helps stimulate the Lymphatic System and as-as a treatment for lymphoedema, and also as a complementary therapy for general health.
Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is a light, very gentle skin-stretching massage that helps promote the movement of lymphatic fluid out of the swollen limb. It should not be confused with a traditional massage. MLD is specifically focused on the very fine tubes called lymph vessels to help the flow of lymphatic fluid, in order to move lymphatic fluid, the therapist needs to warm and move the skin without impacting the deep tissues of the body. The techniques used in this treatment involve massaging with very gentle upward, circular strokes and some pumping movements to encourage the fluid to move into vessels.
These techniques result in a treatment that is extremely soothing and deeply relaxing. Manual lymphatic drainage can be beneficial in conditions such as post- traumatic and post-surgical oedema, and palliative care, reducing swelling post-surgery, whether this is cosmetic surgery or some other medical procedure including cancer treatment which often requires removing your lymph nodes, if you are pregnant and have fluid retention during pregnancy, such as swollen feet or just if you’re suffering with oedema regardless of the condition.
Some of the benefits of MLD are:
- Helps to move lymphatic fluid around the body.
- Helps to increase the flow of toxins through the body and back to the organs that eliminate them such as the spleen, liver and kidneys.
- Helps to boost the immune system by increasing the circulation of antibodies that fight infection
- Fluid retention can result in weight gain. Manual lymphatic drainage massage can help with weight loss if this is the case.
- Improves blood circulation as well as drainage of lymphatic fluid
- Relieves pain and stiffness in areas where fluid retention is a problem.
- Relieves stress and stress-related conditions as it is a deeply soothing treatment.
- Can improve flexibility and increases the range of movement in areas affected by fluid retention.Other factors such as stress, muscle tension, illness and injury can also cause lymphatic fluid to build up in areas of the body.
Manual lymphatic drainage for post cosmetic surgery
During the early period following liposuction surgery patients will experience swelling, bruising and discomfort. This is to be expected since liposuction is a relatively invasive procedure.
Common forms of liposuction involve either injecting a significant amount of medicated fluid into the area or using ultrasonic vibration or laser to liquefy the fat, before suctioning it out using a sharp-ended vacuum tube (a ‘cannula’). These procedures can create significant tissue damage and swelling. Excessive fluid presence or localized pockets of fluid may slow recovery and/or make the results less aesthetically optimal by encouraging uneven healing and fibrosis.
Uncontrolled swelling could potentially create other complications such as small pockets of fluid becoming trapped (called a ‘seroma’), inflammation, and infection. In general, swelling can be reduced or controlled by wearing compression garments, they must be worn properly and consistently, and sized appropriately. Surgeons also often recommend that their patients supplement their recovery with manual lymphatic drainage as early as possible, ideally within the first few days after liposuction, or after abdominoplasty with liposuction (a ‘tummy- tuck’).
The idea behind this recommendation is that manual lymphatic drainage could help prevent and alleviate the build-up of fluid and formation of scar tissue.
How does it feel to receive manual lymphatic drainage after liposuction?
Manual lymphatic drainage is usually delivered in one-hour sessions. It is not painful, much more gentle than regular massage, and is usually described as being pleasant.
No oils or other products are used on the skin during these sessions. Its normally recommend for best results that treatment initiates in the first few days (5 to 7 days) following surgery, and normally patients come for a standard number of treatment sessions, from 6 to 10 sessions.
However, the number of sessions should ideally be determined by the therapist in conversation based on the assessment of the affected areas. Patients should experience some benefit from the very first treatment and may find that this benefit increases after each session.