What’s the Deal with Manual Lymphatic Drainage?


Here’s the scoop from a licensed massage therapist.

An increasingly popular treatment among wellness-minded people, Manual Lymphatic Drainage, or MLD for short, is a type of medical massage that helps your body in removing toxins and reducing swelling. If you’re looking for a way to enhance immunity, promote faster healing or even reduce sinusitis symptoms, the benefits of Manual Lymphatic Drainage could provide the solution you’ve been looking for — without the need for a prescription.


Understanding the benefits of MLD starts with understanding the lymphatic system and how its health (or disease) can impact your quality of life. Refresher: your lymphatic system is part of your circulatory and immune systems, and it’s basically a network of lymph nodes that carry clear fluid back to your heart.

When your lymphatic system isn’t working at its best, it’s possible that there’s blockage or obstruction. Lymphatic obstructions mean swollen hands and feet, edema, and overall puffiness. Not what we want.

A specially trained massage therapist can perform a series of light, rhythmic and precise hand movements to target the blockage and essentially “drain” the fluid until it’s back to normal circulation. It’s a highly specialized massage technique, and it works to redirect the flow of toxins.

There are actually more benefits to drainage than just post-surgical swelling relief, too. Here are a few:

• Promotes the healing of fractures and torn ligaments
• Strengthens the immune system
• Faster healing of wounds and scars
• Reduces risk of developing stretch marks
• Relieves fluid retention, swollen limbs, and fluid congestion in pregnancy
• Improves a number of chronic conditions such as sinusitis, arthritis and acne

These benefits are no joke. Medical professionals around the world have recognized the results of medical massage on lymphedema and, on the surface, scar tissue reduction, improved appearance of skin and faded stretch marks. Is MLD the next big thing in the world of wellness?

Kristin Sewell