Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) Treatment

MLD is a very gentle type of massage that is specifically applied to encourage the flow of lymphatic fluid and waste products back towards the heart. Developed in France in 1932 by Emil and Estrid Vodder, the skin is stretched and torqued in a specific manner, based on scientific and physiological principles that are known to promote lymph flow. While MLD is generally recognized as a treatment for lymphedema, it is also very effective for treating wounds, burns and scars, decreasing swelling and congestion, and maintaining tissue health. It has profound effects on all systems of the body and should only be performed by a certified therapist.


Considered the gold standard for treatment and management of lymphedema, CDT involves five components:

  • manual lymph drainage
  • compression therapy (bandaging and/or compression garments)
  • decongestive exercise
  • skin care
  • patient education

The aim of this varied approach is to reduce the swelling as much as possible through an intensive phase of therapy that involves frequent MLD treatments and bandaging. Once the size of the limb is reduced, the patient is then transitioned to a custom-fit compression garment and instructed on self-management.