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Manual Lymph Drainage® and Complete Decongestive Therapy Lymphedema - At last, a successful treatment approach


MLD of Terminus
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 vessels.


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
Upper Extremity

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, B.C.

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.


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