Massage for Lipedema and How it Helps

There are various conservative measures that can be used to manage and alleviate Lipedema symptoms. Wearing compression garments, following an anti-inflammatory or gluten free diet, vibration therapy and many more.

But, what about massage for Lipedema? Specialised massage called Manual Lymphatic Drainage, or MLD, can be carried out to manage Lipedema and prevent Lymphedema and varicose veins from developing.

In this blog, I will delve into the benefits and techniques of massage for Lipedema, offering insights for those seeking relief or considering it as part of their Lipedema treatment plan.

It’s vital to contact a medical professional before incorporating MLD into your routine.

What is Lipedema?

Lipedema is a chronic medical condition primarily affecting women, characterised by a symmetrical accumulation of fat, mainly in the legs and arms, often accompanied by pain, swelling and unexplained bruising.

Despite its widespread occurrence, it is said to affect 1 in every 11 women, many people remain unaware of it or confuse it with obesity or Lymphedema. It’s vital to distinguish Lipedema from these other conditions, as its management and therapeutic interventions can differ greatly.

Three stages of Lipedema

What is Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)?

MLD is a specific type of light massage for Lipedema that is used to stimulate lymphatic flow therefore working to reduce oedema (fluid build up). It is also successful at reducing pain and discomfort. This treatment not only helps alleviate the symptoms of Lipedema but also addresses the underlying causes, such as impaired lymphatic flow.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage is most effective when combined with other conservative treatments such as wearing compression garments or vibration therapy.

It is performed by trained therapists and it is essential that qualifications are checked before embarking on a course of treatment. Many women say it helps to reduce Lipedema pain and swelling, especially following surgical interventions.

Key Principles of MLD

MLD operates on several fundamental principles designed to activate the body’s lymphatic system, which is extremely important for women with Lipedema whose lymphatic system is impaired:

Activating the Lymphatic System: The lymphatic system, often regarded as the body’s ‘drainage system,’ helps remove waste, toxins, and excess fluids. MLD aims to stimulate this system, encouraging the natural flow of lymphatic fluid.
Stimulating Lymph Nodes: Lymph nodes, located throughout the body, act as filters, trapping bacteria, viruses, and waste products. MLD involves targeted techniques to stimulate these nodes, accelerating the filtration process and aiding the removal of waste and toxins.
Enhancing Fluid Circulation: Poor circulation can exacerbate the symptoms of Lipedema. MLD involves systematic and rhythmic hand movements to redirect lymphatic fluid towards the lymph nodes, reducing swelling and promoting healthier tissue.

In the context of Lipedema, MLD isn’t just any other massage. It’s a targeted therapy that addresses the underlying disruptions in the lymphatic system, offering relief and promoting optimal bodily function. The massage’s gentle nature ensures that it’s not only effective but also soothing, making it an ideal therapeutic choice for those battling the sensitivities of Lipedema.

Benefits of MLD for Lipedema Patients

Us lippy ladies often navigate a whole host of symptoms, ranging from pain to physical changes in our limbs. MLD offers a unique approach to address many of these challenges directly. Here’s a deeper look at the benefits MLD bring for Lipedema sufferers:

Pain Alleviation: One of the primary symptoms of Lipedema is pain and tenderness. MLD offers a gentle touch, which can significantly reduce pain in affected areas. The process stimulates the flow of lymphatic fluid, helping to decrease inflammation and ease the tension in the tissues.
• Reduced Swelling: Lipedema is characterised by swelling, due to fluid and fat buildup. MLD’s rhythmic motions encourage the flow of stagnant lymphatic fluid, helping to reduce the swelling associated with Lipedema. Regular sessions can lead to noticeable differences in limb size and comfort.
• Improved Skin Condition: The accumulation of fluid can lead to skin that feels tight, tender, or even hard. By facilitating waste removal and improving fluid dynamics, MLD promotes healthier and more resilient skin. Over time, patients may notice softer skin and a reduction in associated issues like bruising.
Enhanced Mobility: Swelling and pain can significantly reduce mobility. By addressing these symptoms, MLD indirectly promotes better movement. As pain subsides and swelling decreases, patients often find it easier to move, walk, or engage in daily physical activities, enhancing their overall quality of life.

In essence, MLD acts as a multi-pronged approach to the challenges presented by Lipedema. By targeting the root causes and alleviating symptoms, it stands as a beacon of hope for many who seek relief. The beauty of MLD is in its simplicity and effectiveness, offering not just physical benefits, but also emotional relief to those who struggle with the daily challenges and strain of Lipedema.

Massage for Lipedema pre and post surgery

For many women with Lipedema, surgical interventions, such as WAL Liposuction or other fat removal procedures, become a viable option to manage the condition. MLD plays an instrumental role both before and after these surgeries. Here’s a breakdown:


Preparing the Tissue for Surgical Intervention: Before any surgical procedure, it’s essential to prepare the body. MLD helps soften the tissue, ensuring that the surgical process is smoother. This preparation can lead to better results, as well-treated tissues respond better to surgical interventions
• Reducing Swelling to Optimise Surgical Results: By decreasing edema or swelling in the affected areas, MLD can allow surgeons to work more precisely. When the limb is less swollen, surgeons get a clearer view of the areas that require intervention, ensuring optimal fat removal and contouring.


Speeding Up Recovery by Reducing Post-Operative Swelling: After surgery, swelling is a common and expected side effect. MLD can accelerate the healing process by managing post-operative swelling, ensuring that the recovery is faster and more comfortable.
• Minimising the Risk of Complications: Proper lymphatic flow post-surgery can reduce the chances of complications like infections, seromas (fluid-filled pockets), or prolonged swelling. MLD aids in improving lymphatic flow, ensuring that the body efficiently removes waste products and reduces the risk of complications.
Enhancing Overall Results: By keeping the tissues healthy and promoting effective fluid movement, MLD can enhance the overall aesthetic and functional results of Lipedema liposuction surgeries. The limbs often appear more contoured, and patients may experience improved mobility and less discomfort as they heal.

Incorporating MLD into the surgical journey of a Lipedema patient can make a significant difference in both the healing journey and final outcome. It bridges the gap between traditional medical intervention and holistic therapy, ensuring that patients not only achieve their desired results but also heal as quickly and effectively as possible.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) Post Surgery

My Experience with Massage for Lipedema

As mentioned in my blog ‘Lipedema Liposuction Pre-Surgery Checklist’, it is a non negotiable requirement for surgery with Lipemedical that you book in for 1 post operative MLD massage every day for 10 days. They then recommend you continue having MLD massages when you return back to UK, for as long as possible.

I have already booked in for my sessions in Madrid at Alcala 126, this clinic has come highly recommended from Lipemedical and other women in the Lipedema community who’ve already had surgery. Many women on social media advocate for the power of MLD and how vital it is for healing post surgery.

Embracing MLD as Part of a Lipedema Treatment Plan

MLD stands as a testament to the blend of traditional and holistic approaches to health and healing. For Lipedema patients, it’s a symbol of hope, relief, and empowerment. If you decide to carry out massage for Lipedema, remember that every step taken is a move towards a healthier, more balanced, and more comfortable life. The journey of Lipedema care might have its challenges, but with tools like MLD, it’s one filled with promise and potential.

Disclaimer: My blogs talk about Lipedema, diet, surgery and much more. I’m talking from my point of view to help women, and remind them they are not alone. I am not a medical professional, so the content above is from my own perspective with research I have done into the topic. It’s not meant as medical advice, you should always consult your doctor or a specialist for both your diagnosis, and a treatment plan.

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