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Manual Lymphatic Drainage

Manual Lymphatic Drainage

Manual Lymphatic Drainage, (MLD)

Manual Lymphatic Drainage is a very gentle type of massage therapy used to drain excess fluid from the body and improve the overall functioning of the lymphatic (immune) system. MLD is most commonly used to treat Lymphedema, which is characterised by the blockage of lymph nodes in the arms and legs.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage by Richard Wain in Dartford

Manual Lymphatic Drainage chart showing lymph glands

MLD originated in Europe during the 1930s. It was first used on patients as an effective way to detoxify (ridding of waste) the body. Today, MLD is still used as a way to improve the inner workings of the lymphatic system. The massage is applied gently in the direction of lymph flow in order to unblock any obstructed lymph vessels, and allow lymph flow to transport waste from the body freely.

As lymph is so key to keeping your immune system working properly, improving its flow and drainage around the body is good for you in lots of ways.

Manual Lymphatic drainage massage can have a powerful effect on your general health:

  • It can help your body fight infection and speed up healing and recovery from illness
  • Effective treatment for cellulite
  • Reduces water retention
  • Boosts weight loss

It can improve your skin texture by:

  • reducing swelling, puffiness and blotches
  • giving you clean healthy pores speeding up healing in scar tissue, so it can, for example, improve the appearance of stretch marks


You should tell us about the following:

  • are, or think you might be, pregnant
  • have any medical conditions or are receiving any treatment or medication
  • have recently had an injury or operation
  • are allergic to anything, particularly skin allergies
  • have any broken skin or sores on your scalp

Many women do not have lymphatic drainage when menstruating, but this is a matter of choice. Avoid large meals or alcohol before treatment.


What to expect from a Manual Lymphatic Drainage massage?

Manual Lymphatic Drainage helps you to lose weight

Manual Lymphatic Drainage uses gentle pressure strokes to release trapped fluids

This massage treatment takes place in a heated room; warmth is an important factor in increasing lymphatic flow. You are also likely to be more relaxed if you’re not cold. The lymphatic drainage massage is given on a massage table. You do not need to remove underwear and you will be draped with discreetly placed towels.

MLD massages are applied to bare skin, and no massage oils or lotions can be used in order for the treatment to be effective. MLD massage is applied in gentle strokes towards the heart. This technique will lightly stretch the walls of the lymph vessels and encourage lymph drainage.

During your MLD treatment I may use one of four very effective MLD techniques to encourage lymph drainage:

Stationary Circles these strokes are applied in continuous spirals with the fingertips typically over the neck, face and lymphatic nodes.

The Pump Technique – palms down on the skin, and make oval strokes with my fingers and thumbs to encourage lymph flow.

The Rotary Technique – massage the skin in circular motions with my palms facing down. The wrists are used to apply and lessen the stroke pressure.

Scoop Strokes – my palms will be face up, with fingers remaining outstretched so that my hands are cupped to resemble a scoop. Twisting strokes are then applied to encourage waste disposal.

After your MLD Massage

Manual Lymphatic Drainage may leave you feeling a little tired. You might like to stretch yourself to a gentle swim or a sauna afterwards. Give your body time to ease back into activity. As with any treatment, you will get most benefit if you give yourself time to get the benefits of it, try to avoid rushing off for an appointment straight afterwards. It’s a good idea to give yourself plenty of time either side of the massage, so that you don’t feel rushed.

It will often leave people really thirsty. It’s quite strange the first time you experience this; even if you’re not usually a water-drinker you will probably need to drink lots of water or other fluids soon after to flush the released toxins away.



Please do not pay for your session until we have booked your appointment in. Sessions are 60 or 90 minutes.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage


Please check T&C’s on the Prices page.

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