Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) education for post-surgical conditions is a growing interest amongst our students. But, many manual lymphatic drainage techniques were created for oncology treatment and chronic swelling conditions. What's important to note today is that old school MLD techniques used for lymphedema should not be the same treatment for acute post-surgical MLD. Treating a client's post-surgical swelling the same as chronic lymphedema with MLD is ill-advised.
SWELLING IS A GENERAL PHYSICAL BODYWORK CONTRAINDICATION! Almost ALL chronic or acute swollen soft tissue can TEAR with inappropriate pressure and movement. As such, MLD practitioners must be extremely careful when working with swelling. Manual lymphatic drainage techniques are designed to relieve swelling without damaging the underlying tissues when properly applied.
As such, practitioners should be using different MLD techniques and protocols to treat acute swelling versus chronic swelling. If you are new to the MLD industry, be sure to seek education including protocols and techniques that provide both. And if you have previously trained in MLD, think about the strokes and techniques that you are using and adapt accordingly if you are able, or consider training in these new adaptions with an educational provider like us. Anyone who is practicing the same techniques for both acute and chronic swelling may have less effective treatment than a practitioner who has specific strokes, techniques and protocols for chronic versus acute medical conditions.
Here's an 11-minute free manual lymphatic drainage training video that explains this concept and more:
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