Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD)

Manual Lymph Drainage: Dr Vodder Original MLD technique

MLD is a specialised therapy designed to improve the functioning and drainage of the lymphatic system, enhancing the overall status of the immune system. The gentle touch of this technique has a pain-relieving and relaxing effect on the body. Specific movements of the skin stimulate the contractions of the lymphatic vessels. This allows for a greater amount of metabolic waste products, excess fluid and other valuable components to be removed from the tissues by the lymphatic system for eventual redistribution or elimination.


Described by Dr Vodder as ‘the perfect touch’ or ‘the great normaliser’ because of its accompanying dramatic ability to re-establish balance with the body by calming the sympathetic nervous system; thus facilitating the body’s natural healing process. The world renowned DrVodder Method of manual lymph drainage ( MLD) is known to have four major effects:


LD encourages the delivery of fresh nutrients and oxygen to the cells and the removal of debris from the tissues by transporting it to the lymphatic system.

Immune Response:

MLD increases the flow of lymph to the nodes encouraging the destruction of pathogens, this enhances the vital role lymph nodes play in recovery


MLD stimulates receptors in the skin that carry messages of relief & pleasure to the central nervous system , therefore effectively combats pain. MLD’s influence on the touch receptors overrides the pain stimuli leaving the client free of nagging pain.

Sympathicolytic effect:

MLD engages the autonomic nervous system, suppressing the sympathetic response ( such as in times of stress, activating the ˜fight or flight response) while encouraging the parasympathetic response ( ˜rest and digest’) thus enhancing healing.

Lymphoedema of the arm or breast is often a secondary complication following surgery for breast cancer or other cancers where lymph nodes have been removed or affected by radiotherapy for necessary treatment. Primary lymphedema can present at birth or may present at later stages in life following a particular trigger such as trauma or infection. This is a genetic malformation in the setting down of the lymphatic system.

The treatment while not a cure, is very successful in most cases in reducing lymphedema, and returning quality of life to those affected. This is achieved by utilising the superficial lymphatic system, in particular, the anterior & posterior axillo “ axillary and axillo “ inguinal anastomoses laid down in the dermis, which for the best part are patent but dormant until activated, These anastomoses allow for re-routing of interstitial fluid from one quadrant into a less congested adjacent quadrant for drainage to a different set of regional lymph nodes.

Dr Vodder’s MLD provides the post-cancer client with deep, healing relaxation. Nurturing and rehabilitative, MLD is perfectly suited for the purpose of rest and rejuvenation for the client recovering from a serious illness while benefiting from the physical therapeutic drainage effect.

Go with the flow: getting to know your lymphatic system >

Dr Emil Vodder/ History of MLD / Technique/ Effects / Indications/ Contraindications  ( Dr Vodder Akademie Austria)