When you arrive for your first Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) treatment you may feel a little unsure of what's about to happen. Even if you've had more traditional massage treatments before MLD is quite a bit different.
Below is my treatment room, during MLD I tend to keep the room fairly dark and play quiet, soothing music. However, if any of this sounds unsettling to you just let me know and we can stop the music and open the blinds! Remember that your comfort is key during this treatment.
When getting a MLD treatment you will undress to your comfort level (it is recommended to remove bras, but this is entirely up to the client). You will then lie face up on the massage couch with a towel or sheet over you.
No oil is used in MLD. This is because the touch used in MLD is so light and specific that oil would hamper the technique. When you have MLD you feel a gentle pressure. The skin movements are very light so that the small lymph vessels are not flattened. Flattened lymph vessels would prevent the lymph fluid from draining. The movements are slow and rhythmic so that the lymph vessels open up. To give you an idea of the pressure used in MLD imagine applying moisturiser or sun lotion to your body, then imagine doing it a bit lighter - this is the pressure you may expect during MLD!
The flow of the MLD treatment is a lot more structured than an holistic massage. In MLD the treatment always starts just above the clavicle. This is the area where the lymph drains back into the thoracic duct.
In an MLD treatment the practitioner will always drain the nearest main lymph nodes before starting on a new area of the body. This means the area just above the clavicle, the armpit and the groin.
This is important to note as it may feel unusual or even unnerving to be touched in these areas. If you are ticklish you may find it hard at first to allow such light touch near your armpits.
You may feel find it uncomfortable or even triggering to be touched near the groin area. The area that needs to be worked on is the area at the very top of your leg as this is where we find a large amount of lymph nodes. You will keep your underwear on throughout and this work can be done over a sheet to help you feel more comfortable.
If this part of the practice makes you uncomfortable in any way, please talk to your therapist before starting. If you need any MLD work in your abdomen or legs this area around your upper leg / groin will need to be worked on first to allow the process to work.
If you are considering having MLD for the first time, please feel free to get in touch to talk over any questions or concerns that you may have. I've also written a few more articles on MLD which you may find helpful. You can find these here.