Manual Lymph Drainage

Research Spotlight

The databases often return HUNDREDS of medical studies for a single therapy/approach. So this section "spotlights" just five - providing a taste of the research available. They were not selected because they are "best," but to provide an introduction to the more extensive research you'll uncover at the 4 databases.

  • Manual Lymph Drainage Effective in Treatment of Fybromyalgia
    A study comparing the effectiveness of manual lymph drainage therapy (MLDT) and connective tissue massage (CTM) in women with fybromyalgia demonstrated that while both forms of massage resulted in improvements for pain and health-related quality of life, MLDT was significantly more effective than CTM in some categories. The authors concluded that while further study is needed, MLDT might be the preferable treatment.
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  • Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) Significantly Reduced Hand Edema and Increased Function in Patients with Systemic Sclerosis
    A five-week study of sclerosis patients using the Vodder MLD technique showed significant improvement at the end of treatment in hand edema and function - and perception of quality of life compared to the control group.
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  • Manual Lymph Drainage Works in Preventing Lymphedema
    A clinical trial (120 women) who had surgery for breast cancer that involved dissection of lymph nodes demonstrated that early physiotherapy, including manual lymph drainage, massage of scar tissue and shoulder exercises, was significantly effective in preventing secondary lymphedema.
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  • Adding Manual Lymph Drainage Massage to Compression Therapy Beneficial to Cancer-Related Lymphedema
    A systematic review of the medical evidence by the University of Alberta (Canada) concluded that for breast cancer patients, a statistically significant benefit comes from adding manual lymph drainage massage to compression therapy for upper extremity lymphedema volume.
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  • Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) Shows No Added Benefit in Preventing Lymphedema
    A review of three studies on the control of limb edema compared individuals who had manual lymph drainage, followed by self-administered massage, versus no treatment – and showed that the benefits in both groups came from wearing compression sleeves, not from MLD. But the reviewers noted that all three trials had limitations, and that there is a need for more study.
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