Manual Lymph Drainage

A gentle and rhythmic skin stretching technique, MLD massage improves the performance of the lymphatic system, the body’s “plumbing” and filtration unit.

The lymphatic system plays a crucial role in immune defence, regenerating tissues, and keeping the body’s fluid levels in homeostasis. At some point, everyone’s lymphatic system needs a boost: that’s where MLD treatment comes in.

  • Lymphatic stimulation

    MLD "stimulates" lymphatic valves to contract more frequently, moving fluid and cellular waste, which leaks from tiny capillaries into the body's interstitial spaces. MLD helps redirect fluid to viable nodes if lymphatic vessels have been damaged or removed. Beneficial with managing lymphedema, trauma, and post-liposuction surgery where there is an increase in protein-rich inflammatory fluid.

  • Recovery management

    After invasive surgery, injury, or infection, the lymph system drains the surplus of fluid caused by inflammation. Your body heals naturally, but MLD encourages the lymph system to function optimally, helping to manage symptoms such as swelling, skin health, scar healing, and fibrosis.

  • Diverse techniques

    I offer two styles of manual lymph drainage, including the Vodder method, developed by Danish Dr. Emil Vodder in the 1930s, and the Joana Medrado method, developed by Joana Medrado, a Brazilian physiotherapist.

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Pricing for Manual Lymph Drainage

*Rates do not include 13% HST

  • 60m

  • 45m

  • 30m


Relax & Drain: The Benefits of Manual Lymph Drainage

MLD cleanses

MLD lightly stretches the skin towards nodes, increasing lymphatic valve contraction.

Lymph fluid contains toxins, hormones, cellular debris, large proteins, fats and other molecules that are too large for the cardiovascular system to carry away. The lymph vessels drain fluid to the nodes, where it is filtered and cleaned. The lymph is recirculated into the bloodstream or leaves the body as waste.

MLD relaxes

MLD massage relaxes and helps you enter a parasympathetic nervous state.

We mostly live in a sympathetic nervous system state – “fight or flight” mode. My gentle, steady, and rhythmic treatments will help you breathe deep, feel calm, and release feel-good endorphins.

MLD relieves

A lymphatic massage helps to alleviate pain and reduce swelling. Not all edema hurts, depending on the cause, such as medication side effects, pregnancy or hormonal fluctuations. With lymphedema, when there is a surplus of fluid, the affected limb may feel achy, heavy, and pressured, like it might "burst."

MLD helps remove pain mediators like histamine, inflammatory waste, and excess protein-rich fluid from the affected congested areas. This light touch also benefits people with sensitive skin who find light massage too painful or uncomfortable.

MLD defends

The lymphatic system produces immune cells called lymphocytes, which defend against pathogens and viruses. It also maintains overall health and well-being by preventing illness and maintaining fluid balance. Lymph nodes filter the lymph fluid, trapping and removing bacteria and allergens. As the body ages, along with hormonal changes, the lymphatic vessels weaken and don’t perform as well.

In other words, a healthy working lymphatic system is a crucial component of having strong immunity.

MLD nourishes

The lymphatic system absorbs dietary fats from the small intestine. After eating a meal, the fat portion is broken down into smaller molecules and absorbed into the bloodstream. If the fats are too big to be transported directly into the bloodstream, lacteal lymphatic vessels absorb them instead.

Eventually, the fats drain into the bloodstream near the heart through the thoracic duct. This process helps maintain proper nutrition and energy balance, keeping tissues healthy so they can regenerate.

MLD helps alleviate side effects from radiation and chemotherapy. A weakened immune system may leave the body vulnerable to infection and illness. MLD is soothing and helps manage discomfort and swelling.

Reasons to Book MLD Massage

MLD is beneficial for general wellness, supporting lymphedema, aiding recovery post-surgery, and more.

If you’re feeling pain

  • Migraines, tension and PMS headaches
  • Facial palsy
  • Fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Acute injuries: whiplash, concussion, sprains and strains
  • Fatigue and stress syndrome

If you have circulation or digestion issues

  • Circulation issues: cold limbs, varicose veins, Renaud’s disease
  • Digestion issues: bloating, water retention, constipation

If you have hormonal or skin conditions

  • Hormonal: pain, bloating, water retention
  • Skin conditions: acne, psoriasis, eczema
  • Pregnancy-related swelling, as long as blood pressure is normal

If you have inflamation or swelling

  • Inflammation: sinusitis, joint pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia
  • Chronic ear, nose, and throat infections
  • Lymphedema, Lipedema
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
  • Radiation treatment discomfort
  • Post-op surgical swelling
  • Ulcers, chronic venous insufficiency
  • Edema of the neck, breast, face or trunk
  • Burns

Treat your lymphatic system to a massage – it works so hard for you!

Contraindications Is MLD Suitable for You?

Some people are medically not recommended to receive MLD massage. In most situations, I can modify the technique if you have swelling, and blend in traditional massage to help you with your treatment goals.

Please review the conditions below where MLD treatment is inadvisable, or contact me to ensure this treatment suits you.


  • Metastatic or systemic malignant tumours
  • Acute inflammation caused by bacteria, fungi, virus
  • Acute thrombosis at risk of causing embolism (not being dissolved with medication)
  • Acute renal/kidney failure
  • Acute deep venous thrombosis (DVT)
  • Cardiac edema or congestive heart failure


  • Low-functioning kidney or thyroid (unmedicated)
  • Bronchial asthma
  • Edema following carcinoma treatment
  • Edema caused by cardiac decompensation
  • Diabetes
  • Pacemaker, protect the wire
  • Venous port, prevent damage

Top 5 FAQs for Manual Lymph Drainage

  • What if I need to cancel or reschedule my appointment?

    You may change or cancel your appointment online up to 48 hours before your massage. You are unable to change reservations online if you are outside this 48 hour window. Please note that the office is closed on weekends, and voicemails will be listened to on the following Monday.

  • Do you offer direct billing?

    Yes, direct billing is offered for Blue Cross, the Telus Health Group, Medavie, and Sunlife, as long as:

    • Your appointment is within reception hours, and
    • You provide your insurance information beforehand

    If you forget and give your details on the day of your massage, the receptionist might be able to submit it on your behalf, but most likely will store it on file and have it ready for next time!

    Please note direct billing is not available for mobile massage treatment, but you can submit the receipt to your insurance plan.

  • What types of MLD massage do you offer?

    I practice Vodder’s manual lymphatic drainage technique and the Joana Medrado Method.

    Vodder's MLD is generally oil-free, except if you have very dry or fragile skin. It is a gentle, skin stretching technique, using stationary circles and scooping and pumping motions with the hands to stimulate the superficial lymphatic vessels underneath the skin towards the lymph nodes. The movement is light and flowing and works best if the body is massaged from proximal to distal, starting with the neck and working downwards. It was created by Dr. Emil Vodder, a Danish naturopath, and his wife, Estrid, in the 1930s, who initially wanted to help people with chronic sinusitis.

    The Joana Medrado Method uses lotion to increase lymphatic drainage and circulation to the legs, arms, and abdomen. Slow upwards strokes are used with the hands, stretching the skin and then pumping the lymph nodes at the end of each movement. Joana Medrado is a Brazilian physiotherapist who developed her own lymphatic drainage style.

  • Are there any side effects or risks associated with manual lymph drainage?

    Manual lymph drainage is safe, with few side effects. There are some cases when receiving MLD isn’t recommended. Please see the contraindications listed here.

  • How often should I get manual lymph drainage massage?

    The frequency of manual lymph drainage massage depends on your specific condition, the severity of your symptoms, and the reason you seek treatment (i.e., for therapeutic benefit or wellness).

    See my article How Often Should I Get a Lymphatic Massage? for a longer answer to this question.