Manual Lymph Drainage® and Complete
Decongestive Therapy Lymphedema - At last, a successful treatment
Lymphedema is a painful and debilitating condition
that baffles physicians in the United States because
the lymphatic system is not well understood and does
not respond to conventional medical treatment. Patients
are often told by physicians that they will have to
live with swollen limbs - most often the result of
cancer or other surgeries that interfere with the lymph
MLD of Terminus
Lymphedema is the accumulation of lymph in connective tissue
(excess filtration) because of damage to the vessels - either
from surgery, trauma or as the result of a birth defect that
results in a deficiency of the vessels and their valves.
As fluid accumulates in the tissue, the transport capacity
of the system must be able to remove the excess fluid back
into the venous blood circulation. The fluid then carries
away connective tissue waste products - proteins, fats, water,
and cell debris.
MLD for the Post-Mastectomy
Cancer surgery is the most well known complicating
cause of edema problems, i.e. Mastectomy and Prostate
surgeries. Swelling can occur early after surgery
or one can have a sudden onset months or years later
following heavy exercise, a physical trauma or illness.
Untreated, it can go on to cause major life-threatening
problems such as infection (cellulitis) and inability
to remain active and mobile.
Manual Lymph Drainage® or Complex Decongestive
therapy is the treatment of choice for edema problems. It
is a massage technique that was initially developed in Europe
by Estrid and Emil Vodder and brought to this country by
Hildegard Wittlinger who currently has a school in Austria
and teaches at the North American Dr. Vodder school in Victoria,
Bandaging for Complete Decongestive Therapy
Therapists who perform this technique require over
160 hours of training to learn special light stroking
and pumping techniques that encourage resorption
or removal of fluids from the swollen tissues. A
complete understanding of the physiology of the
lymphatic vessels enables the therapist to assist
the body in forming new lymph pathways to replace
damaged or absent ones. The treatment includes a
combination of Manual Lymph Drainage®, complex
bandaging, exercise and skin care, and encourages
the patient to manage care at home.
In the event of early edema, Michele has had good success teaching
patients a form of self massage with or without the use of compression
garments. This early approach negates the need for more involved
treatment and requires 2 or 3 one hour sessions for instruction
and follow up. It is imperative, however, that this be started
at the very first notice of swelling.
The results of
treatment with Manual Lymph Drainage® is a decrease
in swelling, reduction of pain, reduction of scar tissue
and a calming effect on the autonomic nervous system.
Finished Upper Extremity Bandage
There are many other pathologies that respond to
this specialized form of massage. Among them are
acne, various forms of arthritis, pelvic disorders
such as endometriosis, arterial and venous ulcerations,
stroke, spinal and various other orthopedic injuries
as well as post surgical edemas.
If you feel you can benefit from Manual Lymph Drainage®
treatments please consult your doctor for a prescription
or call us.