Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is a highly specialised technique that may be used to treat many injuries and pathologies. MLD is a special form of massage that helps drain the lymph fluid, and may also help develop new pathways for lymph fluid to move around the areas that are blocked. Manual lymph drainage uses long, slow, gentle strokes starting on the chest and stomach area, and then moving to the arm and hand. The aim is to first make a ‘space’ ready to take the extra fluid from the arm, then to move this extra fluid out of the arm.
How can MLD help YOU?
  1. It could be used as part of a post sporting and post-injury RICE protocol when clients are unable to receive deep tissue or other massage techniques that would otherwise be contraindicated.
  2. It can be included as a valuable ‘add in’ to the massage treatment plan and used as a prequel to other techniques such as myofascial tension technique and deep tissue. With the use of MLD, we gently and specifically engage the fascia and the fluid, simultaneously releasing the tissues of the lymphatic-extracellular fluid and fascial planes. In one movement we may negate many of the negative side effects of fascial work, that may lead to bruising and inflammation.
  3. It can be used pre and post-surgery to prepare tissues for incision and also to promote healing and tissue health post-surgery preventing infection and other post-surgical complications.
  4. MLD not only stimulates the vital functions of the skin, tissues and internal organs but also serves to assist with the elimination of possible cellular waste and stimulate the parasympathetic relaxation response, inhibiting muscle tonus and pain.
  5. It could be performed as a preventative technique that bolsters our bodies ability to rejuvenate and resist all types of stress. This results in the speeding up of the fluid’s movement throughout the lymphatic system and through the major organs, enabling the increase of lymphocyte transportation and production.


The use of MLD can also help:
Fluid retention, lymphoedema, sinusitis, hay fever, pain relief, IBS and fibromyalgia, post sporting, carpal tunnel syndrome, golfers and tennis elbow, bruising and oedema.
Breast Cancer and MLD
More than one in five patients who undergo treatment for breast cancer will develop breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL). BCRL can occur as a result of breast cancer surgery and/or radiation therapy. BCRL can negatively impact comfort, function, and quality of life. MLD, is frequently used for BCRL and often as part of complex decongestive therapy (CDT).
MLD at Mid North Coast Physiotherapy
MLD is a highly specialised area, and currently, our only therapist who is trained to deliver MLD is Fran. If you wish to explore MLD as part of your treatment plan, please request Fran at the time of making an appointment so you are able to discuss your treatment with her.

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