Manual lymphatic drainage MLD is a type of massage based on the hypothesis that it will encourage the natural drainage of the lymph , which carries waste products away from the tissues back toward the heart.
Lymphedema management: Manual Lymph Drainage for lower extremities
The lymph system depends on intrinsic contractions of the smooth muscle cells in the walls of lymph vessels peristalsis and the movement of skeletal muscles to propel lymph through the vessels to lymph nodes and then to the lymph ducts which return lymph to the cardiovascular system. Manual lymph drainage uses a specific amount of pressure less than 9 ounces per square inch or about 4 kPa and rhythmic circular movements to stimulate lymph flow.
Studies show mixed results regarding the efficacy of the method in treating lymphedema and further studies are needed. Manual lymphatic drainage was pioneered by Danish Drs. Emil Vodder and Estrid Vodder in the s  for the treatment of chronic sinusitis and other immune disorders.
While working on the French Riviera treating patients with chronic colds, the Vodders noticed these patients had swollen lymph nodes. In the s, the lymphatic system was poorly understood. The Vodders were not deterred by this and, in , began to study the lymph system, developing light, rhythmic hand movements to promote lymph movement.
Edema vs. Lymphedema
In , they introduced this technique in Paris , France , and after World War II, they returned to Copenhagen to teach other practitioners to use this therapy. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Modalities for Massage and Bodywork.
Retrieved 25 April World J Surg Oncol. The Bodywork and Massage Sourcebook.
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