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Manual Lymphatic Drainage in Wilmington, DE

  • Post-Surgical Liposuction
    Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) massage is frequently recommended by plastic surgeons during the recovery phase following cosmetic liposuction. There is often a considerable amount of bruising and swelling to which MLD massage can help speed up the recuperation period. The tunnels created by the surgical instrument will fill with fluid and become swollen with fluid and left-over fat. This substance will begin to harden between 1-3 weeks after surgery. MLD helps to remove this substance by gently directing it back into the lymph passages, cleansing the extracellular spaces where it was trapped. The faster the excess fluid is excreted, the quicker the skin can retract and unevenness can be avoided. We recommend 4-6 treatments. Treatments can begin 1 week post surgery and there may be no open wounds or tubing.
  • Lymphedema
    Poor health conditions can interrupt the normal flow of lymph, causing lymph fluid to build up in a specific area of the body where it will cause swelling. This condition is called Lymphedema and most often happens in the arms or legs. Lymphedema can develop as a result of infections, cancer treatments that involve the removal of lymph nodes, and any condition that damages the lymphatic system. Length of treatments needed will depend upon the patients individual circumstance and type of lymphedema.
  • Breast Augmentation
    MLD after breast augmentation helps to prevent the formation of excessive scar tissue, both in the incision and around the implant. The treatment is designed to relieve congestion, swelling and discomfort. In addition, MLD will encourage symmetry, restore pain-free range of motion and also help to prevent capsular contracture. Many other types of breast surgery patients find MLD helpful in recovery as well.
  • Facial Procedures and Face Lifts
    Manual Lympatic Drainage can often expedite recovery. A specific series of light, rhythmic strokes reduces swelling and improves the return of lymph to the circulatory system. While many cosmetic procedure can benefit from MLD very soon after surgery, facial procedures may require a longer wait time before beginning any manuel therapy. As with any surgery or procedure, please obtain permission from your doctor before beginning any post-treatment.
  • Other Cosmetic Prodecures
    Manual Lymphatic Drainage is often recommended following these procedures as well: Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty), VASER Liposuction, Buttock and Hip Augmentation with fat, and 'Mommy Makeover's".
  • Edema and Swelling Due to Injury or Inflammation
    Edema is the body's general response to injury or inflammation and is the result of fluid from 'leaky' blood vessels being released into nearby tissues. This fluid accumulates and causes the tissue to swell. Manual Lymphatic Drainage encourages the natural movement of this excess lymph fluid, improving the severity of the edema and its painful symptoms.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD), is a very gentle type of treatment technique that addresses swelling (edema) trapped in your body’s tissues. This swelling may be evident in the feet, ankles, legs, arms, etc., when there has been injury or trauma. However, internal swelling, in areas such as the shoulders and spine or even around scar tissue or any post-operative areas, cannot be seen but may be causing symptoms such as pain and stiffness. Because we use a total body balance approach, both internal and external swelling is effectively addressed; we do not need to know exactly where the stagnation is located. MLD consists of gently stretching and directing the skin in order to stimulate the lymphatic system. We prepare the lymph nodes that are easily accessible, to promote whole body (systemic) drainage. This is one of those cases where less is more. The goal is to show the body how to self-correct and move any stagnant fluid that may be having a negative impact on the body.


MLD is most notoriously known for reducing swelling caused by fluid build-up after cancer treatment (lymphedema); it can reduce edema following an injury. It can also reduce fluid retention due to inflammation or a disease process. It is used to decrease pain, reduce stiffness, restore movement, and allow for optimal tissue healing. MLD drains excess fluid from the tissues, while also having a detoxifying effect. Although it is most often used to address medical conditions, MLD can benefit a healthy person as well. A properly functioning lymphatic system is essential for overall health.


MLD is an advanced type of manual therapy and is quite different than classic massage. It consists of gentle, rotating, pumping motions that moves the lymph fluid without increasing the blood circulation. Increasing the blood circulation with deep massage and heat can inhibit the movement of lymph fluid by changing the permeability of the lymph and blood vessels. 

The MLD treatment session

After an initial consultation, you will undress, lie down on a massage table in the face-up position, covered modestly with a sheet. The atmosphere is the same as a massage treatment room with dim lighting and soft music.  Although you are in a massage setting, it is important to understand that MLD is a specific form of bodywork designed to efficiently move lymph fluid in your body. MLD is completely different from a deep tissue, Swedish or relaxation massage that you may be expecting or have had in the past. Stimulation of the Lymphatic System activates the para-sympathetic nervous system producing an automatic physiological relaxation response. Many clients fall asleep. Only the area being worked on is undraped at any time. Gentle, rotating, pumping motions with the therapist’s hands and fingertips begin at the collarbone area, then focus on areas where there is a concentration of lymph nodes…the underarms, abdomen, groin and back of the knees. Usually the entire session is performed with you lying in the face-up position because all the areas of lymph nodes that need to be decongested are generally located on the front of the body.


We recommend booking the first session for 60 minutes. Your treatment plan can then be discussed and developed with your therapist. The amount of sessions needed can vary based upon many different factors. Very often 2-3 sessions are recommended, although sometimes just having a single session can be tremendously effective. In the case of severe swelling or following surgery, it is not uncommon to need 6-12 sessions.


MLD can be done every day. In some countries it is done 3 times a day. How often you need to come is based on your condition and general health. We can discuss this during the initial consultation. Generally, we see patients 2-3 times a week for non-controlled swelling and less often for maintenance and well-being.


Talk to your doctor and make sure you get their approval for a Manual Lymph Drainage session if you have or had congestive heart failure, blood clots, kidney problems, infections, or circulation problems.

The Importance of the lymphatic system

Signs of a congested lymphatic system may include:

  • Swollen glands

  • Puffiness in eyes or face

  • Swelling in the fingers or ankles

  • Bloating or holding on to water

  • Headaches

  • Sinus infections

  • Skin issues, such as dry or itchy skin

  • Soreness or stiffness upon waking

  • Constipation

  • Weight gain and extra belly fat

  • Breast swelling or tenderness

  • A sense of fogginess in the brain

  • Worsened allergies

  • Food sensitivities

  • Increased colds or flu

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The lymphatic system is a critical part of the immune system, vital for protecting us from illness, as well as  damaging, disease-causing inflammation. Essentially, the lymphatic system is the body’s inner “drainage system.”  MLD addresses the lymphatic network of vessels and lymph nodes that carries fluids from tissues around the body. The lymphatic system has the primary role of protecting the body against outside threats — such as infections, bacteria and cancer cells — while helping keep fluid levels in balance.

The Lymphatic system is our recycling center and plays an integral role in the immune functions of the body. It is our first line of defense against infection and keeps our body’s waste products and fluids in balance. When this system becomes blocked, our fluid thickens and swelling in the blocked area occurs. The swelling is often internal and cannot be seen or felt. The lymphatic system’s network of tissues and organs can be effectively stimulated by utilizing the specific techniques of MLD. When applied properly it will increase the lymphatic flow, stimulating a malfunctioning or fatigued system and clearing up blockages in areas that are stagnant. It can either be used on specific areas or as a total body-balancing approach. By innervating specific areas with MLD, the entire body can be positively affected, and imaging studies have shown that we can increase the speed of flow by about tenfold.

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