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Dr Vodder's Manual Lymph Drainage
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Dr Vodder's Manual Lymph Drainage

The lymphatic system is involved in the health of all body tissues. It acts to cleanse and assist in the regeneration of the connective tissue, keeping it free of irritants, removing by-products of metabolism and foreign particles. The lymphatic system works closely with the cardiovascular circulatory system.
It helps to maintain blood volume, circulates proteins, transports large fat molecules and is inextricably integrated with all immune responses .

Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) is a gentle, soothing, non-invasive technique, which significantly improves the activity of the lymph vessels. Its efficiency lies in its intricacy, preciseness and focus.

Estrid and Emil Vodder developed their technique during the 1930's and later worked with other lymphatic pioneers to develop a unique and highly effective treatment. The Dr Vodder method of MLD is the most extensively researched and widely taught manual drainage technique. Unlike regular massage, MLD does not increase the movement of fluids from the blood vessels into the tissues and therefore does not increase the tissue congestion. In fact research shows that MLD significantly reduces tissue congestion and oedema.

As well as being highly effective in the treatment of a broad range of acute and chronic conditions, MLD can be used as part of a health maintenance programme to assist the lymphatic system to remove metabolic wastes, excess water, toxins, bacteria, large protein molecules and foreign substances from the body tissues and generally aid the circulation of the lymph. MLD also assists the body to heal more rapidly from injuries, surgical trauma and chronic conditions.

The effects of MLD

Nervous System/calming

The light, slow rhythmic and repetitive movements act on the autonomic nervous system to reduce sympathetic activity, allowing the parasympathetic nervous system to function fully. This may assist in stress and sleep disorders.


Alternating light pressure acts on the mechanoreceptors(light touch receptors) which can subdue pain pathways. Because MLD is so gentle, it can be used without delay and may assist in pain reduction, reduced swelling and bruising. It accelerates and assists in the healing process.

Immune System
MLD supports the action of the immune system. The lymph system is the site of production of antibodies and lymphocyte reproduction. This component of the immune system is involved in destroying and removing pathogens and foreign cells. MLD can be used effectively for chronic inflammatory conditions where the immune system is depleted.

Tissue Drainage
Stretching the lymph vessels stimulates contraction in the smooth muscle in the walls of the vessels in doing so increasing lymph flow in the lymph vessels. As a result there is an increased removal of wastes and toxins from the tissues. MLD has an effect on the sympathetic nervous system in that it dilates the pre-capillary sphincter which increases blood flow through the capillary without increasing blood pressure of the tissues. The action of MLD in the sympathetic nervous system indirectly allows for increased digestion function.