Please Check Credentials When Seeking a Lymphatic Drainage Therapist

One of the highlights of my work is seeing clients recover from nagging symptoms and health conditions they’ve been struggling with for years. Hence, Lymphatic Drainage Therapy is one of my favorite modalities to offer for those recovering from injuries, surgeries, swelling (edema), adverse reactions to medications, autoimmune disorders, and other inflammatory conditions.

I’m relieved that the medical industry is acknowledging the importance of supporting the lymphatic system after surgery, and are proactively beginning to recommend Lymphatic Drainage as a post recovery treatment. Some medical and orthopedic centers have even begun staffing their own Lymphatic Drainage Therapists, which is wonderful to see!  Finally our industry is beginning to receive a certain level of credibility in the healthcare arena. That being said, I’ve had several clients come to me after seeing a practitioner that claimed to be certified in Lymphatic Drainage, who was not, and who inherently made their condition worse.  One of the most important factors to understand about Lymphatic Drainage is that it is a methodical system that focuses on moving lymph fluid towards healthy lymphatic pathways to increase lymph flow, detoxification, and re-directing stagnant fluids from one pathway to another.  It is not a massage, albeit, most of the industry calls it that.

In many cases, practitioners that are not truly certified to perform Lymphatic Drainage, may move lymph fluid in places that are not optimal for the body. I’ve actually encountered a client that experienced chronic swelling for a year post surgery because the “Lymphatic Specialist” they went to moved the fluids towards the incision site.  My heart went out to this client after hearing what she had been through.  Luckily, after one treatment, we were able to re-map her lymph fluids in the right direction and her swelling went down significantly.

That incident (and several more that I’ve heard of since) is what encouraged me to write this blog.  I want to clarify that my goal here is not to terrify people of what could go wrong in a Lymphatic Drainage session, but to steer them in the right direction so their bodies can get the healing they need, especially after a big surgery.

Why Certification Matters (by Julia Morrow)

These 3 paragraphs were originally published on the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals website by authoer Julia Morrow.

I thought it was important to re-republish it:

“Many states have no legislative body to regulate who claims to do MLD, and often, untrained or undertrained individuals claim to practice this work. Some advertise a dangerous practice known as “incisional drainage” where the “therapist” illegally picks open the incisions of cosmetic surgery clients several days in a row, often starting the first day after surgery. They squeeze the client’s body roughly and painfully, pushing bloody fluid out through the incisions. Other “therapists” illegally pull out plastic drain tubes from inside the person’s body and/or perform needle aspirations of seromas. Many show these graphic procedures on YouTube and Instagram and never get caught.

Clients are bombarded with misinformation on social media channels and in patient support groups. What they need are top-trained, certified professionals assisting with their aftercare. There are only a couple of places in the US where you can receive cosmetic surgery-specific training in MLD. Cosmetic surgery-specific training is not required before working with these clients, but as an ethical practitioner, you will want the most training possible from an authorized source. Also, the compensation is quite high for certified MLD therapists (especially mobile therapists) working with this population.

There are only about 10 certifying schools in the US that are approved by the Lymphology Association of North America (LANA). All have online trainings and/or send teachers around the country to different cities.

The full article can be found here –

Where Did I Receive My Certifications?

I received my Manual Lymphatic Drainage certifications from the renowned Dr. Bruno’s Chikly Institute including Level I, II and Advanced LDT Applications for Chronic Fatigue, MS, and Fibromyalgia.  In my opinion, this is one of the best schools for teaching practitioners the optimal method for Manual Lymphatic Mapping and principles for re-routing. That being said, there are several other credible places where therapists can gain their credentials.  If you decide to seek this treatment, especially if you’re experiencing edema (swelling), I would recommend choosing a therapist that has received training in any of the following approved education providers, which are highly recommended in our industry.  Of course there are more out there, but it never hurts to do your research and know what to look for when seeking a certified Lymphatic Drainage Therapist.

Dr. Bruno’s Chikly Institute (great for pre and post surgery, detox, chronic fatigue, and numerous health issues) –


Dr. Vodder School (great for manual lymphatic drainage, decongestive therapy, and lymphedema treatment) –


Klose Training – (great for decongestive therapy and lymphedema management) –



Academy of Lymphatic Studies – (great for manual lymph drainage and lymphedema management) –



Norton School of Lymphatic Therapy  (great for lymphedema management)-

I hope this was helpful!