Lymphatic Drainage and Lymphoedema Therapy

Manual Lymphatic Drainage ( MLD) Dr Vodder Technique

MLD is a very gentle, non-invasive, rhythmical and precise technique to move lymph from one area of the body to another.

Conditions which can be treated with Manual Lymphatic Drainage include

  • Primary/Secondary Lymphoedema
  • Lipoedema
  • Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI)
  • Post-traumatic/post-operative oedemas
  • Chronic Sinusitis
  • Migraines
  • Fatigue/Stress Syndromes
  • Inflammatory conditions such as Fibro Myalgia and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Lymphatic Drainage can also be helpful during detoxification protocols or when fasting

Functions of the Lymph System

  • Carries out immune responses
  • Removes fluid from the tissue leaked by capillaries
  • Removes protein and fat molecules from digestive processes too large to enter the blood vessels.
  • Removes organic and inorganic wastes, cells and cellular debris.

What is Lymphoedema?

Lymphoedema is caused by an overload of the lymphatic system resulting in a swelling of one or more regions of the body. It is not curable in most cases but can be managed.
There are two main categories of Lymphoedema.

  • Primary Lymphoedema is caused by a malformation of the lymphatic vessels and/or nodes and might not appear until later on in life.
  • Secondary Lymphoedema is caused by damage to the lymphatic system, mostly the axillary and deep abdominal lymph nodes. Most frequently secondary lymphoedema occurs after surgery and radiation treatment for cancer. An oedema may develop directly after treatment or over time as a result of a chronically overloaded lymphatic system.
    Complications of Lymphoedema can be cellulitis and various skin conditions.


Based on the fact that the lymph system has a large capacity to compensate until 100% of its total transport capacity has been reached (which can take years), it is wise to be pro-active after treatments where lymph vessels and nodes have been removed or damaged.
A qualified Lymphoedema therapist can apply MLD to support the lymph system in moving lymph from a compromised area to other functioning lymph nodes and help the lymph system function better.

Why is early intervention for Lymphoedema crucial?

A healthy Lymph system functions to about 20% of its total capacity, which enables it to increase its lymph load in case of injury or infection. By the time a person notices a swelling in a limb, the total transport capacity of the lymphatic load has already reached its limit and Combined Decongestive Therapy (CDT) needs be applied.

What is Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT)?

CDT has shown to be the most successful therapy for lymphoedema today.
It consists of:

  • Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)
  • Compression (bandage/ stocking)
  • Decongestive exercises
  • Skin care to prevent infection

A distinction should be made between two phases of treatment:

  • Decongestive phase (Phase 1) with the goal to reduce oedema. This consists of an intensive form of therapy (MLD, compression bandaging, exercises, skin care).

At the end of Phase 1 the patient is fitted with a compression garment to maintain the obtained result.

  • Maintenance phase (Phase 2) with the goal to conserve and optimize the results achieved in phase 1. (MLD, compression garment, exercises, skin care)
    The lymphoedema volume can increase again if care is not taken to maintain the results achieved in Phase 1.

Typical, early symptoms of degression are tingling and heaviness in a limb before the limb starts to increase in volume.

Compression Garments

Manuela uses the top of the range Swiss Sigvaris Garments.  They offer superior quality in their composition, more variable sizing as well as a range of compression garments for everyday wear with fashionable colours in Sigvaris’ leg compression range.