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.
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:
Post-surgical edema (frequently recommended after liposuction or tummy tuck procedures)
“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
“I underwent a 360 degree liposuction out of state and was pleasantly surprised to find Nancy, a certified MLD massage therapist right in my backyard. My first visit was 11 days post-operative and I was skeptical and uncertain of what to expect. Thankfully, Nancy is very professional, informative, personable and most importantly caring! Her touch is incomparable and my recovery wouldn’t have been the same without her. So far I’ve done 5 sessions with her and look forward to a few more, she’s absolutely the best!“
– Q.T., New Haven, CT
“As a breast cancer survivor, I unfortunately, developed a circulatory condition called lymphedema in my left arm. Although at the time Nancy did not know much about lymphedema, she took the time to do research and attained an understanding of what lymphedema is and how to best address it during our massage and Reiki sessions. She has since completed a certification for lymphedema therapists (CLT) and has taken Oncology Massage training. I have confidence that Nancy can work safely and effectively with me with careful consideration of my cancer history and lymphedema.“
– JHE, Hamden,CT
“I have had primary bilateral (legs) Lymphedema since I was sixteen years old. I was fortunate to have appropriate services at an early age. As time went by, I realized that I needed more assistance. I was very lucky to find Nancy Murphy. She has provided me with Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD). Since working with Nancy I have felt so much better about my condition. Her sensitive techniques have allowed me to better understand my body. Feeling better has made me want to become more informed about my situation and about myself. I am extremely grateful to be able to be working with Nancy Murphy.“