Manual Lymphatic Drainage
What is Manual Lymphatic Drainage?
Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)is a specialised manual therapy that uses a gentle rhythmic pumping technique that torques the skin in the direction of lymph flow. The Vodder method of MLD stretches the skin in two directions that opens up the overlapped endothelial cells, allowing fluid in the tissues to drain into the initial lymph vessels. Once the the pressure in the lymphatic system builds it creates a vacuum effect, speeding up lymphatic flow and drainage from the tissues.
MLD DOES NOT INCREASE BLOOD PRESSURE SO IT IS VERY SAFE FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH COMPROMISED TISSUES AND VESSELS SUCH AS THE ELDERLY, DIABETICS AND OTHER PATHOLOGIES WERE MASSAGE IS CONTRAINDICATED.
MLD has a relaxing and calming effect on the nervous system as the soothing rhythmic stimulations of the skin lowers the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. This also has a pain reducing affect as it stimulates the mechanoreceptors in the skin by releasing inhibitory hormones that counterbalance the transmission of nociceptors (pain receptors). Pain is also reduced through the removal of chemical “danger” signal stimulators such as lactic acid or by products of histamines in the tissues.
BENEFITS OF MLD
2. Can improve chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, sinusitis, scleroderma and other skin conditions
3. Relieves fluid congestion such as swollen ankles, legs and tired puffy eyes.
4. During pregnancy there is extra strain on the lymphatic system which can be reduced using MLD to keep legs and feet fluid free.
5. Helps to detox the body by speeding up fluid transport and drainage of the tissues, helping to strengthen the immune system and getting rid of toxic chemicals that have built up in the body.
6. Very efficient at speeding up healing after all surgeries including cosmetic surgeries.
7. Promotes healing of wounds and burns as well as improving the appearance of old scars including stretch marks.
8. Relieves digestive tract disorders such as IBS and constipation.
9. Helps with symptoms of Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Autonomic Dystonia (muscle stiffness) and Bells Palsy.
10. Relieves tension headaches and migraines
PRE AND POST-OP
Failure to control micro-circulation and removal of macro molecules (debris) leads to pollution of the tissues as excessive protein debris builds up.
Damaged tissues have reduced ability to remove excess fluid, MLD enables the fluid to be removed quickly therefore reducing recovery time. Pollution of the tissues impairs the wound healing process which will lead to infection and disease as the disrupted flow can not follow the normal route.
Slow healing and complications in the healing process leads to fibrosis, loss of muscle function, loss of fascial bio-tenstegrity and adhesions
Lipedema is a chronic disorder that occurs mainly in women which can be very painful and if left untreated can result in lipo-lymphedema. It causes symmetrically impaired fatty tissue distribution between the top of the hips to the ankles, the feet are characteristically not affected.
Women affected by lipedema usually complain of heaviness and tightness in the legs which are also sensitive to touch and bruise very easily due to the increased permeability and fragility of the blood capillaries. The disorder normally begins during puberty and is characterised by larger hips and heavy lower legs. It is an inherited condition with disproportionate swelling of the legs in relation to the trunk (pear shaped).
Lipedema has nothing to do with obesity so it therefore can not be improved with diet although a healthy diet is required to help manage the condition. Early diagnosis, referral for treatment and self care are essential to reduce the significant impact of lipedema on quality of life.
COMBINED DECONGESTIVE THERAPY (CDT) FOR LYMPHEDEMA
There are two types of Lymphedema
COMBINED DECONGESTIVE THERAPY IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE THERAPY TO MANAGE THE DISEASE BY COMBINING
2. Multi-layered bandages and Compression
3. Skin Care
4. Respiratory therapy
THERE ARE TWO STAGES OF TREATMENT TO CDT THERAPY, INTENSIVE PHASE FOLLOWED BY THE MAINTENANCE PHASE
The maintenance phase requires daily wearing of the custom made compression garment to retain the limb at the reduced size. Other aspects of the maintenance phase include diet, exercise and occasional MLD treatments to help control the fluid balance.
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