At Healing Kneads, we’re constantly looking for alternative ways of alleviating pain and bringing relief to our clients. As such, we often carry out therapies that people may not have heard of or are less familiar with. 

One of these therapies is manual lymph drainage (MLD), commonly known as lymphatic massage. 

Since debuting this therapy, we’ve had several queries from our community about what exactly this massage form looks like, how it helps, and what it can be used for. It is, as it happens, very different from traditional massage therapy, so it’s definitely worth understanding in a little more detail!

What is Lymphatic Massage?

The first thing to note about lymphatic massage, or MLD, is that it isn’t really massage at all. It is a gentle skin technique used to help the lymphatic system remove waste and move lymph that may be stagnant after trauma to the body, such as surgery. Manual lymph drainage works by applying gentle pressure to the lymph vessels located just under the skin. This can stimulate these vessels to work better and help lymph fluid move and to help the body eliminate waste. 

What Is the Lymphatic System?

The lymphatic system is a network of lymph vessels acting as the body’s cleaning and refuse service. Lymph vessels help eliminate waste products, excess proteins, and toxins or impurities like bacteria, excess cells. The clear fluid that we describe as lymph is the conduit for the body’s white blood cells, responsible for carrying out the cleaning. 

How Can Lymphatic Massage Help?

MLD is usually used to get rid of build-ups of excess lymph fluid that occur due to trauma, accidents, injuries, or surgery. We see many post-op clients who have developed swelling, bruising or lumpy fibrosis after surgery, and MLD can have a real impact on reducing these symptoms and relieving pain caused by the initial surgery or trauma. MLD can also benefit the body’s immune system by stimulating the lymphatic system and helping it work better, faster, or more effectively. 

Traditional vs Lymphatic Massage

Lymphatic massage is a very different prospect to traditional massage. When we think of conventional massage, we usually think of the Swedish and deep tissue form, using long, kneading strokes to apply pressure to muscles. You might also have deep tissue in mind, focusing on specific areas of tension or pain and getting down to a deeper layer in the body.

Lymphatic massage is far gentler and uses far less pressure. We don’t use oil or lotion, and MLD isn’t targeting muscles at all, but rather engaging, moving, and stimulating the lymphatic network.

While traditional massage can be excellent for relieving muscle tension and encouraging oxygen flow in the blood, MLD is a better option for reducing swelling or recovering from trauma. MLD is also effective at improving the immune system and promoting overall bodily health. 

Healing Kneads Massage

To find out more about what massage is in general and MLD, in particular, might be able to do for you, give us a call!

If you are ready to make an appointment, book an appointment here with one of our therapists. We love helping out anyone interested in knowing more about massage therapy.

Laura is the founder of Healing Kneads. She graduated from Florida College of Natural Health in 2012 and is passionate about helping people find rejuvenation and renewal amidst the stresses of life, and relief from the pains that show up in their bodies because of that stress. She believes in the mind-body connection and believes every body has the potential for wellness and balance. Laura has helped clients with various issues, including neck and jaw pain, headaches, Lipedema, and Lymphedema.

She is licensed by the Florida Department of Health, and holds certifications in Lymphatic Drainage, Myofascial Release, Sports Massage, cupping, and neuromuscular massage.