Jan Gray is the only Vodder-trained MLD therapist in the area

Call 07742 825941 for more information

or to arrange an appointment

with Jan Gray.

Human body diagram showing the various lymph nodes and ducts around the body
Jan Gray and Hildegarde Wittlinger

Jan Gray pictured with Hildegarde Wittlinger, co-founder of the Vodder Schule in Austria and trained by Dr Emil Vodder.

Manual Lymph Drainage (Dr Vodder original method) and Combined Decongestive Therapy 


What is Manual Lymph Drainage and who is Dr Vodder?

Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) began as a therapy in the 1930’s when Dr Emil Vodder and his wife Estrid were working as therapists in the South of France. They discovered that palpating the lymph nodes in the neck had a positive effect on the chronic coughs and colds suffered by their mostly British patients escaping from our damp British climate. 


The Vodders devoted their lives to perfecting and sharing their technique and knowledge and worked with many colleagues to deepen understanding and together develop effective treatments for problems of the lymphatic system.


The Vodders shared their original method with Hildegarde Wittlinger, who I was extremely privileged to train with at the Vodder Schule and clinic she set up with her husband in wonderful Walchsee, in Austria. 


Manual Lymph Drainage is a specialised therapy which stimulates the lymphatic system to remove excess waste and fluid from the body’s tissues. The therapist performs gentle and repetitive movements on the surface of the skin, which stretch and stimulate the skin and underlying superficial lymph vessels to contract and absorb lymph fluid. The lymph fluid enters the deeper lymphatic vessels and lymph nodes, where it is cleansed of dead cells, bacteria, dust and other metabolic waste products before being returned to the blood system.


Manual Lymph Drainage has a cumulative effect, so requires a course of treatments according to the condition and its severity. Dr Vodder recommended that everyone should have at least 15 treatments per year, just to keep the body ticking over healthily as a preventative measure.


What are the benefits of MLD?

Enhances well-being through maximising the potential of a healthy lymphatic system which can impact on the immune system.


Encourages deep relaxation and stress relief through its calming, rhythmic and repetitive hand movements.


Relieves fluid congestion for example in swollen ankles and legs sometimes experienced in pregnancy, or breast tenderness experienced pre-menstruation or when breast feeding.


Promotes the healing of sprains, strains, torn ligaments and fractures and can relieve pain. 

Can improve chronic complaints like sinusitis, tonsillitis, arthritis, headaches and migraines as well as lymphoedema and lipoedema. 


Can help clear the skin and offer relief from conditions like acne as well as enhance the healing of wounds, burns and scars, including scars from cosmetic surgery.


What is MLD with Combined Decongestive Therapy and who is it for?

Combined Decongestive Therapy  includes the benefits of compression, (bandages then compression socks, stockings or tights), along with daily skin care, deep breathing and appropriate exercise and relaxation together with Manual Lymph Drainage treatment. 


Who can it help? 

Potentially anyone with swelling - for example sprains or strains but especially chronic conditions such as Lymphoedema and Lipoedema which both cause swelling, often for no apparent or obvious reason.



Lymphoedema is swelling, known as oedema, in the tissues under the skin which does not clear with diuretics. It is caused by a damaged lymphatic system which can no longer drain the excess fluid. Lymphoedema can affect any part of the body, at any age, but is most common in the arms and legs.  Most lymphoedema is caused by an accident or trauma which may damage lymphatic  vessels and nodes. 


Lymphoedema may develop after cancer treatment which has included removal of lymph nodes, radiation therapy or surgery. Sometimes an arm or leg can just start to feel heavier, with no visible swelling, and it is ideal to pay attention to this and to get checked by a lymphoedema specialist at this early stage.


Swelling can also either stay or increase after any surgery, accident, burn or infection which could be caused by an insect bite. This can be a sign that the lymphatic system is no longer able to drain the excess fluid and needs some support.


Figures released in July 2014 suggest there are 20,000 Scots affected by lymphoedema. To quote the coverage on STV, “they have to get lymphoedema early when there’s about 1 or 2% swelling….”


LIPOEDEMA also causes swelling, but is a genetic fat disorder instead of a damaged lymphatic system. Lipoedema mostly occurs in women and can manifest at the highly hormonal stages of puberty, pregnancy and sometimes menopause. Lipoedema is also known as “painful fat syndrome,” because the swollen legs and/or upper arms, which are common to it, are sore to touch and bruise easily. 

Lipoedema  sufferers tend to have a slim waist and upper body, but wide hips and thicker, increasingly swelling legs, often bulging under the knee and overhanging at the ankle with no swelling in the feet. As the fat cells increase and press on the lymph vessels, they can be  compressed and damaged, resulting in swelling from lymphoedema too.  


Lipoedema can easily be mistaken for being overweight or obese, but it will not respond to dieting. 


The sooner lymphoedema and lipoedema are recognised and treated, the better!

What next?

I would be pleased to discuss how a course of Manual Lymph Drainage treatment may help you. Please call me on 07742 825941.