Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) as a specific modality was developed in France in 1932 by Emil and Estrid Vodder. It’s a technique to stimulate lymph flow and a support in effective drainage of bodily tissues.
It’s based on skin-stretching and pumping techniques done in a specific manner to promote the movement of lymphatic fluid out of swollen limbs or lymphatic nodes. It also applies slow, rhythmical movements, and gentle pressure.
Additionally, the treatment includes deep breathing techniques (diaphragmatic breathing) at the beginning and end of a session to help relax the patient and to open the deep lymphatic pathways.
Apart from its effect on the lymphatic system, MLD also increases blood flow, and can help in conditions such as post-traumatic and post-surgical edema, and palliative care.