Manual Lymph Drainage

Dr Alison Merrick


Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is an advanced therapy in which the practitioner uses a range of specialised and gentle rhythmic pumping techniques to move the skin in the direction of the lymph flow.

In many European countries MLD is a clinically approved and prescribed treatment.  It is becoming more widely available in the UK NHS but is restricted to specialised lymphoedema clinics.

MLD is both preventative and remedial and can enhance your well being.  Furthermore, MLD:

  • Is deeply relaxing
  • Promotes the healing of fractures, torn ligaments, sprains and lessens pain.
  • Can improve many chronic conditions: sinusitus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, acne and other skin conditions.
  • Boosts the immune system as part of “detox” treatment.
  • Relieves fluid congestion: swollen ankles, tired puffy eyes and swollen legs due to pregnancy.
  • Promotes healing of wounds and burns and improves the appearance of old scars.
  • Minimises or reduces stretch marks.
  • Can be used to speed healing after cosmetic surgery

MLD is also an effective component of the treatment and control of lymphoedema (which may occur after cancer treatment) and assists in conditions arising from venous insufficiency.  Combined decongestive therapy (CDT) comprises 4 parts:

  1. Manual Lymph Drainage massage – To reduce oedema
  2. Compression bandaging/garments – To prevent oedema recurring
  3. Skin care – To prevent complications (eg cellulitis, ulcers)
  4. Exercise – To promote the natural function of the lymph system to reabsorb the oedema

CDT is available at Farfield House, however, with more complex and advanced conditions treatment may need to be in collaboration with specialist wound healing or tissue viability nurses.