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Manual lymphatic drainage

Manual lymphatic drainage

Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is a type of gentle massage which 
is intended by proponents to encourage the natural circulation of the 
lymph through the body. The lymph system depends on intrinsic 
contractions of the smooth muscle cells in the walls of lymph vessels 
(peristalsis) and the movement of skeletal muscles to propel lymph 
through the vessels to lymph nodes and then beyond the lymph nodes 
to the lymph ducts which return lymph to the cardiovascular system. 
Manual lymph drainage uses a specific amount of pressure (less than 
9 ounces per square inch) and rhythmic circular movements to 
stimulate lymph flow.

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, Dr Emil Vodder and his wife Dr. Estrid Vodder 
noticed these patients had swollen lymph nodes. In the 1930s it was 
considered 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. Scientific 
studies show mixed results regarding the efficacy of the method in 
treating lymphedema and further studies are needed.[2] In several 
unique studies on animals has MLDT (Manual lymphatic drainage 
treatment) been shown to increase lymph uptake and thoracic duct 
flow, but the same evidence has not yet been shown for 
human subjects.

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