Video Course: MLD 1: Introduction to Manual Lymphatic Drainage

Nicola McGill

This course has closed captioning. Click "cc" on the video player to view.

Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is a gentle, rhythmic form of bodywork that enhances and supports the movement of fluid through the lymphatic system to support health and well-being. Developed by Danish therapists Emil and Estrid Vodder in the 1930s, MLD is now practiced extensively by health and wellness practitioners and is used within the medical community to treat lymphedema and post-surgical and post-traumatic edema. Join Nicola McGill in this engaging lecture-based course to learn the benefits, indications, and mechanics of this gentle, effective modality.

Learn MLD hands-on techniques from Nicola in the ABMP course, "Manual Lymphatic Drainage: Basic Techniques for the Neck and Face."

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Course Outline
  • Lymphatic system functions
  • Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) overview and history
  • Effects of MLD: improves interstitial fluid uptake, increases lymphangion activity, soothing effect, analgesic effect, redirects fluid around blockages
  • Lymph movement
  • Benefits: increases lymphatic flow, tissue recovery, analgesic effects, parasympathetic response, pain reduction, edema reduction
  • Indications: edema, musculoskeletal dysfunction, nervous system dysregulation, autoimmune disorders, stress and anxiety, sleep disorders, pregnancy edema, neuropathy, lyme disease, oncology
  • General contraindications: absolute and relative
  • Local contraindications
  • Techniques: stationary circle, pump technique, rotary technique, pressure phase, relaxation phase, frequency and duration
  • Diaphragmatic breathing
Learning Objectives

Having viewed the online massage therapy CE course, participants will be able to:

  • List the three functions of the lymphatic system.
  • List the benefits of the manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) modality.
  • List the indications for using MLD with a client.
  • Identify the contraindications for using MLD.
  • List the three techniques used in MLD.
  • Describe the mechanics of how the MLD techniques are used.
Nicola McGill

Nicola McGill, LLSA, LMT, BCTMB, CLT-LANA, has over 25 years of experience in the field of massage and bodywork both in the US and the UK. She is a Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) Certification Program instructor for Klose Training and Consulting. In her clinical practice, Nicola utilizes her skills as an aromatherapist, massage therapist, and MLD practitioner to treat a wide range of chronic and acute medical conditions including those related to the respiratory, digestive, musculo-skeletal, nervous, and reproductive systems. She is an oncology massage and lymphedema therapist at Boulder Community Hospital and a team member of the Boulder Cancer Survivorship Program at Avanti Therapy, where she provides lymphedema education and restorative and comfort-oriented bodywork treatments for individuals who are undergoing or have completed treatments for a cancer diagnosis. Learn more at and

Topics and Techniques

This online massage therapy CE course is available to you on demand to access, learn, and earn CE whenever and wherever it’s most convenient for you!


Visit the ABMP Education Center FAQ page for a full list of resources.

Q: Is this CE course approved by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) for CE credit?
A: Yes! All of the courses are approved under ABMP’s NCBTMB Approved Provider account (451086-09).

Q: How do I earn a CE certificate for this video-based course?
A: After you complete the webinar video, a quiz will appear on the page. Earn a CE certificate by scoring 70% or higher on the course quiz.

Q: Can I earn a CE certificate for this course more than once?
A: Learners can earn one CE certificate for each course.

Q: How do I access my CE certificates?
A: CE certificates are available on your “My CE Transcripts” page and on the course page. Visit your “My CE Transcript” page by clicking “My CE” on the navigation bar at the top of your screen.

Copyright Statement
All of the ABMP courses contain materials that are proprietary to ABMP. None of the course material may be used without the express written permission of ABMP. Materials may include, but are not limited to, video, audio, images, documents, and slides. Course materials are only for the use of students enrolled in this course and may not be shared publicly or shown to groups. Unauthorized retention, duplication, distribution, or modification of copyrighted materials is strictly prohibited by law. Check your state’s defined scope of practice for massage therapy before practicing any new modalities or techniques.


"I really like this instructor.  She is very versed and passionate about this modality."

"I have a better understanding of MLD and want to learn more now!"