© 2017 — Polly Jiacovelli

Manual Lymph Drainage

Manual Lymph Drainage
Benefits of Manual Lymph Drainage
What is Lymphedema
What is the treatment of Lymphedema
Dr. Vodder’s Combined Decongestive Therapy
What is Lipedema
Self Care


Manual Lymph Drainage

Dr. Vodder’s Manual Lymph Drainage was developed in Europe by Dr. Emil Vodder and Estrid Vodder in the 1930s.
Manual Lymph Drainage is a very gentle but extremely powerful treatment for cleansing the body, specifically the connective tissue.
Manual Lymph Drainage helps to reduce pain, relax the patient and greatly assists with improving the immune system.
The therapeutic benefits are vast. These benefits have been researched and well documented for over 60 different conditions for people suffering from acute or chronic illnesses as well as for anyone interested in health, wellness and beauty.
As part of Combined Decongestive Therapy(CDT), Manual Lymph Drainage is considered the gold standard treatment for lymphedema.
Listed below are some of the many benefits of Manual Lymph Drainage according to The North American Vodder Association of Lymphatic Therapy(NAVALT) and the Dr. Vodder School.




Benefits of Manual Lymph Drainage

Removes metabolic wastes, excess water, toxins, bacteria, large protein molecules and foreign substances from the tissues.
Alleviates pain by greatly reducing the pain signals sent to the brain.
Relaxes the sympathetic nervous system, thus helping to relieve stress.
Supports and enhances the action of the immune system.
Helps the body to heal more quickly from injuries, surgical trauma, chronic conditions and edema.
Helps to minimize scar formation.




What is Lymphedema

Lymphedema is a swelling of a body part, most often an extremity, resulting from an accumulation of fluids, in such proportions to be palpable and visible.
Lymphedema occurs when the lymph vascular system is not able to fill its functions of reabsorption and transport of the protein and lymph load.
Lymphedema occurs whenever lymphatic vessels are absent, underdeveloped, obstructed or damaged.




What is the treatment of Lymphedema

Lymphedema is a serious condition, indicating that the lymph system is unable to handle the lymph load. Treatment should begin as soon as lymphedema is diagnosed.
The goal of treatment is to reduce the swelling and facilitate the flow of lymph fluid to the venous circulation of the affected area.
The most effective approach used by therapists in many European countries is a method called Combined or Complex Decongestive Therapy (CDT); a four step process, carried out over a 4 week period. The individual elements are Manual Lymph Drainage, compression therapy, remedial exercises, breathing techniques and excellent skin hygiene. The patient visits the clinic once or twice a day, 5 times a week, or in accordance with the physician’s recommendations.




Dr. Vodder’s Combined Decongestive Therapy

Lymphatic Therapy – patients receive Dr. Vodder’s Manual Lymph Drainage once or twice a day to remove excess fluid and protein. The Manual Lymph Drainage is performed to open lymphatics in the unaffected regions so these can help to drain the affected area.
The stimulated lymphangions increase their activity, which results in a decompression and emptying of obstructed lymphatic channels.
Compression Therapy – bandaging of the affected limb follows each session. This is a precise and accurate procedure using specific bandages and interfacing materials.
Remedial Exercises and Breathing – further promote venous and lymphatic flow by activating the muscle and joint pumps.
Skin Care and Hygiene – excellent skin cleansing with antibacterial washes and neutral balanced pH lotions will help to eliminate bacterial and fungal growth and so minimize the possibility of repeated attacks of cellulitis and/or lymphangitis.




What is Lipedema

Lipedema is a condition where changes in cellular function of adipose cells lead to fatty tissue edema, thickened collagen fibers, venous stasis and lymphostasis.
Lipedema occurs more frequently in women and appears at certain locations such as the thigh, buttocks, lower abdomen and sometimes the arms. Hands and feet are unaffected and remain slim.
Lipedemea occurs in phases and is painful in the advanced stages. It frequently exists in combination with venous edema and/or lymphedema.




Self Care

After the clinic treatment has been completed the patient is responsible for continuing exercises and breathing techniques.
A correctly fitted compression sleeve or stocking must be worn on a daily basis.
Self bandaging is done every night before bed. It is advisable to have a check up once a month after the treatment has ended, as well as 6 months later to assess progress. Garments should be replaced every 3-6 months since they lose their elasticity over time.


Indications for
Manual Lymph Drainage


Post-mastectomy edema
Post-hysterectomy edema
Varicose veins
Post-surgical swelling
Pre-surgery preparation
Post-surgery recovery
Pre/post cosmetic surgery
Post-vein stripping


Muscle/ligament tears
Rheumatoid arthritis
Neck pain/whiplash
Chronic pain

Ear, Nose & Throat

Meniere’s disease


Tension headaches
Neuralgia, RSD
Carpal Tunnel syndrome
Stress reduction


Leg ulcers


Chronic fatigue
Toxic poisoning