‘Tis the Season…

… for nasal congestion, increased perception of pain, and a general feeling of “blah”. In other words: It’s the season for Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)!

The general effects of MLD applicable to those conditions (adapted from the Klose Training & Consulting, LLC manual):

*Decongests  tissues by encouraging lymph capillaries to increase fluid uptake.

*The light pressure of the strokes used in MLD has a soothing effect, promoting a parasympathetic nervous response.

*MLD has an overall analgesic effect, possibly because the increased fluid movement flushes away the noxious substances that stimulate your nociceptors. Also, a decrease in inflammation is believed to decrease the sensitivity of nociceptors in people with hyperalgesia (an increased sensitivity to pain).

I originally wanted to become a certified MLD therapist because of the implications for my oncology clientele, but once I experienced the work for myself it became one of my favorite treatments to receive. The gentle, rhythmic, repetitive strokes are incredibly relaxing. Some of the conditions that we’re seeing respond favorable to MLD besides lymphedema include: anything with inflammation/swelling (sprains, bruises, post-surgical, etc.); fibromyalgia; chronic fatigue syndrome; complex regional pain syndrome; migraines and sinus headaches; and many others.*

I honestly cannot speak highly enough of this work. Gaining this certification was one of the best decisions of my life, and I’m grateful to have another way to help people feel better.

* This is my disclaimer that the rigorous scientific study of massage and MLD is still in its infancy.  This information is based on people with these conditions reporting that they felt improvement following MLD treatments. Some of these used control groups, and possibly some of them didn’t. We’ve got a long way to go to get good, mechanistic data. I still feel that it’s worth including, because as much as I want to know the why and how as exactly as possible, my larger priority is helping clients gain an increase in perceived quality of life.

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