Integrative Massage Concepts of Charlotte Inc.
The Power of Touch for Health and Relaxation
Manual Lymph Drainage FAQ

Q: What is Lymphedema?

A: Lymphedema is an accumulation of lymph fluid in the tissue. This can cause swelling in arm(s), leg(s), abdomen, breast or head and neck.


Q: What is the difference between Lymphedema I and II?

A: Lymphedema I, also called primary lymphedema is due to a congenital abnormality. It can appear immediately after birth, during puberty or during mid-adult years.

Lymphedema II, also called secondary lymphedema can develop when lymph vessels are damaged or lymph nodes are removed, either due to surgery, radiation therapy, trauma, infection, venous/lymphatic insufficiency or parasitic disease.


Q: What is MLD?

A: The strokes applied in Manual Lymphatic Drainage are intended to stimulate the movement of the lymphatic fluids in order to assist the body in cleansing and decongestion. This is a gentle and rhythmical technique that cleanses the connective tissue of inflammatory materials and metabolic waste, enhances the activity of the immune system, reduces pain and lowers the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. The most widely taught and generally accepted form of this technique was created by Dr.Emil Vodder and requires advanced training and precise movements.


Q: What is CDT?

A: Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) is used primarily in the treatment of lymphedema and venous insufficiency edema. It is a combination of MLD, bandaging, exercises and skin care. CDT may also involve breathing exercises and compression garments. A frequent indication for CDT is lymphedema caused by irradiation or surgery due to cancer or venous insufficiencies. It can relieve edema, fibrosis and the accompanying pain and discomfort.


Q: How do I find the right manual lymph drainage therapist for me?

A: Manual lymph drainage is a form of manual therapy. The strokes performed are very specific and have to follow the anatomy of the lymphatic system. Lymph drainage based on the teachings of Dr.Vodder have been proven the most effective and are recognized in the medical community all over the world. Your therapist should have attended a school who teaches this method and holds regularly review classes for their graduates for stroke reviews and sharing of the newest knowledge in the field of lymphatic studies.


Q: What is a Certified Lymphedema Therapist (CLT)?

A: It is a therapist certified in Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT).


Q: Why does a massage therapist need to be certified in Complete Decongestive Therapy to help lymphedema patients?

A: A massage therapist certified in Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) has significantly advanced his or her training and is now uniquely qualified to work in challenging clinical settings centered around the field of lymphedema management.


Q: In which way do clients benefit from a therapist who has attended an advanced Spa-Body/Wellness course in manual lymph drainage?

A: The therapist focuses on the specific use of MLD in both, leisure and medical wellness settings to be able to perform treatment protocols for pre- and post cosmetic surgery, dermatological indications, cellulite, fluid retention, trauma, sport injuries and lifestyle disorders.


Q: How often do I need lymph drainage treatment?

A: It has been proven that MLD is most effective being applied several times. Please contact your certified therapist for a consultation.


Q: Which conditions can benefit from CDT?

A: Clients with a lymphedema diagnosis.


Q: I am planning to have plastic surgery soon - how many MLD sessions should I have and when?

A: Please consult your certified therapist - he/she can advise you.


Q: When can I receive MLD treatment after cancer surgery?

A: In case you develop swelling after surgery, please consult with your physician for a diagnosis. Once your malignancies are not active anymore, treatment can be started.


Q: When can MLD not be administered?

A: Please consult with your certified therapist since there are absolute and relative contraindications.


Q: In addition to therapy, should I wear compression garments to improve my condition?

A: Compression wear should be worn to support your lymph system during the day. At night, bandaging or specific compression wear is recommended. Plastic surgery patients usually wear their garments day and night, or as recommended by their surgeon.


Q: What type of compression garments should I wear?

A: There are different types and pressure gradients of compression wear. It depends on the condition of the client which one is the right one. Please consult with your certified therapist for measurement. Only a correctly fitted garment will support your lymph system.


Q: When do I need to wear compression garments?

A: A lymphedema client should wear the garment every day to prevent swelling to reoccur more than necessary. This is part of maintaining good health.


Q: Where do I buy compression garments to help treat my lymphedema or vascular condition?

A: Compression Wear House, a division of Integrative Massage Concepts offers an array of lymphedema products including medical compression garments such as compression stockings and compression sleeves as well as bandages for lymphedema treatment and vascular needs, athletic compression and shape wear products. Compression products from reputable manufacturers are measured and fitted to our client’s individual needs.

Please visit:


There are many other conditions, where the application of MLD is beneficial besides surgery and trauma.

Migraines, chronic headaches, sinus congestion, skin conditions like seborrheic dermatitis, acne, couperosis, rosacea, eczema, puffiness and fine lines and wrinkles, scars, as well as swollen, heavy and edematous feet and ankles esp. during pregnancy, lymphedema, chronic venous insufficiency, and many more....

It is also used successfully in sports medicine and rehabilitation, like whiplash, repetitive strain injury, tendonitis and arthritis.

Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals
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