Like a Summer Wind: Manual Lymph Drainage Helps Those with Lymphedema
Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) and Complete Decongestive Physiotherapy (CDP) are discussed in Charlotte Michael Versagi’s article, “Like A Summer Wind: Manual Lymph Drainage Helps Those with Lymphedema.” “Endorsed by the American Cancer Society,” writes Versagi, MLD/CDP are noninvasive, painless therapies that bring relief to patients with lymphedema. Verasagi details the common cause of lymphedema, the dissection and/or removal of the lymph nodes after surgery, along with other causes, such as “trauma, infection, general surgery, radiation or congenital malformation of the lymph system.” She outlines the history of MLD/CDP and credits the physicians involved with the professional advancement of this type of therapy into the modern medical world. Versagi reviews the lymphatic system and distinguishes between edema and lymphedema. She points out the importance of a physical examination and obtaining a written prescription from the client’s physician before performing MLD/CDP work. Versagi explains where massage and MLD/CDP differ. She writes, “in massage you go for that muscle,” and in MLD/CDP “we try to get the blood flow going.” Versagi discusses the importance of stimulating the lymph vessels with the MLD/CDP technique to reabsorb the lymph fluid back into the venous system of the body. The therapist should consider serious training if MLD/CDP is to be an extension of their massage practice, suggests Versagi, and she lists ways to find the program with the best education and physician affiliation. An overview of where a MLD/CDP-trained massage therapist stands in the career market and a few of the obstacles that a practitioner choosing this field might encounter are highlighted.