MLD UK is the UK's professional council. They have produced some mini guides on just a few of the conditions MLD can be used to treat - Please click on the links below to see the MLD UK mini guides for MLD for Costmetic Surgery, Detox, Breast Canceer and Pregnancy.
Lymphoedema is swelling caused by a slow or disfunctioning Lymphatic System.
Primary Lymphoedema is a condition where we are born with disfunctioning lymphatic vessels. This can sometimes be apparent from birth or it can become apparent later on in life.
Secondary Lymphoedema is caused due to damage of the lymphatic vessels, whether that be from trauma, a result of surgery or when the lymph nodes are removed and/or irradiated as in the case with breast cancer. It can also be caused through parasite infection.
Venous Oedema is caused when the heart or venous system (veins) become weakened or damaged and the blood is not able be pumped effectively back to the heart. Blood contains water and protein molecules and these pass through the thin membranous walls of the blood vessels into the soft tissues causing swelling (usually in the lower legs).
Post Operative Oedema - Inflammationis a normal response for our bodies to take. We need to go through this 'swelling' process as this is also part of the 'healing' process. However in some cases the swelling becomes excessive or chronic. This then impairs the healing process, it reduces the patient's range of motion and inhibits their rehabilitation.
If left untreated the oedema can become progressively worse. Changes can occur to the skin tissues, fibrosis and sclerosis can develop and the condition becomes harder to manage and control.
When our lymph system is functioning normally, we don't notice little cuts or scratches on our hands or feet because our immune system is able to function properly to effectively neutralise any harmful antigen.
But the same little cuts or scratches could pose a serious risk of infection to someone whose lymph vessels are unable to move the antigen to the lymph nodes where our immune response takes place. The risk of developing Cellutitis is far greater and this in turn can then lead onto increased swelling and further development of the Lymphoedema.
Many people do not fully understand the Lymph System and do not realise the importance of it's actions.
lymphatic system is a crucial part of our body funciton. It has two
main functions, one is to regulate, filter and remove excess fluid from
our bodies and the other and also very important function, is our immune
Swelling, oedema, excess fluid, sometimes called "water
retention" - all are caused when there is an inbalance between the fluid
or water in the soft tissue spaces (interstitial) and the fluid or
water that is being returned to the blood via the venous system. This
inbalance is actually due to protein molecules - the protein molecules
pass through the blood vessel walls into the tissue spaces. Usually the
protein molecules are then pulled back into the blood vessels and the
lymph vessels creating a balance known as Starling's equilibrium.
However, when the blood and lymph vessels are not functioning properly,
an increased amount of protein molecules build up in the tissue spaces.
These protein molecules attract water molecules and this is how the
swelling or oedema occurs.
It is within our lymph nodes that
the process to destroy foreign pathogens such as bacteria and viruses
begins. In each tiny lymph node, these possible infections are broken
down by cells called lymphocytes and macrophages.
are passed through a series of lymph nodes, which act as filters. At
each filtering stage they are gradually destoyed, until eventually all
that is left is the waste product - the dead pathogen. This is then
excreted from our bodies through the natural process.
between 500 and 600 lymph nodes throughout our body. They are all
linked together by little chains of lymph angions or collectively known
as lymphatics or lymph capillaries and lymph vessels. The actual size
of the lymph vessels and lymph nodes can vary - Lymph nodes can often
be felt just under the surface of the skin, they are sometimes described
as small pea shaped lumps but often they can appear larger.
is common in women around the age of 30 to develop small pea sized lumps
around their breasts, especially to the lateral side and up into the
armpit. Although this is not an indication of cancer some women feel
happier to speak to their doctor and arrange for a breast examination.
These lumps are often harmless but it is always advisable to consult
your GP. It can be worrying and in my experience breast care nurses can
be very helpful and very reassuring, so if you do have this worry or
know anyone who is concerned about any breast lump, do not feel
embarrassed to ask for help and advice.
What else does the lymph system do?
Lots! - it has several other functions.
hear about 'good fats' and 'essental fatty acids' all the time. Found
in oily fish, advocado, flax seed oil and in many dietry supplements,
these 'good fats' are needed in our diets to help rebuild our cells -
they give us good skin, shiny hair, strong nails, increased memory and
help us to heal ourselves.
Do you know how these 'good fats' travel around our body? You guessed it, through our lymph system!
drainage can reduce the appearance of cellulite. MLD is not a miracle
cure for dieting, but when used in conjunction with a healthy eating
plan and regular exercise it can help.
Fat cells bind together
with water molecules and with regular MLD treatments, the lymph removes
this excess water from the tissues thus reducing the appearance of the
One lady patient had a course of MLD after an
abdominoplasty procedure (tummy tuck) and she was thrilled by the side
effects... slimmer, smoother thighs!