What is manual lymphatic drainage?

MLD, techniques for the face

Manual lymphatic drainage is a specialised massage of precise, light rhythmical hand movements which gently stretch the skin in a circular motion along the lymphatic pathways.


This pumping movement stimulates the contractions of the lymphatic vessels and promotes the flow of fluid from the tissues into the lymphatic system. The fluid is carried to lymph nodes where it is filtered and cleansed of dead cells, bacteria and other waste products and then returned to the blood stream. A healthy lymphatic system is fundamental to our immunity as it carries white blood cells which help fight infection.


The slow, gentle rhythmic movements of the therapy are effective in calming the nervous system, aiding relaxation and help to alleviate pain.


MLD is an important component in the effective management of lymphoedema - an intensive programme may be advised with maintenance sessions to follow.