MLD – The Vodder Technique
Manual Lymphatic Drainage (known as MLD) was developed in Europe in the 1930’s by Dr. Emil Vodder. This highly specialised technique takes the form of ”massage” and uses light, rhythmical, very precise hand movements, pressures, and sequences. Generally it is performed without oil and works with light touch at the skin level only. Movements influence the direction and speed of lymphatic flow, re-directing if necessary. It also increases the venous flow without increasing arterial blood flow.
By stimulating the lymphatic vessels, this advanced therapy assists the body’s natural defences, improves the detoxification process and the removal of waste products.
MLD at Physio4Life Putney
The first visit will include a consultation during which the therapist will recommend the number and frequency of future sessions. Each session will last approximately one hour. Where appropriate the therapist will work in conjunction with your medical practitioner.
A treatment commences at the neck to clear the area and ‘make space’ for lymph to be brought there. The next parts of the sequence will depend entirely on why MLD is being performed and the particular needs of the individual.
MLD’s intensely relaxing effects mask the strength of the treatment itself. Being a very light technique it can be enjoyed by everyone.
The Benefits of MLD
- Analgesic: based on the Gate Theory the nocireceptors (pain receptors) and mechanoreceptors (touch receptors) of the central nervous system share a synapse or pathway. A simplified explanation could be that the touch receptors are stimulated by the light, repetitive touch of MLD, these signals overtake or crowd out those sent by the pain receptors. MLD will also remove from cells the chemicals associated with the central nervous systems pain response.
- Boosting the Immune System: Lymph stagnation impedes the body’s immunological response so speeding up the workings of the lymphatic system must promote it. Certainly, people who are receiving MLD on a regular basis, report that they no longer pick up colds and sore throats as frequently as they may have done before having the treatment.
- Deep Relaxation: As it is a very light massage, utilizing repetitive and continuous hand movements, it has a calming effect on the autonomic nervous system which Vodder explains as “a change from a sympathetic state to a parasympathetic state” stressing the importance of the lightness of touch so as not to trigger a release of histamines in the tissue which would otherwise overstimulate. The effect is to induce a state of deep relaxation in the body allowing even the walls of vessels and bowels to be relaxed.
- MLD is safe throughout a woman’s pregnancy – safe for mother and safe for baby. As well as not being detrimental, it is enhancing because it is congestion reducing. As long as preeclampsia is ruled out, MLD is the treatment of choice for puffy eyes, puffy ankles and tired, swollen legs in pregnancy. It can help make pregnancy induced carpal tunnel manageable, and is another good preparation for labour tool because of its calming and soporific effect.
There are a variety of pathologies that can benefit from MLD including: Fibromyalgia, Head and Neck Disorders (chronic sinusitis, migraines, whiplash), Hypertension, Stress, Allergies, Common Acne and Acne Rosacea, Constipation, Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis, Localized Post-Traumatic Oedema, Bruising, Surgical Procedures (useful to complement mobilization by physical therapy), and many more. MLD can be used to improve scar tissue and to reduce bruising after surgery or injury.
It is also an excellent therapy for rejuvenation as a beauty treatment and can reduce puffiness and fine lines and wrinkles.
Unfortunately, MLD treatment is not suitable, if you are suffering from the following:
- Malignant Tumour Process
- Deep Venous Thrombosis
- Acute Infection
- Cellulitis (skin infection)
- Cardiac Decompensation