of the cells in our bodies and that without a functioning lymphatic system it would be impossible to live for even one day!

The lymph vascular system is a drainage system positioned parallel to the venous system and is responsible for removing all those molecules that are too large to enter the venous system (veins). Those substances include water, protein, lipids, cellular debris, bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells. When those substances have been removed from cells, they are carried via the lymph vessels to the lymph nodes where they are exposed to B lymphocytes and T lymphocytes (killer T-cells), activating the body’s immune response. There are about 600-700 lymph nodes in the body which function as filters to remove unwanted and harmful substances.

Because the lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump like the cardiovascular system, it must rely on muscular contractions to circulate the lymph throughout the body. (The calf muscles in the leg play an important role in maintaining lymph circulation. Yes, walk!) The other way that lymph can be moved to the lymph nodes for filtering is by means of Manual Lymph Drainage. MLD is a potent way to activate the lymphatic system and has been shown to be a helpful treatment for many physical problems and pathologies that include:

  • Lymphedema
  • Post-surgical edema
  • After Lymph Node Removal
  • Chronic Venous-Insufficiency
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Migraine and sinus headaches
  • Tinnitus
  • Fibrotic Breast Disease
  • Cellulite
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
  • Whiplash
  • Hematoma
  • Palliative Care
  • Scleroderma

Nancy Clare Murphy LMT, CLT

“Recently, new research was published by the University of Virginia School of Medicine. The discovery of lymphatic vessels in the brain was very surprising and the implications are staggering. Until now the brain’s connection to the functioning of the immune system was not well understood. As chiropractors we have witnessed the powerful results of specific spinal adjustments, including their remarkable effects on the immune system and many other maladies. I believe that MLD’s ability to help clear the lymphatics may prove to be a powerful therapeutic tool in helping the brain to rid itself of toxins and proteins which may cause many neurological diseases such as MS and Alzheimer’s.”

– Louis Cofrancesco, Doctor of Chiropractic


“The lymphatic system of circulation is only now getting the attention it deserves as it functions to detoxify, support the immune system, and support the hormonal system; three key areas for overall, systemic health.

MLD adds a deeply healing component to the medicines I use internally to support the health of the lymphatic system.”

– Ginger Nash, Naturopathic Physician