Manual Lymph Drainage

Manual lymph drainage is a very gentle form of massage performed with a specific pressure in a specific direction which stimulates the flow of the lymph. It is through this specialized treatment technique that the lymph is re-routed from a congested area, where the lymph system has been impaired, to an area where the system is still intact. This in effect facilitates the opening of alternative pathways of lymph flow.


This type of massage is, on the whole, a very light technique. This is because the practitioner is trying to influence vessels that are situated in the skin layers.  Manual Lymph Drainage is NOT the same as ‘Lymph Drainage Massage’.  Sports or Swedish massage will influence lymph drainage by increasing circulation of blood to the area being massaged, but may not be suitable for someone who has a compromised lymphatic system and it is not nearly as effective in moving fluid as MLD. The lighter MLD will remove fluid from tissues without first bringing an extra load to the area in the form of circulation.


There are many reasons for the Lymphatic system to be sluggish and not functioning well, leaving fluid static in the tissues. Pollution, toxins, poor nutrition, mucous formation, overload from previous viral or bacterial infections, etc., – these are all things that can give rise to cellular stagnation. If the lymphatic system is functioning well, we feel well. It is my hope that your lymphatic system function optimally!


There are several observed or identified benefits to Manual Lymphatic Drainage:

  • Reduction of stress
  • Improves nerve and muscle function
  • Improves Circulation
  • Cleanses impurities from your system
  • Balances the whole body
  • Revitalizes Energy
  • Preventative healthcare


The client may experience the following after a session:  Deep relaxation; sensations of being chilled/cold; deeper, calmer sleep with more dreams; an increase of energy and vitality; fatigue/tiredness from toxins being released; tenderness around blocked lymph nodes;


Five to ten sessions bring the best overall results – each session 30-60 minutes,  48 hours between sessions.   Between these sessions, it is found to be helpful that the client:

  • rests
  • drinks plenty of water
  • performs self-care lymph strokes, skin brushing, circulatory motions over the skin
  • soaks in a hot tub (with Epsom salts)
  • eats fresh veggies and fruits, goes easy on heavy proteins and fats
  • don’t overeat
  • exercises daily, including 15 minute “warm up” before MLD session


MLD  is not Diagnosing, Prescribing, nor Treating Specific Illnesses.  In the case of any of the following contraindications, the practitioner reserves the right to cancel a session.

  • Pain of an unknown source – see Doctor first
  • Severe Lymphedema with pitting
  • Varicose Veins – could have clots. Characterized by dilated, enlarged, twisted veins that are swollen and have incomplete valves where blood is pooling.
  • After an Organ Transplant – written release is required from a physician as the immunosuppressant drugs change the blood chemistry and MLD tries to bring the blood chemistry back to normal.
  • Kidney failure, on dialysis, or on kidney medication
  • Liver disease, hepatitis
  • Hemorrhaging – open sores, burns, cuts, etc.,
  • Current pregnancy complications, endometriosis, UTI (urinary tract infection)
  • Medication, Drugs, and Alcohol – these substances reduce sensitivity; practitioner reserves the right to decline working with client if abuse or overuse is suspected.
  • Discretion will be used for Chronic Degenerative Diseases and may require Dr’s note:
    • Cancer
    • MS
    • Osteoporosis
    • Diabetes
    • Rheumatoid Arthritis


East-West Wellness currently has an amazing massage therapist to cover all your needs. Visit their page to read a bio:

Jason Nealley is a certified Manual Lymph Drainage Therapist through Klose Training.

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Blog by Donna Sigmond

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East West Wellness
1148 W. Dillon Rd., Ste. 1
Louisville, CO 80027