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MLD and Laser Therapy for Lymphatic Health

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) and laser therapy are treatments used to reduce swelling and conditions that cause and exacerbate lymphoedema.

At Restore Therapy, Rachel Gray is our registered Lymphoedema Nurse who is qualified in Vodder MLD and uses this in combination with Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)


What is Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) and Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) Treatment?

These are two different kinds of treatments to encourage the flow of lymph and reduce swelling available at Restore Therapy.

MLD is a specialised massage developed to promote health to the lymphatic system. Often used together with compression garments, Simple Lymphatic Drainage (SLD), and regular movement/exercise to help manage lymphoedema. This treatment is recognised within the NHS and has good evidence to support it's effectiveness in post-surgical recovery, and usually a series of regular sessions is recommended.

LLLT can be used in conjunction with MLD or ScarWork and helps to soften fibrotic tissue, improve mobility, decrease pain and swelling.  LLLT is delivered using a specially developed device and can be applied to the upper and lower limbs, midline as well as head and neck. In clinical studies, it has shown to be effective in reducing fluid viscosity and encouraging movement of the lymphatic fluid. Not all patients will require LLLT treatment, but it is a useful tool for the more stubborn oedema or fibrotic areas. On assessment our specialist nurse will determine the best treatment protocol for your needs.

Why Have a Lymphatic Treatment?

After any surgery most patients would benefit from a lymphatic treatment at Restore Therapy. The treatment should help speed their recovery and reduce swelling by aiding the removal of waste from the area, manually assisting the movement of the lymphatic fluid.

Some people develop a condition called lymphoedema (often as a result of a cancer surgery or treatment) which can have a detrimental effect on their lymphatic system. Seeking early intervention is helpful.

The treatments at Restore Therapy are pain-free and relaxing to receive. They can be delivered in combination with ScarWork or scar massage.

How does Lymphatic Treatment Work?

The lymphatic system is a network of channels and glands throughout the body that helps fight infection and remove excess fluid. The lymphatic system can become congested after a surgery as the body responds to the trauma. Unlike the circulatory system, the lymphatic system does not have it's own pump such as the heart. Lymphatic fluid is moved around the body as we use our muscles, with our breath as well as the gentle pulses from the circulatory system.

The lymphatic system is like a network of major and minor roads, with junctions known as 'lymph nodes'. If lymph nodes are removed, or radiotherapy is given you may be at higher risk of developing lymphoedema.  Lymphatic vessels may just be overloaded after even a small surgery and they become congested causing swelling. Your therapist can manually clear the area, using rhythmical strokes to help clear the blockage, or divert flow to a less damaged area.

Home Care for clients with Lymphoedema

During your treatment we can suggest and teach you some simple home-care techniques (for example; Self-Lymphatic Drainage) and source suitable compression garments, as well as signpost you to exercises that might be helpful to do while rehabilitating.