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Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD). What is it and how can it help me?

Our bodies are so fascinating. As a massage therapist, I'd like to think that I know at least a little bit about them but there's still so much I don't know and I was reminded of that this past week during my training for Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD). I'll be honest - I wasn't all that interested in this modality but we've had so many people calling the clinic looking for it that I figured if the need was there, then I should try to meet that need - and now I'm very glad that I did.

I attended a 45 hour training with Klose Training in Greenville, SC. The class was fairly demanding both on the brain and the body but I found it to be absolutely fascinating and came to the conclusion that the lymphatic system is one of the most misunderstood and underutilized systems when it comes to a person's overall health. The lymphatic system directly ties into the cardiovascular system and the immune system as well as the digestive system and has an impact on our neurological system as well.

So what is MLD? MLD is a component of complex decongestive physiotherapy (CDT) which is the gold standard in managing lymphedema and is used therapeutically to manage many issues and diseases. It's most well known for reducing edema (swelling) although it has other effects such as improving venous return, reducing fatigue, and raising the pain threshold (Schingale, et al, 2021) along with helping the nervous system move from a sympathetic to a parasympathetic state (i.e. it helps relax your nervous system) and enhancing your immune system. MLD is a gentle touch therapy (and if you know me, you know this is a bit outside my wheelhouse but I'm embracing it) that uses a few basic techniques and sequences to move fluid throughout the body.

MLD is helpful for people with post-surgical edema, injuries like sprains/strains, whiplash, hematomas, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, rheumatoid arthritis, migraines and sinus headaches, tinnitus, Lyme disease, diabetes, and others. It's also well tolerated by oncology patients because of its light touch and used to help manage lymphedema (with the oversight of a CDT/lymphedema therapist and/or doctor).

I'm excited to bring this to the clinic and my clients (both old and new) and welcome any questions you may have about this modality. All clients wanting this modality will be required to do an initial consultation before their first treatment. I cannot treat complex lymphedema and if there are any other contraindications discovered, I will refer you out to someone with more advanced training. Pricing for this work will be $145 for the initial consultation and first treatment (1 hour consult with 1 hour treatment if no contraindications), $105 for a 60 min session and $150 for a 90 min session. If during the initial consultation it's determined that you need to be referred out, you will not be charged.

Appointments will be available starting October 1. New clients will ONLY BE ALLOWED TO BOOK FOR MLD and will not be able to make appointments for massage as I am not taking new massage clients. Existing clients can make appointments for either depending on their need. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to me at and I look forward to sharing this modality with you!

- Bekah

Schingale, Esmer, Kupeli, and Unal, 2021. "Investigation of the Less Known Effects of MLD: A Narrative Review. Lymphatic Research and Biology, Vol 00, Num 00.

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