top of page

#AppliedMLD, it's more than just lymphoedema

Updated: May 17, 2023

Image by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Anyone seeking specialist lymphoedema care will naturally expect their therapist to focus treatment on the lymphoedema, but both Vodder and Foeldi prescribed whole body therapy, which is more than just clearing proximal pathways. It requires that we consider the lymphoedema systemically and treat the whole system, but it's easy to lose this concept in a busy clinic with a complex client and a ticking clock.

Treating the whole body means looking for and treating other sources of inflammation.

Image by Vin Stratton on Unsplash

This may be any condition which causes pain since the accompanying inflammation will contribute to lymphoedema. Or any skeletal muscular issue preventing free movement, as this will not only adversely affect the lymphoedema, but also hinder essential activities such as garment donning and doffing.

When inflammation reduces and movement increases, lymphedema treatments become more effective.

Releasing a frozen shoulder makes it much easier to apply effective CDT. But how do you treat a frozen shoulder on an untreated lymphedema arm without causing pain and risking a worsening of the oedema? When lymphoedema is present, these co-existing inflammatory and skeletal muscular issues should be addressed lymphatically, and using MLD protects the lymphedema affected areas and supports the system generally.

Most lymphedema training programs don’t teach you how to use MLD specifically for a frozen shoulder, or piriformis syndrome.

Our substantive professions may offer deep tissue techniques for these conditions, but these may be painful and not appropriate in lymphedema. The recently created Certificate in Applied MLD teaches the application of Dr Vodder's MLD to almost every conceivable acute or chronic inflammatory condition - except lymphoedema! #AppliedMLD is the best way to treat all those co-morbidities that can impact on lymphedema management.

Like all things Vodder, the effectiveness of the techniques are in the precision manipulation of the soft tissues, careful application to targeted structures, and working without pain.

From Dr Vodder's MLD, A Practical Guide

These innate qualities within the techniques give us a safe and effective way to address these issues for our lymphoedema clients. Unfortunately, previous graduates of the training including me, learned these treatments in the middle of a massive and overwhelming course on lymphedema management, and then tended to lose them once we were back in the clinic. When faced with advanced lymphoedema that will need a lot of time to properly address, other co-morbidities get pushed aside. To the detriment of both therapist and client in my opinion.

Fortunately for me I became a Dr Vodder Instructor early in my career and teaching the old Therapy 1 course reconnected me with the Special Techniques for MLD.

I’ve come to appreciate how vital they are to delivery of the whole therapy, and to achieving the best possible clinical outcomes.

I feel like crying sometimes when I hear experienced therapists say they barely use them, or have forgotten how 😭 To me, including special techniques to address all potential co-morbidities was always one of the things that set the Vodder School program apart from other lymphoedema training qualifications. So no-one is happier about recognising these techniques as a standalone therapy in the Certificate of Applied MLD than me.

I can finally teach these highly effective techniques in a qualification that recognises the completeness of their application in treatment of a huge number of pathologies other than lymphedema.

The new format also allows me to more effectively focus on teaching the intimate nuances of MLD as it is applied for a multitude of target structures and tissue types, and for the range of presentations from acute to chronic.

Treatments encompass skeletal-muscle, neural and digestive system pathologies, not to mention the obvious and major effects on lymphatic function and immune interactions.

I haven't always been able to deliver the training in the way that I'd like. #AppliedMLD has allowed me to re-configured the course around teaching a more in-depth and nuanced understanding of the application and adaptation of MLD.

Using case-based clinical reasoning scenarios ensures that everyone leaves the classroom with a comprehensive understanding on how to transfer the techniques into clinical practice and use them with existing clientele, whether they be lymphoedema clients or a more general client population.

Image by Austin Chan on Unsplash

#AppliedMLD gives you a way to immediately take what you have learned and apply it in your clinical practice with your existing clients.

If you are an existing Vodder Therapist you may be able to upgrade to the Certificate in Applied MLD in the 4-day Level 2 Practical. Non-Vodder therapists can gain the full Applied MLD qualification in an 8-day Practical.

Read more about


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page