Manual Lymphatic Drainage Technique (MLDT), developed in the early nineteen thirties by a massage therapist and a doctor of philosophy Emil Vodder. MLDT is based on the anatomy and physiology of hot-blooded organisms. By the end of the twentieth century the method was generally accepted in Western Europe, Australia and North America as a preferred therapy for dysfunctions related to the lymphatic system.
In the US the term Manual Lymphatic Drainage Technique is often substituted by the term Lymph Drainage Therapy (LDT). Modern practitioners of Manual Lymphatic Drainage Technique can detect rhythm, direction, depth and quality of the lymph flow anywhere in the body.

According to a French born lymphologist Bruno Chikly, DO Manual Lymphatic Drainage is effective in:

  • Reduction in edema (swelling)
  • Detoxification of the body, regeneration of tissue, including burns, wounds and wrinkles
  • Cosmetic anti-aging effects
  • Relief of numerous chronic and sub acute inflammations, including sinusitis, bronchitis and otitis
  • Relief of chronic pain
  • Reduction in the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia
  • Antispastic actions to relieve conditions such as muscle hyper tonus and some forms of constipation
  • Reduction of allergic reactions
  • Deep relaxation to aid insomnia, stress, loss of vitality and loss of memory
  • Reduction of adipose tissue and elimination of the cellulite
  • Treatment of lymphedema

In the treatment of lymphedema MLDT alone is not effective because the edema returns several hours after an MLDT session is over. The MLDT sessions have to be augmented by the compression bandages and garments help to keep the swelling in check between the drainage sessions. This combined treatment is called the Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT). The application of compression garments and compression bandages requires special training and is administrated only by licensed therapists. Unfortunately, such practitioners are not available in some parts of the world. On the other hand, some of the lymphedema patients find compression bandaging and garments uncomfortable and drop out of the CDT treatment.