Lymphatic Drainage

Manual Lymph Drainage - The History

Dr. Emil Vodder and his wife Estrid, a naturopath, developed manual lymph drainage (MLD) in France in the 1930s.  They treated patients at a physical therapy institute. For years Dr. Vodder had an interest in the lymphatic system and studied this living environment which he felt was the most important organ system in the body. While treating patients with conditions such as acne, migraines and sinusitis, he could feel swollen lymph nodes in their necks. He believed the swelling or congestion was the underlying cause of the disorders because the lymph nodes had become unable to cleanse the tissues therefore contributing to these symptoms. He believed the lymph nodes could be massaged in a way to relieve their congestion. From here he intuitively invented the techniques of MLD.  His technique involved lightly pressured circular stretching and pumping of the skin over the congested lymph nodes and with this method the symptoms disappeared. In the 1960s various doctors became interested in Dr. Vodder’s work and put together the first list of conditions that would benefit from Manual Lymph Drainage. In 1966 in Austria the Wittlingers, a family of physical therapists met and worked closely with Dr. Vodder. They opened a spa facility equipped in treating various ailments. Dr. Vodder taught them his technique and they continue to this day to be a treatment centre for lymphatic disease. The Wittlinger Clinic has medical doctors on staff, lymphatic therapists who treat with MLD, use water therapy, nutrition, exercise classes and also house as a teaching school. To this day the Wittlingers have ensured the Dr. Vodder technique has been kept in its original form. Instructors have undergone rigourous training and travel around the world to teach the Dr. Vodder MLD technique to therapists.


Possible Benefits of Lymphatic Massage:

  •    Speed recovery from injuries such as sprains
  •    Decrease pain and stiffness after athletic events
  •    Reduce bruising and swelling from surgery
  •    Improve migraines and digestive disorders
  •    Minimize the effects of whiplash and concussion
  •    Reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks
  •    Decrease swelling and fatigue during pregnancy
  •    Improve breast health
  •    Improve acne and other skin conditions
  •    Alleviate chronic pain, insomnia, and stress
  •    Reduce risk of lymphedema after cancer treatment
  •    Lessen swelling due to lymphedema
  •    Benefit Fibromyalgia, CFS/ME, scleroderma
  •    Treatment of wounds and sunburns
  •    Pre and post dental work

(The above outcomes are based on clinical experience and are not guaranteed.)

What is Lymphatic Drainage Massage?

A gentle, rhythmic massage technique which can help improve healing by bringing fresh oxygen and nutrients to an area and removing harmful substances, scar tissue, and pain-causing chemicals. This type of massage works by stretching the skin towards lymph flow. It is gentle enough to be used immediately after an injury or surgery. At our clinic, we are trained in the Dr. Vodder Method of Manual Lymph Drainage.

When Should I Book a Lymphatic Massage?

For car accidents, sprains, cuts, or sports injuries, best results are achieved the day of or the day after the accident. For surgery, best results are achieved with three or more consecutive treatments prior to surgery. Other conditions, such as skin conditions or digestive disorders, can be treated at any time, and are most effective if treated with multiple sessions in a week.