12 Jan Manual Lymphatic Massage
Manual Lymphatic Massage (MLD) is a very specific massage technique (timing, pressure and direction) which helps to ensure our bodies ability to rejuvenate and establish resistance to all types of stress. It encourages the natural circulation of lymph through the body. It is not a muscular massage but a harmonious manual treatment using mild mechanical stretching of the connective tissue to facilitate decongestion of lymph ducts. This allows regenerative fluid to flow and improves circulation and toxin removal as well as carrying vital substances to areas where it is needed, thus hastening healing times.
Some of the Benefits of MLD are:
- MLD stimulates the lymphatic system to absorb and transport lymph more effectively.
- During the course of a 24 hour period the total lymph fluid that will pass back into the heart is approximately 2 litres, with efficient activation of the lymphatic system during the 24 hours post MLD this figure increases to between 10-20 litres.
- It also stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system via the ‘relaxation effect’, thus inhibiting pain and muscle tonus.
- It assists with detoxification.
- It also assists post surgical node removal by ‘retraining’ lymph fluid to be directed across physiological boundaries (watersheds) towards functioning lymph nodes.
Which Conditions may MLD help with:
- fluid retention (oedema)
- sinusitis/hay fever
- pre and post dentistry
- cancer related surgery, such as breast (segmental, simple and total mastectomy)
- pre and post all surgery
- neurology – migraines
- pain relief and anti inflammatory
- gastro enterology – constipation and digestive disorders like IBS
- carpel tunnel
- post sporting
- bruising / injury
- oedema during pregnancy
- pre and post flight oedema
What is the Lymphatic System:
- The lymphatic system is a major body system and the front line in our defense in fighting bodily infections, detoxifying the body and transporting metabolic waste, excess fluid, toxins and bacteria out of the body.
- It is the bodies waste disposal unit, acting as a giant detox plant, mopping up daily toxins.
- It is part of both the circulatory system and the immune system.
- It assists in maintaining our homeostatic fluid volume.
- It picks up excess fluid and protein thus preventing toxic shock.
- Helps to transport immuno competent cells around the body to localise infection.
- Carries food components absorbed from the small intestines to the blood circulation.
Anatomy of the Lymphatic System:
- Lymph fluid starts out as part of the blood stream.
- There is a constant escaping of blood plasma from the venous system which squeezes out into the interstitial spaces to become lymphatic fluid
- It is then collected by the lymphatic capillaries
- Moves into lymphatic vessels
- Moves through lymph nodes (centres of filtration)
- Moves through larger lymph vessels towards the heart
- Collects in the lymph trunks, either the left thoracic duct (75%) or right lymphatic duct (25%)
- Returns to the blood stream at the right or left subclavian veins and returned to the heart as part of the circulatory network to begin the journey again.
Things that stress our Lymphatic System:
- emotional shock
- being overweight
- chemical overloading
- food additives
- high fat diets
- toxin accumulation
- sedentry lifestyle
- polycystic ovary syndrome
- graves disease
Richard and Urska are both qualified Manual Lymphatic Massage Therapists and would be happy to provide further information regarding Manual Lymphatic Massage and its benefits.
This article has been written by Richard Roope, Massage Therapist / Personal Trainer at Largs Bay Health & Yoga.