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Manual lymphatic drainage
What is manual lymphatic drainage?
It is a soft massage technique that is used to counter or prevent lymph edema. This technique consists of soft skin displacements with low pressure in order to fill the lymph vessels and drain the lymphatic fluid.
The lymphatic fluid excess can accumulate in certain parts of our body, for example the arm of a women who was treated for breast cancer and where the axillary nodes where removed. The aim is to improve the circulation and to eliminate the fluid accumulations for an adequate body functioning.
The lymphatic vessels can be found everywhere in our body and follow the blood vessels. Their function is to absorb waste products that can be found in our body. They are then filtered on places where lymphatic vessels come together, called “lymphatic nodes”.
There are 2 types of lymph edema:
  • Primary lymph edema: An inherited disturbance of the lymphatic system (for example absence of lymph vessels or nodes)
  • Secondary lymph edema: An acquired disturbance of the lymphatic system (for example surgery or radiotherapy for treating cancer, trauma or infection)
When is lymphatic drainage recommended?
  • Primary or secondary lymph edema
  • Edema or swelling after an accident
  • After an operation (for example abdominoplasthy, nasoplasthy, breast reduction)
  • After an operation or breast amputation without axillary evacuation (tumor removal or mastectomy)
  • Vascular problems
When patients undergo an operation, we pay a lot of attention to scarred tissue. This tissue must be flexible and adhesions need to be prevented or corrected.
The treatment lasts 30 minutes and doesn’t cause pain; it is a relaxing moment for the patient.