Benefits of Manual Lymph Drainage Therapy
1. MLD removes metabolic wastes, excess water, toxins, bacteria, large protein molecules
and foreign substances from the tissues.
2. MLD through its gentle rhythmical precise hand movements, alleviates pain by greatly reducing the pain signals sent to the brain.
3. MLD relaxes the sympathetic nervous system, thus helping to relieve stress.
4. MLD supports and enhances the action of the immune system.
5. MLD helps the body to heal more quickly from injuries, surgical trauma, chronic conditions, and edema.
6. MLD helps to minimize scar formation.
Contraindications for MLD Therapy
1. Active cancer
2. Acute infection
3. Congestive heart failure
4. Thrombosis (blood clots)
Signs of Lymphedema
The following are signs that may indicate the beginning of lymphedema. It is important to be aware of the condition of your affected arm —perhaps by getting into the habit of checking the arm before your bath, or before going to bed. If you notice any of the following conditions, it is a good idea to contact your physician to be checked. The sooner you begin treatment for lymphedema, the better the success rate will be in reducing the swelling.
Some signs to look for are:
A feeling of heaviness, fullness or pressure, which can be the first sign of swelling.
A noticeable increase in the size of the limb or anywhere on the torso of the body on the affected side
A sensation of tingling or “pins and needles” in the affected arm
Heat, redness or inflammation NOTE: This may be a sign of a potentially serious infection. You need to see your doctor right away.
Pitting: when you press a finger into the skin it leaves a sunken place that takes a little while to fill back in.
Aching in the arm, in the shoulder or in back of your shoulder on the affected side.
The International Society of Lymphology has graded lymphedema into stages.
Pitting Edema: When you press a finger into the skin it leaves a sunken place that takes a while to fill in. At this stage, the swelling can frequently be reversed by elevating the limb. There is no fibrosis (toughening of the skin) at this stage, and it is reversible with treatment.
There is no longer any pitting when skin is pressed and the edema is not usually reversed by elevating the limb. There is frequently an area of hardened skin (fibrosis) that acts like a tight band keeping the lymphatic fluid from draining properly.
This stage is also called elephantiasis. This seldom occurs in the arm, being mostly confined to leg edema which has been untreated for a long time. There are huge bulges in the limb, the skin undergoes gross changes, and lymphatic fluid sometimes seeps out through the skin. Some improvement can occur with treatment at this stage, but it is not usually reversible.