Manual Lymphatic Drainage Treatment: Comprehensive Services at VIVA Wellness

At VIVA Wellness in Brookfield, we pride ourselves in our diverse, skilled healthcare professionals who allow us to offer a wide range of therapies. We have providers specializing in five types of lymphatic drainage treatment: traditional manual lymphatic drainage (MLD), post-surgery MLD, pregnancy and post-partum MLD, vacuum RF, and Brazilian lymphatic drainage. These treatments have helped countless clients manage pain, swelling, and other conditions.

Here we explain manual lymphatic drainage and the related therapies we provide at VIVA Wellness of Milwaukee and the incredible benefits they offer:

What is a Lymphatic Drainage Treatment?

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is a therapy used to relieve swelling and promote lymphatic flow. Developed in 1936, this technique is specifically designed to treat swollen lymph nodes and lymphedema.

MLD is not a traditional massage. This light and gentle therapy focuses on the lymph vessels to encourage the movement of lymphatic fluid out of swollen limbs.

Breathing techniques are incorporated at the beginning and end of each session to enhance the effectiveness of MLD. These techniques help you relax and promote fluid movement towards the heart.

In addition to reduced lymphatic swelling, MLD can be used as a preventative or postoperative treatment. Many also find it helpful for conditions like post-partum and post-surgical edema. Continue reading for more information about the types of MLD we offer at VIVA Wellness and what they can do for you!

The Lymphatic System

Your lymphatic system is an intricate network of organs, vessels, and tissues that protects you from infection and maintains overall health.

One of its key functions is collecting excess fluid from your tissues and returning it to your bloodstream, aiding in the body’s natural detoxification process. Additionally, it assists in absorbing fats and fat-soluble vitamins that are too large to pass through capillaries. Finally, it actively protects your body against invaders by producing and releasing immune cells (lymphocytes) that seek out and destroy harmful substances.

Many organs throughout your body, including your spleen, tonsils, and lymph nodes, are involved in your lymphatic system. Lymph nodes, found throughout the body, monitor and cleanse lymph while your spleen filters blood and removes old or malfunctioning cells.

Other components of your lymphatic system include:

  • Lymphatic fluid (lymph): responsible for draining excess fluid from cells and tissues in the body. Lymph is also a carrier of infection-fighting white blood cells called lymphocytes.
  • Lymphatic vessels: A vast network of tubes runs throughout the body to carry lymph fluid.
  • Collecting ducts: Serving as the entry points for lymph rejoining the bloodstream.
  • Tonsils and adenoids: These structures efficiently trap toxins from food and air intake as part of the body’s first line of defense.

Types of Lymphatic Drainage Treatment:

There are several types of manual lymphatic drainage, each with its own purpose. At VIVA Wellness, we have lymphatic drainage therapists who specialize in each type of MLD:

Traditional MDL (Vodder Method)

The Dr. Vodder method of Manual Lymph Drainage is a gentle, non-invasive approach for stimulating a sluggish lymphatic system and promoting relaxation. The rhythmic movements, following the lymph flow, yield impressive and speedy results.

Through carefully applied manual pushing, stretching, and light pressure, our therapist stimulates the skin to encourage lymphatic flow without causing redness. Following the pressure stage, a relaxation stage is initiated, maintaining manual contact with the skin but without applying any pressure.

The Vodder strategy employs four foundational strokes – stationary circles, pumps, rotary, and scoop – in various patterns. During treatment, the affected area is gently massaged, and the therapist applies soft pressure to the skin and subcutaneous tissue using stationary circles, pumps, and strokes.

Post-surgical MLD

Originally used in breast cancer patients before reconstruction, MLD has shown remarkable improvements in pain and swelling after many types of surgery.

During the critical postoperative period of surgery, proper care is essential. Our recommendations for manual lymphatic treatment include regular sessions performed by our certified VIVA Wellness therapists to improve blood circulation, alleviate pain, and expedite the healing process.

Patients recovering from surgery often encounter fibrosis, a skin-hardening inflammatory process. MLD offers a solution by helping to break down the lumps and bumps caused by fibrosis. By utilizing MLD therapy during recovery, you can support your lymphatic system to reabsorb excess fluid and reduce swelling.

Lymphatic Drainage for Pregnancy and Postpartum Swelling

This is a new treatment we now offer at VIVA Wellness. Pregnancy-related edema is a common issue for many expectant mothers. Utilizing manual lymphatic techniques, prenatal lymphatic drainage focuses on the areas of the body that experience the most fluid retention and discomfort during pregnancy.

Lymph drainage has been recognized for its potential in treating edema during pregnancy by stimulating the body’s natural drainage system. Manual lymph drainage has been found to significantly reduce fluid retention in the limbs of pregnant women, reducing the overall size of the legs.

We also see postpartum clients for MLD to reduce excess fluids in the arms and legs. According to an international study:

In pregnancy, DLM allows for the reduction of edema, and allows for detoxification, oxygenation, defense, and nutrition of the tissues. In addition, it helps reduce pain, numbness, and heaviness in the lower limbs. In the postpartum period, besides reducing the edema, it helps to control perineal pain.

This service at VIVA Wellness is completely customizable depending on how far along you are in pregnancy and any areas of concern.

Brazilian Lymphatic Drainage

Our RN Esmerelda is a specially trained Brazilian Lymphatic Drainage therapist through Detox by Rebecca. This treatment is designed to detoxify the body, improve circulation, and promote a more defined body shape. It is the premier lymphatic service developed by world-renowned celebrity lymphatic expert Rebecca Faria. This transformative 75-minute service will provide a full and comprehensive body detox, sculpt, and immune system boost.

Complete with cupping and facial sculpting techniques, it includes a targeted sequence of specialty maneuvers designed for the ultimate lymphatic health and wellness treatment. Most see visible results immediately. VIVA Wellness’s Brazilian detox ends with specialty detox tea to further boost metabolic and lymphatic health.

Vacuum Radio Frequency (RF) Therapy

Vacuum RF Therapy is a modern, non-invasive treatment that targets stubborn cellulite and reshapes your body. This scientifically researched therapy is essentially a mini detox. It activates lymph nodes, opens drainage pathways, and sculpts the body with special attention paid to the abdomen.

By creating a vacuum around the problem areas, this therapy lifts cellulite away from the muscle, improving blood flow, stimulating lymphatic drainage, and enhancing the effects of massage or exercise. It’s like the ancient Chinese art of “cupping,” but with a modern twist.

It reduces excess fat in trouble spots like the hips, thighs, and buttocks and improves blood circulation, relaxes muscle tension, eliminates toxins, and prevents cellulite by inhibiting fat storage.

VIVA Wellness offers this treatment at a lower pricepoint for those looking for a smaller boost.

Bonus Treatments:

Gua Sha: Gua Sha is a traditional Chinese therapy that relieves chronic pain and promotes wellness. Our skilled professionals gently stroke the skin with a smooth-edged tool, amplifying the pain-relieving effects of MLD.

IR Sauna: An Infrared Sauna session is great post-treatment to accelerate detoxification and enhance results.

Manual lymphatic drainage FAQ

The team at VIVA Wellness firmly believes that you should be fully informed about our services and your health. Here are some common questions we receive about manual lymphatic drainage:

What conditions can be treated with MLD?

Lymphatic drainage is a powerful treatment that addresses many health conditions, including:

  • Edema: fluid accumulation in the body tissues can be eased with MLD. Whether caused by pregnancy, injury, or medical conditions such as cancer, this technique can provide much-needed relief.
  • Covid/flu symptoms such as sinus congestion, cough, and fatigue: By focusing on the sinuses, this technique can relieve congestion and reduce inflammation that causes other cold/flu symptoms.
  • Chronic conditions: like rheumatoid arthritis and lipedema can also benefit from lymphatic drainage therapy. By stimulating lymphatic flow and reducing swelling, this technique can provide much-needed relief and improve quality of life.
  • Fibromyalgia: Research has shown that lymphatic therapy is superior to other techniques for managing fibromyalgia. From reducing stiffness to improving mental well-being, this technique can make a significant difference for those with this chronic condition.

How are lymph drainage treatments done?

It starts with therapy on unaffected areas, creating space for the fluid to flow out of the affected area. MLD also helps open functioning lymph collectors, allowing protein and fluid to move through the lymphatic pathway.

MLD consists of four main strokes: stationary circles, scoop technique, pump technique, and rotary technique. After finishing stimulating one area, your MLD therapist will pause to let the skin return to its natural shape. She will repeat the same technique in different areas to promote lymph circulation. She will focus on areas with the most lymph blockage.

Are there any risks associated with lymphatic drainage therapy?

While most people can benefit from MLD, there are a few conditions where this type of treatment may not be recommended:

  • Certain heart conditions
  • Kidney failure
  • Blood clots
  • Active infection

If you’re unsure whether MLD is suitable for you, your VIVA Wellness provider will give you personalized treatment recommendations.

What are the key benefits of lymphatic therapy?

Lymphatic drainage can benefit more than just those with lymphedema.

Reduce Overall Swelling

One of the main advantages of lymphatic drainage therapy is its ability to reduce swelling throughout the body. By promoting the proper movement of lymph fluid, this technique can alleviate discomfort and improve overall wellness.

Boost Immunity

Lymphatic drainage therapy stimulates the immune system by clearing toxins from the body, reducing the risk of infection, and boosting your body’s defense mechanisms. When battling a cold or sinus infection, lymphatic drainage can provide relief by speeding up the recovery process.

Diminish Cellulite

The appearance of cellulite can improve with the help of lymphatic drainage treatment. By gently massaging the skin and encouraging lymphatic fluid flow, your skin will look tighter and healthier.

Lower Stress

If you’re feeling anxious, MLD may be perfect for you. This relaxing technique has been shown to reduce stress hormones in many people.

Facial Rejuvenation

Looking to rejuvenate your face? Lymphatic drainage therapy can help! By reducing facial swelling, this technique offers a temporary lifting and tightening effect.

Why choose VIVA Wellness for MLD services?

Our exceptional team combines skills and healing therapies from various backgrounds, all united in our mission to relieve your pain and reach optimum holistic wellness. Led by founder Jennifer Hruz, FNP-BC APNP, who understands health challenges personally, we are dedicated to helping others in Southeast Wisconsin overcome them, too.

Through our expertise in lymphatic drainage and other services in Milwaukee, we will guide you to reduced pain, increased energy, mental clarity, and overall health.

We are committed to supporting you as a whole person and providing the tools, knowledge, and encouragement needed for lasting results. Contact VIVA Wellness to schedule an appointment and see these incredible results for yourself. Join VIVA Wellness and embrace a life of vitality and joy!


Contact us to book and appointment or consultation in Brookfield, WI.

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