To safeguard our employees and visitors, the NHPC office itself is closed and staff are working remotely. See our COVID-19 Q & A for pandemic-specific information.
NHPC staff will be unavailable on Monday, August 2, for the stat holiday.

Manual Lymph Drainage

Manual lymph drainage improves health by improving the flow of the lymphatic system. Practitioners apply soft touch to help reduce swelling and pain.


Dr. Emil Vodder and Estrid Vodder created manual lymph drainage after treating several clients who had swollen lymph nodes.

They became interested in alleviating some of their clients' symptoms, and in 1932, studied how the lymphatic system circulates and how it can be affected through touch techniques. Their theories and techniques eventually evolved to become manual lymph drainage.


Manual lymph drainage practitioners use a light touch when they massage, following the flow of the lymph towards the heart. There are five basic techniques: stationary, rotary, thumb circles, pumping, and scooping.

These are used to stimulate or assist lymph flow or to help get lymph reabsorbed into the lymph system from the surrounding tissues. The practitioners may also recommend remedial exercise, as well as compression bandaging.

Explore This Practice For

Manual lymph drainage helps reduce swelling and has some analgesic effects. Some practitioners are trained to help manage lymphedema (congenital/acquired), wounds, and skin conditions. 


A level of training that includes every competency component needed to safely and appropriately apply the treatment.


An additional treatment that first requires the practitioners to be trained in an appropriate related discipline.