Manual Lymphatic Drainage
Manual Lymphatic Drainage
The Lymphatic system influences many bodily functions, but happens to be one of the most under-researched and overlooked systems in your body. It is part of your immune system which has many purposes including protecting your body from illness-causing invaders such as bacteria and viruses, maintaining body fluid levels, absorbing digestive tract fats and removing cellular waste (such as cancer tumors and foreign debris).
Vodder Method of MLD
Manual Lymphatic drainage is a therapeutic form of soft-tissue mobilization that can enhance lymph formation and promote drainage within the superficial and deep systems of the lymphatic network. Using light and long strokes, an MLD treatment helps restore movement in the lymphatic system. While MLD may be incorporated into a remedial massage treatment, it is not a form of massage, but more a technique which can be integrated to support the body's lymphatic system and healing process. It’s an incredibly gentle treatment which is why it can be used effectively in some acute conditions as well as in lymphedema management. Regular treatments can be very beneficial for long-term health, and the treatment itself is very calming and relaxing.
The Manual Lymphatic Drainage technique was pioneered by Drs. Emil Vodder and Estrid Vodder in the 1930s, who began to study the poorly understood lymphatic system. Developing light, rhythmic hand movements to promote lymph movement, they began to teach other practitioners to use this therapy which has grown to be the most well known manual technique to assist lymph flow and aid in drainage of tissues. The Vodder Method of MLD is a holistic method that has been used around the globe extensively with established results that can treat a variety of conditions including:
"I have to tell you - you healed my arm. I can wash my hair with that arm again and it doesn't hurt to pick up my cat. Thank you"
L.J. North Vancouver
Other Ways to Support the Lymphatic System:
Movement - Unlike the cardiovascular system that has the heart to pump blood through your body, the lymphatic system relies on movement and respiration to keep it flowing. Aerobic exercise such as walking, swimming and cycling decrease the accumulation of inflammation around the lymphatic structures and 'pumps' lymph through its network.
Deep Breathing- Dr. Jack W. Shields states “Deep diaphragmatic breathing stimulates the cleansing of the lymph system by creating a vacuum effect which pulls the lymph through the bloodstream”.
Dry Brushing - Brush your skin while dry, with a natural soft bristle brush (preferably with a long handle so you can get your back also) or with a gua sha (a small wooden, metal, or stone tool used in traditional Chinese medicine) in the direction of your lymphatic flow to stimulate movement and open clogged areas (also benefits the skin to open pores).
Hydration - Lymph is comprised primarily of water, so ensuring you are properly hydrated is imperative to a healthy lymphatic system.
Nutritious Diet - Plant based fats such as avocados, nuts and seeds should be included as well as adequate protein and lots of vegetables. Eliminating mucous forming foods such as dairy and flour is beneficial for people prone to congestion and susceptible to skin problems. Fiber is important for proper elimination.
Herbs - Burdock (to eliminate toxins and purify the liver), Ginger (anti-inflammatory and good for digestive issues), Tumeric (regulates T and B cells, anti-inflammatory)