Despite the wide range of clinical applications for Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD), there are some conditions for which MLD is contraindicated. In cases where increasing lymph flow could be harmful MLD should not be performed. These cases include:
Any untreated metastatic or systemic malignant condition should not be treated with MLD.
MLD should not be used in cases of acute inflammation with infection caused by viruses, bacteria or foreign bodies. This includes infected wounds, the common cold, fever, acute sinusitis, urinary tract infections etc. MLD may exacerbate the symptoms and potentially spread the infecton. It is best to wait until after the acute infection is over or has been treated successfullly.
Acute allergic reactions. Once the acute reaction is over MLD can be very beneficial.
Recent Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) within the last 6 months due to the risk of an embolism.
Major heart problems incuding Congestive Heart Failure and Heart Attack. Increasing lymph flow may increase the cardiac load and increase pulmonary edema.
Cellulitis. An infection of the skin that is potentially life threatening.
There are some instances when MLD is safe and indicated but some modifications are made to the treatment like not working certain areas of the body or starting with shorter session times. It is important therefore, to let the therapist know of any existing medical conditions. Some conditions that require modification are: