Manual Lymphatic Drainage/Detox Massage/Lymphoedema Management

Single MLD Treatment                        £60.00

Enquire about the cost of a course of treatment HERE

The lymphatic system helps to protect us from infection and disease. It is part of the body’s immune system. The lymphatic system’s job is to flush toxins away from the body and keep you healthy. If the system becomes ‘blocked’ the body becomes toxic making us feel sluggish and susceptible to disease. This is made more likely due to the fact that we daily dump toxins into our bodies, eat badly, drink too much alcohol, eat too much sugar, live in cities full of pollution, and generally live unhealthy lifestyles.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is an advanced, specialised technique developed during the 1930s by Danish therapists Dr. Emil Vodder and his wife Estrid Vodder. It was designed specifically to improve the functioning of the lymphatic system, and ongoing worldwide lymphology research today still continues to demonstrate its proven worth in influencing congestion of the lymphatic system, positive therapeutic benefits on the nervous system, and its far-reaching impact on other systems of the body.

A specialised therapy using, light, rhythmic pumping techniques, moving the skin in the direction of your natural lymph flow – it’s non-invasive, gentle, soothing, and deeply relaxing.

Lymph drainage within the body is a natural process, but sometimes it may require a little help to make it more efficient when there is congestion, resulting in better health and general wellbeing.

By stimulating the lymphatic system with it is possible to improve circulation, increase the body’s ability to use nutrients and improve digestion, reduce levels of stress and relax muscles, help balance hormones, aid in cleansing the body, and speed up the elimination of waste and strengthen the immune system and improve the body’s resistance to infection.

To assist in maintaining a healthy lymphatic system it is necessary to incorporate good hydration, movement, deep breathing, rest, relaxation, and lymphatic massage into your life.

If you are looking for lymphatic drainage for Lymphoedema, Lipoedema or following cosmetic or plastic surgery procedures find relevant treatment information below:

In 2021 Jo-Anna became a certified Fluoroscopy Guided Manual Lymphatic Drainage therapist FG-MLD® after completing her Lymphoedema Management training for Manual Therapists at the Lymphoedema Training Academy with Jane Wigg MSc RGN. This training will enable her to practice the most researched and evidence-based method of MLD via FG-MLD®/’Fill &Flush with clients.

The Lymphatic System

The lymphatic system is a vital element within the body, and an addition to the blood circulatory system that governs our immune system, general health, and well-being.

The blood circulatory system supplies every part of the body with water and proteins via blood vessels and capillaries.  Fluid constantly passes through your body’s tissues from these capillaries. Once taken up by the lymphatic vessels it is referred to as ‘lymph’, which is transported in a single direction towards areas containing lymph nodes – little cleaning stations where waste products are removed, before the clean lymph fluid is returned to the bloodstream.

  • The lymphatic system supports your vascular system in the movement of essential hormones and nutrients to the cells, in addition to removing waste products.
  • the lymphatic system is made up of a complex network of drainage pathways and lymph nodes around the body and is an important way for extra fluid and waste products to be cleared away from cells and body tissues.
  • it essentially drains fluid, filters lymph, filters the blood
  • forms a significant part of your immune system, helping your body to fight infection, and is responsible for cleansing your tissues and maintaining a natural balance of fluids in your body
  • transportation of lymph is dependent on muscle movement (light to moderate exercise), the contraction of the vessels push the fluid along
  • the gentleness of MLD, along with deep breathing aids in the movement of lymph more effectively, thereby having massive health benefits
  • if you have a compromised lymphatic system it is important to speak with your GP, Lymphoedema Clinic or other healthcare professional before commencing MLD therapy

What is lymphoedema? [1]:

Lymphoedema is the term generally used to describe a visible swelling that can develop anywhere in the body, but it is most commonly seen in the extremities (arms and legs) due to a problem with the lymphatic drainage system.  The lymph system because of damaged or blocked drainage channels gets to a point where it is no longer able to drain the build-up of fluid and waste products contained within the tissues of the body.  There are many reasons that can lead to different stages of lymphoedema occurring, some of which are due to known congenital factors; external causes that can be easily identified; or in some cases the trigger or cause remains unknown.

Lymphoedema can result in many changes taking place mainly in the skin and underlying tissues. The term ‘chronic oedema’ is used when the condition has been present for some months or even years.  If left untreated, there is the potential for it to worsen over time.  The key terms used to describe lymphoedema include:

Primary Lymphoedema :

This may be present at birth, puberty, or at any time during mid-life as a result of an underdeveloped lymphatic system; or the cause could remain unknown.

Secondary Lymphoedema :

Refers to a known cause:

  • the result of cancer itself impacting the lymphatic system
  • following treatment for cancer – surgery, radiotherapy
  • because of an accident, injury, or trauma resulting in damage to the lymph vessels affecting drainage
  • venous insufficiency
  • recurring infections – cellulitis
  • other general surgeries involving lymph node removal.


Lipoedema predominately affects women, although there are very rare cases where men have been diagnosed. It is a known fat disorder identified as an abnormal build-up of fat cells in the legs, thighs, buttocks, and arms. Other indicators are:

  • Your body’s presentation may be disproportionate – small waist and overly large hips, thighs, buttocks, lower legs, or larger arms
  • Lipoedema is distinguishable as it normally does not affect the hands or the feet
  • Its presentation is symmetrical i.e. both legs will be affected or both arms
  • If dieting you lose weight everywhere else except for your lipoedema legs or arms
  • Your legs or arms bruise easily
  • Pain and tenderness on touch or when knocked
  • There is a heaviness and discomfort in the legs
  • It can be present in other female members of the family
  • The condition is known as lipo-lymphoedema if the hands or feet become swollen due to circulatory issues with lymphatic flow

Cosmetic Surgery & Plastic Surgery Recovery

MLD is now recommended by many cosmetic and plastic surgeons both here in the UK and abroad to accelerate your recovery post-surgery.

  • Beneficial pre and post cosmetic or plastic surgery if having:
    • Vaser Liposuction – general body or for conditions such as Gynaecomastia
    • Vaser Hi-Definition/Contouring
    • Tummy Tuck / 360 Body Lift
    • Tumescent or Water Assisted Liposuction (WAL) for Lipoedema
    • Brazilian Butt Lifts
    • And more…
  • Promotes faster healing by reducing swelling, inflammation, and bruising experienced post-surgery
  • Helps to manage pain and discomfort
  • Softens fibrosis and adhesions
  • Your surgeon will advise you on the number of sessions required – everyone heals at different rates so this may vary

If considering surgery abroad please see NHS guidance.

MLD and FG-MLD may support other conditions including:

  • skin-related conditions – acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, and scleroderma
  • Improves and naturally clears the skin, leading to better skin tone, great as a facial therapy
  • a tonic effect on intestinal peristalsis, which in turn will aid digestive related problems
  • Encourages the body’s healing process to  improve the appearance of burns, wounds + scar tissue
  • can help to reduce swelling and inflammation in chronic conditions that can lead to discomfort or pain e.g. arthritis
  • Can be an aid to the body during a cleansing/detox programme
  • Reduces fluid congestion from puffy eyes to swollen ankles
  • Excellent as a preventative measure to enhance your general health and well being
  • Encourages the healing of fractures, torn ligaments, sprains
  • Aids variety of other chronic health-related conditions – sinusitis, arthritis

What is Fluoroscopy Guided MLD? [2]

Through the use of Near-Infrared imaging, the superficial lymphatics can be visualised in real-time. This allows observing for the mapping of functional lymphatic collectors, the observation of dermal rerouting areas, dermal backflow areas, and functional substitution pathways. This allows for the mapping and the identification of the lymphatic system and ensures that the therapist knows the best drainage pathways to be used for the patient. Never before have we been able to identify functional lymphatic’s in real-time. This development means that the therapist can ensure that they carry out an MLD technique to which they know the lymphatics are responsive.

Clinical MLD Technique [2]

The ‘Fill and Flush’ (FG-MLD) specialised technique was pioneered by Professor Jean-Paul Belgrado at the University of Brussels. By using fluoroscopy-guided imaging it allowed for the active movement within the superficial lymphatic network to be visible as real-time images for the first time. This then led to the ability to be able to identify and map problem areas of blockage, and most importantly highlight functioning lymphatic pathways that could be used during treatment to obtain positive outcomes.

Built on existing knowledge and continuing research a  new approach and hands-on technique was developed to benefit those with Lymphoedema.

The ‘Fill and Flush’ (FG-MLD) is a hands-on treatment method that uses slightly more pressure, but should never be uncomfortable. There is more patient involvement and encouraged active movement throughout the treatment.

Lymph Vision [3]

LymphVision is able to provide ICG Lymphatic Imaging to map, via Fluoroscopy, an individual’s lymphatics in real time providing valuable insight and a bespoke lymphatic mapping plan, to assist with lymphatic drainage, with the aim of achieving improved outcomes and effective self-management. Please see for further information.

Treatment Plans

Initially, it may be necessary to see new lymphoedema clients daily or for a minimum of 3 days during the first week to enable treatment to really start to get things moving in a meaningful way. Thereafter session frequency will be assessed each week to determine the best plan for clients on an individual basis. Guidance will also be given on self manual lymphatic drainage for clients to do at home and it is also possible to signpost clients to specialist lymphoedema services who can advise further on multi-component bandaging, wraps, compression garments, wound, and skincare.

Important Note:

Swelling can occur anywhere within the body for a variety of reasons, so if you develop un-explained oedema (fluid swelling), or suspect that you could have Lymphoedema, Lipoedema or Lipo-Lymphoedema it is important to see your General Practitioner or Consultant in the first instance to obtain a formal diagnosis and where feasible identify the underlying cause. 

If you have developed symptoms of Lymphoedema swelling following cancer surgery or cancer-related treatment speak with a member of your Multi-disciplinary Team (MDT) in the first instance for advice and guidance. Early detection and management will be beneficial in the long term.

Your health care professional will discuss the potential range of referral options for treatment, including making a referral to your local Lymphoedema Clinic or Service for an assessment and diagnosis. If Lymphoedema or Lipoedema are left untreated, there is a risk they may worsen over time.  There are positive ways that you can control and manage your symptoms, which in the long term will give you a better quality of life, inner confidence leading towards a psychological acceptance of your condition over time.

Jo-Anna is registered with:

The Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT), The CMA and Manual Lymphatic Drainage UK (MLDuk) the leading professional association for MLD practitioners