Bodywork Spotlight: Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD)

What is the Lymphatic System?
The Lymphatic System is a slow-moving network of vessels that penetrate both superficially and deeply throughout our entire bodies. Vessels range in size from fine capillaries to large collectors, ducts and trunks, and the network encompasses skin, muscles, flesh, bones, joints and organs.

Lymph fluid flows toward the heart, traveling thru the body upwards from the hands and feet, and downwards from the head. Along the way, it passes through lymph nodes, where it is filtered.

The primary functions of the lymphatic system are to:

  • collect debris (excess fluid, waste, toxins, dead cells, pathogens, carbohydrates, etc.) for filtration by the lymph nodes and eventual removal
  • aid the immune system in destroying pathogens and filtering waste
  • deliver, in conjunction with the circulatory system, nutrients, oxygen and hormones from the blood to the cells

What is Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD)?
Our behaviors and experiences (trauma, surgeries, poor diet, medications, stress, anxiety) over time, place a cumulative load on our lymphatic system.

Just as we clear the gutters on a house seasonally of leaves and twigs to allow rainwater through, our lymphatic system must be cleared of debris that accumulates there.

By decongesting our lymphatic system, we achieve a more efficient metabolism. Some of the benefits acquired are:

  • Stimulates immunity
  • more energy
  • fewer illnesses and allergies
  • reduction of chronic pain (including arthritis, fibromyalgia, headaches)
  • clearer skin (plus reduction of wrinkles, acne, puffiness under eyes)
  • weight loss

Manual Lymph Drainage is gentle and relaxing, but has powerful effects. It consists of a slow, rhythmic progression of light strokes, and some gentle stretching of the skin, toward an area above your collarbone, called the venus angle. Clearing superficial congestion from the lymph system creates a vacuum effect, pulling up fluid from deeper, more distant parts of the body. Lymph fluid starts moving and flowing, instead of remaining stagnant.

What are some contributors to the Lymph Load?

  • Enzymes
  • Toxins
  • Cell Debris
  • Dyes
  • Pathogens
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