Woodlands Hospice | Hospice Care for North Liverpool, South Sefton and Kirkby in Knowsely

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Simple Lymphatic Drainage

Simple lymphatic drainage (SLD) is a massage that you learn to do yourself. It is often referred to as self-massage.

Your lymphoedema Practitioner will teach you how to do this. You may be taught to only massage in the areas where you don’t have lymphoedema. This frees up space for the lymph fluid to drain into from the swollen area.

You don’t normally massage the area where you have swelling; although some patients feel benefits from massaging the affected limbs as well. Your lymphoedema practitioner will show you how to massage the surrounding areas and you can ask questions if anything is not clear.

It is recommended that you massage twice a day, for about 20 minutes each time. Only apply light pressure, as your lymphoedema specialist taught you.


For further information on SLD please see the link below:


When NOT to massage

There are some situations when you should not have massage or do self-massage.  Your lymphoedema Practitioner will tell you whether you can or can’t.  Always check with them if you are not sure.  You may not be able to do SLD if you have any of the following:

  • An infection or inflammation in the swollen area (cellulitits)
  • A blood clot
  • Heart problems
  • Active cancer in the area

If you are uncertain about doing SLD, talk to your doctor or lymphoedema specialist.

For information on Manual Lymphatic Drainage and for qualified MLD therapists within the field of Lymphoedema please visit the official MLD website: http://­www.­mlduk.­org.­uk/