Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is a set of techniques developed by Vodder to help the function of lymphatic system. In lymphedema the goal is to reduce swelling, maintain reduction and bring lymphedema back to latency stage. This is achieved by MLD which removes the excess plasma proteins from tissues via lymphatic vessels and tissue channels. Maintaining reduction is attained by compression garments.
Lymphatic capillaries are supported by anchoring filaments. MLD working phase stroke stretch stimuli is applied to the subcutaneous tissues resulting in manipulation of the anchoring filaments of lymph capillaries and smooth musculature in walls of lymph vessels. Stretching these filaments results in increased intake of lymph. The light directional pressure works to move lymph fluid in appropriate direction. During resting phase of strokes initial lymph vessels absorb fluid from interstitial spaces.
MLD strokes also increase contraction frequency of lymphatic vessels, so that more volume of lymphatic fluid can be transported. MLD reverses lymph flow in lymphedema. The lymph fluid is rerouted to healthy lymph nodes. MLD also results in increases venous return, is soothing since it promotes parasympathetic response and decreases pain perception.
MLD can be used after trauma and surgeries since it removes fibrin from initial lymphatics resulting in decreased formation of scar tissue. As well as, is analgesic and reduces swelling. MLD is also helpful with rheumatoid arthritis and chronic sinusitis.