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.

Our lymphatic system plays a crucial role in immune defence, healing, 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 that has leaked from tiny capillaries into the body’s interstitial spaces. When lymph nodes have been removed, such as in a mastectomy, MLD can also redirect fluid to healthy, functional lymph nodes.

  • Recovery management

    When recovering from surgery, injury, or infection, our lymph system has to work overtime. Conditions such as lymphedema, lipedema, and cancerous node removal can damage and overwhelm the lymphatic vessels. MLD can help when your lymph system is over-taxed, helping to manage swelling, skin health, and other changes that may occur.

  • 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

  • 75m

  • 60m

  • 45m

  • 30m


Relax & Unwind: 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 carry the 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

Swelling hurts. A lymphatic drainage massage helps to alleviate pain. Not all edema hurts, but the skin can feel heavy and stretched with fluid when an injury or inflammation occurs.

MLD helps remove pain mediators like histamine, inflammatory waste, and excess 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

A healthy lymphatic system prevents the buildup of toxins in the body and produces immune cells called lymphocytes, which defend against harmful 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 before they can spread throughout the body

In other words, the lymphatic system is a key component for 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 and absorb fat-soluble vitamins.

MLD can help alleviate cancer-related symptoms from radiation. A weakened immune system may leave the body vulnerable to infection and illness. MLD is soothing and helps manage pain and swelling.

Reasons to Book MLD Massage

MLD is beneficial for general wellness, management and prevention of lymphedema, accelerating recovery post-surgery, and more.

If you’re feeling chronic or acute pain

  • Migraines, tension and PMS headaches
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
  • Post-surgical pain or discomfort
  • Acute injuries: whiplash, concussion, sprains and strains

If you have circulation or digestion issues

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

If you’re facing hormone or skin conditions

  • Hormonal: pain, bloating, water retention
  • Skin conditions: acne, psoriasis, eczema

If you have inflamation or swelling

  • Chronic inflammation: sinusitis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia
  • Lymphedema and lipedema
  • Radiation treatment

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

Contraindications Who Should Avoid MLD?

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

Review the list of conditions below that make MLD treatment inadvisable, or contact me to ensure this massage is right for you.

Must avoid

  • Any 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

Take precautions

  • Low-functioning kidney or dysfunction
  • Bronchial asthma
  • Low-functioning thyroid (unmedicated)
  • Edema following carcinoma treatment
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Edema caused by cardiac decompensation
  • Diabetes

Top 5 FAQs for Manual Lymph Drainage

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

    You can easily cancel or change your appointment online if you give 48 hours or more notice. Outside of this 48-hour window, you will need to contact the clinic directly.

  • 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 both the Vodder MLD 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.