Road to Resilience Massage, PLLC
Wellness and Treatment Massage

Manual Lymphatic Drainage


Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)

I am currently certified to perform Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) and have been trained in the Vodder technique.

MLD is a gentle manual therapy technique that encourages interstitial and lymph fluid movement throughout the body.   It is most often used to address swelling and pain that result from traumatic injury, surgery, and lymphedema.  

MLD may also help reduce pain and improve the quality of sleep for those affected by conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines, or other health issues where the deeper pressure from massage does not provide relief or may cause the condition to flare.

For many types of injury and surgery, massage therapy may be contraindicated for up to 6 weeks.  MLD is different.

Because MLD is very subtle, it is often safe and desirable to receive treatment within a few hours after an injury such as a deep bruise, sprain, or strain, and within a few days of surgery or a more severe injury such as a fracture.  Precise timing of your treatment will depend on the type and severity of your injury or surgery.  Care may need to be coordinated after consult with your medical provider so that the treatment plan is in-line with their recommendations.

MLD sessions for injury and surgery are typically shorter in duration than a massage session (30 minutes) and may be limited to the areas affected.  Often, the most benefit may be realized by several shorter sessions, and by combining MLD with your medical provider’s other recommendations for managing pain and inflammation.   

If you have a planned surgery, it is best to book sessions in advance once your surgery date is known to ensure that we are able schedule appointments with optimal timing to maximize pain relief and recovery.

A whole-body session (usually for fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, or migraine) is typically completed in 45-60 minutes.  Site-specific sessions take approximately 30 minutes.

If you are used to receiving regular deep tissue massage treatments, or structural integration sessions, MLD is going to feel very “light” in terms of pressure.  This is because the goal of treatment is to move fluid, not to access underlying fascial or muscle tissue as would occur in a regular massage session.   

It is also important to note what does not happen during an MLD treatment session.  MLD is NOT incisional drainage.  At no time will I attempt to re-open or push fluid out of any incision or drain. I never work directly over an incision that is not healed, or healed incisions that are less than 6 weeks old.  If any type of wound treatment is required, it is extremely important that this be provide by a nurse, physical therapist, or medical provider properly trained and certified in this type of care. Wound care is not in the scope of a Massage Therapist in Washington State.

Tools, cups, and cremes are also not a part of an MLD treatment session.  There are instances in the healing process where use of any or all these items may be appropriate and helpful, but they are not used for MLD.