Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is a type of gentle massage which is
believed by proponents to encourage the natural circulation of the
lymph through the body. The lymph system depends on peristalsis and
the movement of skeletal muscles to squeeze fluid through lymph
ducts and vessels.
Manual Lymphatic Drainage was pioneered by Dr. Emil Vodder in the
1930s for the treatment of chronic sinusitis and other immune
disorders. While working on the French Riviera treating patients with
chronic colds, they noticed these patients had swollen lymph nodes. In
the 1930s it was taboo to tamper with the lymphatic system due to the
medical profession's poor understanding of this system. The Vodders
were not deterred by this, and in 1932 began to study the lymph
system, and developed careful hand movements to cause lymph
movement. In 1936 after four years of research they introduced this
technique in Paris, France.
It is now recognized as a primary tool in Lymphedema management.
Therapists can today receive certification through special classes
conducted by various organizations specializing in MLD