Benefits Manual Lymph Drainage

Written by: Susana Villalba Reñones
Edited by: Top Doctors®

Manual lymph drainage is a technique used in advanced massage therapy physiotherapy and aesthetics. Its purpose is manual lymphatic system activation surface in order to facilitate drainage of interstitial fluid and lymph, deadlocked for any pathological cause, to healthy lymphatic territories for normal evacuation towards the venous torrent. Thus stagnation or saturation waste substances or harmful germs is avoided.

Treatment with manual lymphatic drainage is a technique that requires expertise and a thorough understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the lymphatic and venous systems by the therapist to achieve optimal treatment outcome.


Benefits of MLD

Drainage specifically stimulates the muscles of the walls of the lymphatic vessels and the lymphatic system uses itself to cleanse the body, reduce inflammation and strengthen the immune system.

This technique mobilizes and drains lymphedemas proteins, which are not able to be drained by instrumental means (such as acupressure, which drains only the interstitial fluid). It also has an analgesic effect, regulates intestinal peristalsis and normalizes muscle tone.


MLD treatment

manual drain The technique of manual lymph drainage is a series of very soft hand maneuvers, usually painless for the patient. Each maneuver three phases:

  • Passive support phase
  • Active pushing phase (pressure increasingly applies)
  • Passive relaxation phase (is removed from a decreasing pressure and skin returns by itself to the starting position).

With this pumping action on the tissues so that the lymphatics to mobilize and to transport this lymph is achieved.

Apply slow, monotonous, harmonic, gentle, rhythmic movements. The application rate should be slow and the pressure of the minimum maneuvers. It should not be done abruptly.

Treatment always begins from proximal to distal lymph emptying collectors will collect the lymph.

In order to prevent the skin from slipping no lubricants are used. Still, in some cases it is allowed to use moisturizers to enhance the development of technical and dry skin and hypertrophic appearance.


Indications MLD

  • lymphedema
  • Linfostáticos extensive edemas:

Secondary edema after mastectomy.

Edema secondary interruption of lymphatic vessels.

  • Primary edema.
  • Panniculosis edematous fibrosclerotic.
  • Edema of the head and / or face.
  • Local edemas traumatic hematomas, contusions, Sudeck dystrophies, dislocations and fractures.
  • Local postsurgical edema and to speed healing: orthopedic surgery, aesthetic, dental extractions.
  • Rheumatic joint diseases (arthritis, osteoarthritis) and extra - articular (bursitis, capsulitis, periarthritis).
  • Local edemas of the central and peripheral nervous system: headache, migraines, vertigo, palsy, Down syndrome.
  • Edemas by circulatory disorders: varicose veins, tired legs (venous edema), venous ulcers or pressure sores.
  • Edema during pregnancy (prevention of stretch marks, download legs).
  • Lipoedema: cellulite.
  • Chronic inflammation of the respiratory tract.
  • ORL: chronic sinusitis, rhinitis, pharyngitis, tonsillitis.
  • Digestive system: chronic constipation, digestions.
  • Edemas by menstruation.
  • Dermatology: acne, chronic eczema.
  • Stress: nerves, anxiety.
  • Fibromyalgia.


Contraindications MLD


  • Malignant tumors.
  • Acute infections.
  • Cardiac edema.
  • Torturous and embossed varices.
  • Phlebitis, thrombophlebitis or deep vein thrombosis ongoing.
  • Linfodinámicos edemas: few proteins in the blood (malnutrition).


  • Cancer and treated.
  • Thrombosis, phlebitis or thrombophlebitis recent.
  • Hipotensiónarterial.
  • Acute inflammations: Rheumatism, renal colic, gout.
  • Functional disorders of the thyroid.
  • Autoimmune diseases (lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis).
  • Bronchial asthma.
  • Abdominal disorders.
  • Carotid sinus syndrome.
  • Nevi (moles).
*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection
 Susana Villalba Reñones

By Susana Villalba Reñones
Physical therapy

The Ms. Villalba is a physical therapist specializing in structural osteopathy, cranial and visceral, myofascial therapy, gymnastics and clinical Pilates Abdominal Hipopresiva. He also has experience in the Global Postural Reeducation (RPG), in the treatment of colic in infants and Shantala baby massage. He currently directs the Innova Physiotherapy Clinic.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection