Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)
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image below to enlarge
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Lymphoedema of the leg before treatment
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Lymphoedema of the arm after breast mastectomy and lymph node removal.
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Lymphatic drainage is a specialised technique of gentle massage on the surface
of the skin which helps the lymphatic system to work better. It consists of light
rhythmical and calming hand movements which gently stretch the skin in specific
directions stimulating the lymphatic system. The aim of MLD is to redirect fluid
from congested areas towards healthy lymphatics where the fluid can be drained
by normal routes back into the circulation. This pressure is applied evenly, repetitively
and rhythmically which creates in the person being treated an incredibly deep
relaxing feeling. These movements do not cause redness of the skin, neither do
they cause any pain.
Margaret is now working with the Hivamat machine
please click onto link (www.physiopod.co.uk)
to find out how this wonderful machine helps in her treatments, especially with
IT WORKS IN THE BODY
SYSTEM - reduces swelling and removes toxins, thus helps to reduce swollen
ankles, tired puffy eyes and fluid retention due to pregnancy or pre menstrual
syndrome. Invaluable in the treatment of lymphoedema.
SYSTEM - calms it down and has a mild pain relieving effect.
SYSTEM - improves muscle tone. It can help to heal torn muscle and ligament
fibres by reducing the inflammation after injury.
SYSTEM - it helps digestion by aiding the peristalsis action of the bowel.
SYSTEM - the lymphatic system makes cells called lymphocytes (antibodies)
which help the body fight infection. These immune cells travel through the body
faster in a functional lymphatic system.
lymphatic system is made up of a vast network of capillaries that transport the
lymph (fluid). This fluid consists of water, plasma proteins, foreign substances
i.e. ink, dust, bacteria and other waste products. The bodys defence cells
known as antibodies are also carried in the lymph fluid.
The function of
the lymphatics is to clear protein, water and waste from the tissues and to distribute
antibodies to areas of the body where they are needed to fight infection.
accumulation in the tissues can be due to the absence, damage to, or obstruction
of lymphatic vessels or nodes which will then affect the transporting capacity
of the system. When the fluid builds up in the body to the point where it becomes
too much for the lymphatics to drain it away, then oedema (swelling) occurs. It
is similar to that of a river which has been dammed - water builds up behind the
dam, overflows the banks of the river and if the ground does not drain properly
it becomes waterlogged.
Lymph flows slowly upward through the body to the
chest where it drains into the bloodstream through two large ducts. Lymph also
flows down from the head and neck into this drainage site. Unlike the heart, the
lymphatic system does not have a pump to move it along, its movements depend on
factors such as natural pulsation of the lymph vessels, muscle contraction, respiration,
arterial pulsation and massage with manual lymphatic drainage.
happens due to the drainage routes of the lymphatic system becoming blocked or
damaged and as a result lymph fluid accumulates in the tissues and swelling occurs.
Also fibrosis (excess protein which causes hardness) can be present in the tissue
and an increased risk of infection occurs. As a result of this fibrosis, the swelling
increases, and can become more difficult to control. Lymphoedema is divided into
Primary: This is usually determined from birth
and may be due to under development of the lymphatic system. It can affect infants
or children, men or women at any age and is seen most frequently in the arms and
Secondary: This can occur in treatment of cancer following
surgery or radiotherapy where lymph nodes have been removed or damaged or scar
tissue has formed and lymph drainage routes may be reduced. It can also occur
as a result of infection, severe injury, burns or any other trauma.
MLD to be effective it is essential that the treatment time suits the illness.
For large swellings or chronic health problems, 6-10 sessions (at least) 1 per
day for 6-10 days consecutively is needed. Maintenance treatments after the initial
treatment programme are recommended as lymphoedema is a lifelong condition. Maintenance
could be 1 treatment per month or 2 to 4 times per year, depending on the condition.
blocked lymph vessels, the lymph load which is rich in waste products must be
pushed inch by inch through these blocked vessels to be filtered by the receiving
lymph nodes. Any fibrosis which hinders flow must be treated specifically and
so time must be spent to soften this and allow lymph fluid to pass through.
treatment has finished clients will be advised on proper compression garments
to wear, also exercises will be given, advised on diet, travel and living with
lymphoedema. A course of bandaging may be necessary to reduce the fluid in addition
to MLD. If this is the case then a letter can be sent to your General Practitioner
as bandages are available on prescription. Self massage techniques will also be
shown for the patient to practise at home. 100,000 people in the UK may have lymphoedema.
Studies have shown that some people with this condition feel anxious, depressed
or isolated, but this treatment is very successful and the relief clients feel
afterwards is absolutely amazing!
more detailed information regarding a treatment plan for any illness, please phone
the clinic and ask to speak to Margaret Taylor personally.
3 Meadowbank Terrace
0131 661 7275
courtesy of Anne Williams