What is Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)?
MLD is a very gentle, light touch massage used to treat and control different types of lymphoedema or swelling of an arm, leg or other part of the body due to an abnormal build-up of fluid called lymph in the body tissues. MLD uses the lymphatic system to cleanse the body, reduce and ease swelling and strengthen the immune system by stimulating the flow of lymph.
How can Manual Lymphatic Drainage help to reduce swellings?
MLD improves the efficiency of the lymphatic system. Specific and gentle movements of the skin stimulate and increase the rate of removal of waste products, toxins and excess fluid from the body’s tissues resulting in reduced fluid retention, swelling and puffiness of the ankles.
Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is both preventative and remedial and can enhance your well being.
Described as “One of the best kept secrets on the health and beauty scene stimulate and increase the rate of removal of waste products, toxins and excess fluid from the body’s tissues resulting in:
- clearer and cleaner skin
- reduced puffiness around the eyes
- reduced cellulite
- reduced fluid retention
- improved skin tone
- has a tonic effect on intestinal peristalsis, which in turn will aid digestion
Many mums-to-be experience swollen ankles during pregnancy. This happens due to the retention of sodium and water and increased levels of progesterone, oestrogen, HCG, and prolactin. Although this type of swelling or edema can indicate a dangerous condition called pre-eclampsia, a certain amount of edema is normal during pregnancy. Peripheral edema is the most common and resilient manifestation in pregnant women and is caused by the following reasons:
- the retention of sodium and water and changes in the circulation related to the effect of the gravid uterus on the inferior vena cava
- during pregnancy, many hormonal changes take place including increased levels of progesterone, estrogen, HCG, and prolactin. These higher levels of hormones induce changes in vascular permeability, promoting extravasation of plasma with consequent edema
- other transformations that may occur due to these hormonal changes are the formation of varicose veins, sensation of heaviness, paraesthesia, and cramps
MLD stimulates and increases the rate of removal of waste products, toxins and excess fluid from the body’s tissues resulting in significantly reduced fluid retention, swelling and puffiness of the ankles.
Cosmetic Surgery, Liposuction – speeding up recovery
To speed up the healing and recovery, MLD is recommended before and after breast augmentation, liposuction, eyelids and face lifts.
MLD is an adjunctive method of chronic venous disease therapy:
- significantly decreases the degree of disease severity and foot and lower limb volume and improves patient’s quality of life
- before surgery improves the effect of the surgical treatment and decreases anxiety and depressive states caused by varicose veins
Skin disorders: acne, eczema, rosacea
MLD can help to reduce symptoms of skin disorders:
- by promoting the balance in the environment of cells.
- by stimulating better lymphatic activity to draw away toxins and inflammatory agents from the tissue and into lymph nodes.
What Every Woman with Breast Cancer Should Know
Hand and Arm Care after Surgery or Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer
What is lymphedema?
Lymphedema is a build-up of lymph fluid in the fatty tissues just under your skin. Following the removal of lymph nodes and radiation therapy, secondary lymphedema or swelling of the arm affects about 25% of breast cancer patients.
Who gets lymphedema?
Any woman whose lymph nodes are affected by breast cancer treatment can get lymphedema. But women who have many lymph nodes removed and women who have had radiation therapy have a higher risk of lymphedema.
What to do after surgery or radiation to help reduce swelling:
Right after surgery, the incision in the breast and underarm area may swell. This swelling usually goes away slowly over the next 6 to 12 weeks. But arm swelling after breast surgery can mean a higher risk of lymphedema later.
These tips may help ease the swelling:
- Put your affected arm above the level of your heart 2 or 3 times a day and keep it there for 45 minutes. Lie down to do this, and fully support your arm. Place your arm up on pillows so that your hand is higher than your wrist and your elbow is a little higher than your shoulder.
- Exercise your affected arm while it’s supported above the level of your heart by opening and closing your hand 15 to 25 times. Repeat this 3 to 4 times a day. This helps reduce swelling by pumping lymph fluid out of your arm through the undamaged lymph vessels.
- During and after radiation therapy, you should do simple stretching exercises each day to keep full movement in your chest, arm, and shoulder muscles.
- Regardless of the surgery type and the number of the lymph nodes removed, Manual Lymphatic drainage (MLD) might effectively prevent lymphedema of the arm on the operated side. Even in high risk breast cancer treatments (operation plus irradiation), MLD was demonstrated to be effective against arm volume increase. (Study of the efficacy of manual lymphatic drainage in preventing secondary lymphedema after breast cancer surgery. [Lymphology. 2012]).
How is MLD used to treat Secondary Lymphoedema?
MLD therapist uses Complex Decongestive Therapy (CDT), an intensive treatment that combines Manual Lymphatic Drainage and compression garments.
During lymphatic drainage, the therapist uses a range of specialised and gentle rhythmic pumping techniques to move the excess fluid into an area with a working lymph vessel system. This stimulates the lymphatic vessels and helps move excess fluids away from the swollen area so that it can drain away normally.
The MLD treatment is followed by the fitting of compression garments, to reduce limb size.
How long will the treatments take?
The treatment of lymphoedema falls roughly into two categories:
Phase One – an intensive treatment period for reduction of the swollen area
Phase Two – a maintenance phase intended to keep the area as reduced as possible after the intensive Phase One treatment.
- Arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Promotes healing of wounds and burns after many types of surgery e.g. joint replacement, and improves the appearance of old scars
- Minimises or reduces stretch marks
- Poor immune system, general wellbeing, relaxation and stress control
You can’t change the fact that you’re at risk for lymphedema or you already have lymphedema. What you can change is how you live your life – taking good care of yourself, making healthy choices, and doing what you can to make your body and your mind feel as good as possible.
Never Be Sick or Tired Again
A lot of people, even younger ones, have more and more problems with chronic illnesses such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, obesity, autoimmune diseases and cancer. When someone is overloaded with toxins in their environment, a diet too high in fat or full of unproductive foods, the liver and lymphatic system become overburdened. They can’t detox like they’re meant to, and when the body can’t detox, then like unwanted houseguests, those toxins stick around, clogging up the works. As a protection mechanism, the body retains fluids to keep the toxins suspended, and the resulting oedema translates to weight gain and can provoke numbers of physical and mental health problems, like:
Lungs disorders: Asthma, chronic Sinusitis, high fever Thyroid disorders: Graves’ disease, Hashimoto thyroiditis, chronic fatigue, slow metabolism etc
Virus infections: Epstein – Barr virus, Glandular fever Brain disorders: ADHD, Autism, MS etc Muscles/Nervous system: Muscular dystrophy, Fibromyalgia, Peripheral Neuropathy Bones disorders: Ankylosing spondylitis, Arthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis Skin: Vitiligo, Psoriasis, Eczema, Urticaria
Pancreas/GI tract: Diabetes, Crohn’s, Ulcerative colitis, IBS, Celiacs
Regular detoxification of the entire body helps making body’s immune system stronger and helps body to defend by itself from many diseases.
10 Ways to Detoxify Your Lymphatic System:
1. Manual Lymphatic Drainage
Manual Lymphatic Drainage helps to drain toxins, fat and fluids from your cells, thus removing them completely. Lymphatic system is a part of your circulatory and immune system. Moreover, it is composed of glands like thymus gland, lymph nodes, spleen, and tonsils. Your lymph is responsible for:
- Transporting the white blood cells to your bones from and to your lymph nodes.
- Taking in and carrying out the fats like fatty acids and chyle from your digestive system.
- Eliminating the interstitial fluid in the tissues.
- Transferring antigen-presenting cells such as dendrites cells to your lymph nodes.
As your lymphatic system does not have active pumping system, it requires body’s movement, breathing, intestinal activity, and proper muscle action to boost flow in your body. Manual Lymphatic Drainage is another way to activate body’s lymphatic system and increase metabolism.
Additionally, acupuncture is another effective method to stimulate blood circulation and lymph flow to remove the toxins from your body.
3. Infrared Sauna
Infrared sauna is also an excellent option to detoxify your lymphatic system. That causes your body to excrete sweat that possesses the extra toxins of your lymphatic system.
4. Include the Herbs to Stimulate Your Lymph Flow
You may want to prepare homemade tea or include the following herbs when making your food:
- Wild indigo root
5. Eat Foods that Induce Your Lymph Flow
You should eat small raw foods packed with nutrients in order to enhance the health of your lymphatic system. These foods include:
- Brazil nuts
- Low-sugar fruits
- Ground flaxseed
- Leafy green veggies
Avoid Foods that Can Contribute to Clogged Lymphatic System
To enhance the health of your lymphatic system, avoid eating the following foods:
- Conventionally raised meat
- Table salt
- Artificial sweeteners
- Processed foods
- Conventional dairy
6. Drink Plenty of Pure Water
It is advisable to consume 2-3l of water on a daily basis. Also, you may want to drink a few glasses of lemon water daily for best results.
- Avoid Wearing Tight Clothes – If you wear tight clothes on a daily basis, it may reduce the circulation in your lymphatic system. Also, it may contribute to toxin accumulation.
7. Use Dry Brushing
Brush your skin for 10 minutes with circular movements by using a natural bristle brush.
Then, simply take a shower. You may also want to mix the dry brushing with hot and cold shower for maximum benefits.
8. Take Cold and Hot Showers
Taking a hot shower helps dilate your blood vessels, whereas a cold shower helps shrivel them. This kind of shower includes taking a shower by using cold and hot water alternatively. Simply switch the water from hot to cold several times towards the end of your shower. This helps remove the excess fluid from your body. Note: This kind of shower isn’t recommended for pregnant women and for those suffering from cardiovascular disease.
9. Take Deep Breaths
Your body contains a 3 times higher amount of lymph fluid than blood. Deep breathing is beneficial for carrying the toxins into the blood. Liver will get rid of them.
10. Get Regular Exercise
Getting regular exercise plays a vital role in keeping your lymphatic system healthy. Start by doing simple exercises and gradually continue with more difficult ones. It is important to know that rebounding on a small trampoline and swimming is the most beneficial exercise for your lymphatic system.
Our Physiotherapy Clinic Services
The West Wimbledon Physiotherapy Clinic aims to provide a selection of services to maintain and enhance health and wellbeing. Although primarily a physiotherapy clinic, a range of other treatments are available.