Lymphatic Massage (Manual Lymph Drainage) Supports Health & Beauty


What is MLD?
How does MLD feel?
Why MLD?

The adult human has approximately 600-800 lymph nodes in the body. The lymphatic system collects and returns fluid in the tissues to the circulatory system. In addition, lymph nodes act as biological filters storing inorganic matter the body can't elminate such as dust and dyes.  Lymph nodes are also the site of lymphocyte reproduction and macrophage activity (cells that engulf and digest cellular debris, foreign substances, microbes, and cancer cells).  


Dr. Emil and Estrid Vodder developed MLD in the1930's. MLD is a precise and rhythmic skin technique where the skin is gently stretched in two directions followed by a release phase. MLD stimulates the lymphatic vessels that lie close to the skin providing a detoxifying effect and removing excess fluid from the tissues. 

MLD is as relaxing as Swedish massage. It relieves stress through its stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). You may become drowsy during the session.


You may also experience reduced pain as mechano (touch) receptors override noci (pain) receptors.  


Treatments are typically 30-90 minutes long.  You may feel tired after the treatment. It is recommend to drink water and rest to extend the anti-inflammatory and anti-stress effects.

MLD is gaining recognition for its many benefits, and is offered on the menu of exclusive spas such as The Spa at The Grand Del Mar.



  • is natural, gentle, and relaxing

  • reduces inflammation, pain, and stress

  • enhances the action of the immune system

  • accelerates healing from injury and surgery

  • promotes postpartum comfort due to over engorgement


How often are treatments recommended?


  • Postpartum: Over engorgement may be noticeably reduced with a single treatment.  A second treatment may be necessary depending on the level of edema.


  • Plastic Surgery: Anne Bramham, ASTECC Founder and Dr. Vodder Instructor, recommends three to five consecutive days of treatment prior to a surgical procedure. Bramham says, "It prepares the tissue while minimizing the risk of a post-surgical infection. I also encourage postsurgical MLD treatments. Manual manipulation encourages vessels to work faster. As a result, the body heals faster.”


  • Injury: Closely spaced treatments support the body's healing and recovery process.


  • Overall wellness: Any number of treatments is beneficial. According to Bamham, receiving a series of 10 treatments every four to six months is ideal as “the rejuvenation it provides the body with is invaluable.”



Absolute contraindications for MLD include:

  • active cancer

  • thrombosis

  • acute inflammation / infection

  • cardiac insufficiency


Relative contraindications for MLD include:

  • thyroid dysfunction

  • chronic infection

  • tuberculosis

  • treated cancer

  • pregnancy

  • menstruation

  • nevus

  • asthma

  • low blood pressure