Mastering Dr. Vodder’s Manual Lymphatic Drainage: A Journey of Patience and Precision


Dr. Vodder’s Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) has been, without a doubt, the most difficult modality I have ever learned. Trust me. These are not just my words …but the words of so many therapists I have trained over the years.  I have witnessed the struggle and the determination it takes to master a technique which feels utterly foreign to hands that have been trained in traditional touch modalities.

Why is it so difficult? Let me count the ways. 

First of all, Vodder’s MLD theory is rather complex – detailing the origin of lymph and its inter-dependent relationship with blood circulation  The language alone can be a challenge unless one is a medical student.

Secondly, the hands-on method requires a delicate light touch and release.  MLD practitioners learn to ride the skin the way a surfer rides the ocean waves. The release must be at a precise moment of the skin’s movement. 

 MLD is, for all purposes, a delicate form of artful touch. 

When I first began teaching MLD I thought I could make it simple.  As my husband often says if you want to make God laugh tell him your plans. I soon began to understand there is no simple way. All students struggle at first.

It’s a new process and it demands both patience and perseverance. 

And we, as teachers cannot do it for them.

What I have done and which I have found to be of enormous help is to put the theory online pre-training so incoming students have an understanding of the material and we are able to follow up in the practical workshop with active discussions should there be a need for further explanation.  

I believe it would be impossible to learn MLD without being shown and how meaningless it would be to practice MLD without understanding why it’s so remarkably effective.

At ASTECC we place a high demand on our students because we want our students to excel… be among the best.   Over the years I’ve had a number of students who had enrolled  in other schools prior to coming and learning from me including one of our current ASTECC instructors. 

I too, had learned another technique before I studied the Vodder method.

I too realized that once I had embodied this method I had gold in my hands.  

I had a technique that was nurturing, painless, artful, meditative and most of all delivered phenomenal results.

Take the direct route to learning true MLD or you can follow the pathway laid down by Dr. Emil Vodder.

As my mentor,  Professor Hildegard Wittlinger,  of  The Vodder School would say “be the best and ignore the rest”.

Student testimonial:

“ASTECC classes/courses have completely changed my practice.  I am treating the whole person now. The attention to detail, theory background (why we do what we do) is key to effectively mastering the modality and my clients’ experience the difference during treatments.   I am confident and well prepared to offer the modality learned immediately after attending class.”

– Lisa Cordia

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