lymph drainage therapy

Kelly Su Lim, LMT, CLT

Medical Massage Therapist           860.368.1648

specializing in Dr. Vodder's Manual Lymph Drainage

oncology  surgical  lymphedema  burns  scars  veins  



MLD supports immune function by facilitating the circulation of lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. It also supports detoxification by removing waste products from the local cellular environment. Enhancing the rate of flow to the lymph nodes is an effective line of defense because this is where viruses, bacteria, and damaged cells get filtered out and broken down. In short, MLD moves fluid, and the movement of substances throughout the body is vital to maintain health and heal from injury.

Edema is localized stagnant fluid lingering in the spaces between tissues. This light, soothing, rhythmic work stimulates flow from the tissue space back into circulation via the lymph system. It will decrease swelling after any trauma, including strains, sprains, burns, and motor vehicle injuries, or after surgery, such as reconstructive, oral, oncologic, and orthopedic. It encourages sinus drainage and alleviates joint inflammation. This technique is particularly relaxing and calming to the nervous system thus promoting restful sleep.


Cancer survivors are at risk for lymphedema after surgical lymph node removal and radiation therapy. The intensive phase of treatment for lymphedema involves manual lymph drainage followed by the application of compression bandaging to decrease swelling. These daily treatments, administered for a week or two, are typically done by a physical or occupational therapist since it is covered by health insurance. However, to maintain a manageable stage of this chronic condition, regular maintenance MLD and bandaging tune-ups are recommended to avoid and control flare-ups.


Fascia is connective tissue that forms a web throughout the body, enveloping musculature, connecting skin and muscles, and supporting internal organs. Superficial lymph vessels are located between layers of fascia. Fascia can become stuck and dense due to poor posture, injury, or scar tissue. By utilizing this technique, however, fascia becomes more liquid and flowing. It helps warm and release areas of adhesion so structures glide more easily over each other, thus improving mobility and lymphatic flow.


During this technique, the patient participates by gently contracting and relaxing a muscle as directed by the therapist, to activate structures within the muscle fibers. This helps reduce contractures, restore normal resting length of the musculature, and increase range of motion.