Manual lymphatic drainage techniques are special techniques incorporated by massage therapists into rehabilitation programs. The basis for using manual lymphatic drainage is to achieve the following [1]:

  1. Stimulating the lymphatic system via an increase in lymph circulation
  2. Expediting the removal of biochemical wastes from body tissues
  3. Enhancing body fluid dynamics, thereby facilitating edema reduction
  4. Decreasing sympathetic nervous system responses while increasing parasympathetic nervous tone, yielding a non-stress body-framework state

Does Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage Work?

The theory is sound – the lymphatic system is key to dealing with inflammation, circulation and tissue healing. If we can manually stimulate lymphatic drainage – it should be helpful for a wide range of conditions.

The Evidence – Post Surgical Repair of Fractures [2]

26 patients who had surgical repair of an arm fracture were subjects of a Randomized Controlled Trial, where the treatment group got Vodder Method (a form of Manual Lymphatic Drainage). The other group did not get lymphatic drainage; both groups were given the same care and instructions post-op which included compressive bandaging.

The group who got the Manual Lymphatic Drainage had a significant decrease in volume (edema) measured between the injured and non-injured hands.

The significance: edema is a major barrier to healing. Being able to significantly reduce edema following surgery can reduce pain, stiffness, skin irritation (itchiness and stretching), scarring and localized damage to blood vessels, joints and muscles.


The Evidence – Athletes [3]

14 recreational athletes were a part of a Randomized Control Trial. The participants did a treadmill exercise test. The objective was to measure muscle enzymes after exercise, with or without manual lymphatic drainage.

The group who got the Manual Lymphatic Drainage had a faster decrease in blood levels of these muscle enzyme.

The significance: muscle enzymes are a marker of muscle damage – although exercise is a beneficial thing, the quicker these enzymes reduce, the faster your capacity to recover.

Furthermore – there are various conditions whereby muscle damage is prevalent, and muscle enzymes are chronically high. Manual lymphatic drainage may be a helpful adjunctive therapy.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage in Paris Ontario?

We’re proud to say our very own Kelli McConkey is a Vodder Certified Manual Lymphatic Drainage therapist. Call or book online today!


[1] G. Vairo, S. Miller, N. McBrier and W. Buckley, "Systematic Review of Efficacy for Manual Lymphatic Drainage Techniques in Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation: An Evidence-Based Practice Approach," J Man Manip Ther., vol. 17, no. 3, pp. 80-89, 2009. [].
[2] K. Härén, C. Backman and M. Wiberg, "Effect of manual lymph drainage as described by Vodder on oedema of the hand after fracture of the distal radius: a prospective clinical study.," Scand J Plast Reconstr Surg Hand Surg. , vol. 34, no. 4, pp. 367-72, 2000. [].
[3] A. Schillinger, D. Koenig and C. Haefele, "Effect of manual lymph drainage on the course of serum levels of muscle enzymes after treadmill exercise," Am J Phys Med Rehabil, vol. 85, no. 6, pp. 516-20, 2006. [].

About the Author - Dr. Johann de Chickera

man facing camera

Dr. Johann is a fully licensed Naturopathic Doctor. His approach emphasizes the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and improving one’s health naturally. Dr. Johann obtained a Doctor of Naturopathy at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM). Education at CCNM is a vigorous four years, with a curriculum involving biomedical sciences, physical diagnosis, clinical nutrition, traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture, botanical (herbal) medicine, physical medicine, homeopathy and lifestyle management.

While Dr. Johann has a general practice, he focuses on fertility, hormonal imbalances, gut health, and autoimmune disease.

To book in please call us at (519) 442-2206 or click here.

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