Lymphedema is swelling, usually in the arms or legs, due to a blockage of the lymph passages. The lymph passages are defined as “vessels that drain fluid from tissues throughout the body, and allow immune cells to travel where they are needed.”
Lymphedema caused by lymphatic obstruction is most often found in individuals who have enlarged lymph nodes, or have had their lymph nodes surgically removed. Other causes are injury, radiation therapy, cellulitis, surgery, or tumors.
Doctors may recommend compression bandages, range of motion exercises, and, in rare cases, surgery for the treatment of Lymphedema. Manual Lymphatic Drainage or MLD, is a light-touch massage treatment that has also been proven to be an effective treatment for Lymphedema.
MLD uses very light pressure to stimulate the lymph vessels that lie just beneath the skin. MLD moves lymph fluid out of the congested area and back into circulation in the center of the body, reducing swelling and congestion. Significant pressure can actually shut down the lymph vessels momentarily, making MLD massage the lightest touch massage technique you may ever experience.