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Manual Lymphatic Drainage, often called manual lymph drainage or MLD, was developed in the 1930s by Dr. Emil Vodder and Estrid Vodder in Europe.

Manual Lymph Drainage is practiced and taught in the Foldi clinics in Germany and in the MLD institute of Dr. Robert Lerner in New York and Ft. Lauderdale.

MLD is a manual technique to assist lymph flow and aid in drainage of tissues. MLD is a direct, safe and quick way to provide results. A therapist applies a light, gentle, skin-to-skin contact via fingers using a stretch and release technique to aid the lymph and provide drainage results.

Manual lymph drainage is good for anyone with a lymphatic system! Environmental toxins, the food we eat, heavy metals, smoke (firsthand or secondhand), not drinking enough water and much more, all play a role in affecting the healthy balance of the lymphatic system.

Manual Lymph Drainage is perfect for:



before and after surgery

during and post pregnancy

after going through cancer treatments


preventive health

calming effect on muscles


help decrease alcohol, tobacco and drug cravings


What are some benefits of Manual Lymph Drainage?

Listed below are some of the many benefits of Manual Lymph Drainage according to the North American Vodder Association of Lymphatic Therapy (NAVALT) and the Dr. Vodder School.

  • removes metabolic wastes, excess water, toxins, bacteria, large protein
  • molecules and foreign substances from the tissues.
  • Alleviates pain be greatly reducing the pain signals sent to the brain.
  • Relaxes the sympathetic nervous system, thus helping to relieve stress.
  • Supports and enhances the action of the immune system.
  • Helps the body to heal more quickly from injuries, surgical trauma, chronic
  • conditions and edema.
  • Helps to minimize scar formation.
  • Teenage acne.

What is the difference between Manual Lymph Drainage and massage?

Compared to traditional massage, the pressure applied with manual lymph drainage is much lower in intensity. The goal of MLD is to manipulate the lymphatic structures.

In order to achieve the desired effect, the pressure in the working phase should be sufficient enough to stretch the subcutaneous tissue against the fascia (a structure separating the skin from the muscle layer) located underneath, but not to m​manipulate the underlying muscle tissue. The amount of pressure needed in MLD is sometimes described as the pressure applied to stroking a newborn’s head.


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