Manual Lymphatic Drainage Therapy

In the next therapy in my “Why not?” treatments, I had manual lymphatic drainage Friday. The best description I’ve found of lymph drainage is: “The aim of the massage is to stimulate or move the excess fluid away
from the swollen area so that it can drain away normally. Massage also
encourages and improves drainage in the healthy lymphatics. . . .” Several massage therapists have recommended it to me, even though I don’t have swollen lymph nodes or symptoms of lymphedema.

I have no idea how effective lymphatic drainage may be for migraine, headache or any other illness, but I quickly noticed changes in my body. I swallowed a lot during the treatment, which the therapist said is a good sign. Afterward, I was lightheaded and nauseated and could barely keep my eyes open. Following a two hour nap, I was still tired and slightly nauseated and remained that way through the evening. I also swallowed practically nonstop all day.

I have another appointment today and will continue with one appointment a week for a few weeks. It isn’t one of the commonly recommended alternative therapies for migraine, but, as I said, why not try? At least I felt something, even if it didn’t apply to migraine symptoms.

12 thoughts on “Manual Lymphatic Drainage Therapy”

  1. Kerrie what type of MLD practitioner did you use. A Vodder trained therapist is the best. You may have had someone who’s method was slightly flawed.

  2. Manual Lymphatic Drainage has many purposes – this modality is part of my repertoire. Since it can be used as a gentle Detox/Cleansing of your lymph system – one can experience, as you reportedly did, the nausea and fatigue.

    In my training it’s recommended not to do too much in a session – resulting in nausea etc.

    In general…lymph is everywhere, superficial and deep lymph vessels. With surgeries, where nodes have been removed LDT assists your system to find an alternative path for the lymph to follow (to prevent swelling (mapping is a technique taught in the Chikly Health Institute).

    I also practice CranioSacral Therapy. This is what I use for migraines with very good results. It is important to understand that the results of CST are cummulative – to achieve lasting results…don’t stop treatment as soon as you stop getting migraines, there are many underlying issues – your therapist will want to work through them…and once regular treatments are no longer necessary….remember to do maintenance. follow up visits. Be aware of your stress level and what has brought about migraines in the past.

    A great resource for finding a Practitioner of these modalities (and others taught through and in conjunction with the Upledger Institute)…check on line at IAHP.COM – go to find a therapist – select the modality and area (city or zip). You will not only find the therapists in your area, but a listing of the Therapists training in the modalities (click each and you see a description of the class taken)



  3. Kerrie, I am very curious to know what your final evaluation of manual lymph drainage treatment in regard to your migraines. I am a RN of 16 years. I have resently become a licensed massage therapist, and completed additional training in MLD. I beleive in its possibilities, I have seen its effect. But I am frustrated by the lack of research to back up what I beleive.

    It didn’t work for me, but I still think it could be useful for others.


  4. HI, I am going to try lymphatic drainage. I think I’ve had a blockage for years by my 1st rib that was just found by mayofacial practitioner. As for headaches, please stop taking in sulfer, sulfites, sulfates or anything with it in the name. I suffered for 35 years until the last few years I discovered this! Most processed foods have it. (wine and fast food fries are the worst) It was hard at first. Now if I get a headache I can always trace it back to something I ate with sulfer in it. Soap and shampoo even in toothpaste, really dries out the skin. Please pass it along to anyone you know how suffers from debilitating headaches!

  5. I have also tried “Manual Lymphatic Drainage Therapy”. I am a migraine suffere of 18 years. Suffering with migraines weekly.
    Just recently I had a MLD Massage and for the fist week after I was down with a bad ,sick, sick migraine.
    After the first week was over though, I begin to feel soooo good. I have more energy, my mind is clearer and I’m just plain happy…. And best of all it has been 38 days and only ONE 24 HOUR MIGRAINE. PLEASE TRY IT, I WILL CONTINUE TO HAVE THE MASSAGE. After 18 years of misery I’m alive again.

  6. Healing Touch has great success for acute migraines and offers relief for chronic sufferers. It is totally non-invasive and very relaxing. Find a Healing Touch Practitioner in your area. You will be amazed!

  7. I have had terrible migraines almost all my life. They seemed to be getting worse as I got older. I just tried Cranial Sacral Therapy. I, too, tried the “why not” when it was recommended. It worked! It is a very relaxing non-invasive treatment that works for migraines. I had a treatment once a week for about a month. I went to 2-3 weeks apart and after 3 months mine are almost totally gone!!!

  8. sorry, I just got back here and didn’t realize you left a comment on my um comment.

    Basically, he shoves a probe up into my scalp, after I’ve gone to sleep, gotta love Versed, and zaps the nerve. Occipital. freezes it. I believe posted i and found an acutal article on it. i’ll see if I can find it.

  9. Interesting. Isn’t it just amazing the depths we’ll go. Have you tried, how many times have you heard that?? Seriously though, cryoanalgesic? I’ve gone for 2, and am up for a 3rd round. Feel free to send t;his to my email if you’d rather not post about it.

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