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Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the benefits of MLD?

MLD increases activity of lymph vessels.  It moves the lymph fluid through the vessels at a faster rate for more efficient filtering from the lymph nodes.   Imagine the lymph nodes as a filter at the end of a hose.  MLD acts to open the valve and push the water more quickly to the filter.  MLD has a variety of benefits including: improved reabsorption, increased drainage of fluids, removal of waste products from our bodies, decreased risk of fibrotic tissue developing, increased local sympathetic and parasympathetic responses of the nervous system,  increased lymph production, analgesic (pain relief) effect, and improved venous return.  It also is a very relaxing technique that promotes stress relief and deep relaxation.

Is there anyone who cannot or should not receive MLD?

Do not receive MLD if you are currently running a fever of 100* or more.  Do not receive MLD if you have congestive heart failure, cardiac edema, acute infection (cellulitis, streptococcus etc.), renal failure, severe hypertension, acute deep vein thrombosis or acute bronchitis.

What are some conditions or diagnoses that would benefit from MLD?

General detoxification, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines, cellulite (lipedema), post trauma, post surgery, sinusitis, athletes post competition and pregnancy.  However if you are feeling a general overall feeling of sluggishness and/or are frequently ill, MLD can help overcome this if the primary cause is an overtaxed lymphatic system.  

Who can perform MLD?

Many therapists claim to be able to perform Manual Lymphatic Drainage.  MLD is a specialty service and requires specialized training .  Many therapists will complete an online course or more simplified weekend course and claim to be able to perform MLD. Certification in MLD requires a minimum of 135 hours of coursework, hands on practice and multiple exams (written, verbal and practical).  The MLD Vodder technique is a gentle manual treatment  which is based on the four Vodder strokes.  The common denominator in all strokes is a working phase and a resting phase.  If you are wanting your therapist to "go faster" or provide "more pressure", MLD is NOT for you.  The intensity, sequence, duration and direction of the strokes is crucial for the most beneficial outcome of your session.

How do I prepare for my session?

The first thing you should do is ask your therapist about his/her qualifications for performing MLD. Ask your therapist what certification they hold and what technique he/she is trained in.

  • Arrive hydrated, but not with a full bladder.  What is considered proper hydration is half your body weight in ounces within 24 hours of your treatment.  It will be more comfortable for you if you don't try to get all of hydration the same day of your treatment.  Start hydrating the day before your session.  MLD treatment encourages the lymphatic system to work more efficiently and move stagnated fluid. This process will cause fluid to find its way to your bladder. It’s good to empty your bladder prior to the start of your treatment.

  • Eat a small healthy snack or fast before your session. The deep abdominal lymphatic vessels are accessed during a traditional MLD session. A large meal may be uncomfortable. 

  • Don’t apply lotion or oil. To be effective,  MLD requires a gentle skin-stretching motion.  MLD treatments are done with no lotion or oil, allowing the skin to stretch. Please don’t apply oil or lotion before your treatment.

  • Expect to undress to your level of comfort but know that direct contact with the skin is always best.  It is not recommended that tight clothing or under wire bras are worn as they will restrict lymph movement.


What should I expect during my session?

MLD is  a very gentle procedure and should not be painful. The session will focus on moving the lymph to the areas where the main lymph nodes are located, such as your neck, armpits, and groin.  MLD is always done on the skin directly, without the use of any oils, lotions or waxes. Because the lymph that is being  stimulated is directly under the skin, it is important to work directly with the skin, without any additional barriers.


How often should I get MLD?

The frequency of MLD treatments depends on your life style and circumstances.  If you are an active person and are able to exercise 3 or more times a week, monthly MLD treatments should be adequate. Exercise helps stimulate the lymphatic system and helps detoxify the body.   If you have recently had an injury, have not been able to move regularly, or have been bed ridden, you may benefit from 1-2 sessions per week.

For the best results for detoxification purposes, a person should schedule a series of sessions.  It is recommended to have one Lymphatic Detox Treatment per week for three weeks, and continue treatment until improvement is observed.

If you experience a high frequency of common colds, allergies or headaches, 1-2 two lymphatic drainage sessions every three months is appropriate.  

If you are receiving MLD post operation, the frequency depends on the type of surgery and the recovery period. Most physicians will recommend a series of 2-3 sessions per week for the first 1-4 weeks. For liposuction surgeries, where the damage to the lymphatic system is more comprehensive, it may be necessary to follow a regimen for several weeks to a few months post-surgery to fully re-establish healthy lymphatic flow.  The frequency will be determined by your physician.

***Please note that Manual Lymphatic Drainage will metabolize certain drugs out of your system more quickly, along with most types of toxins.   If you are on pain medication or recently had a surgical procedure, you may need to adjust your medications.  Please discuss this with your Medical Professionals.


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