ASTECC founder and Dr. Vodder instructor Anne Bramham has played an instrumental role in introducing MLD to the USA medical, esthetic and spa wellness industries. In 1995 Anne opened one of the first hospital based Lymphedema clinics in the USA at Boca Raton Community Hospital in South Florida. In 2001, in conjunction with the Dr. Vodder School, she developed the 90 hour Dr.Vodder Clinical Wellness curriculum. Below she discusses the range and application of MLD and it’s growing popularity in natural healing environments.

For years, Dr.Vodder’s MLD has been widely recognized as a treatment for lymphedema. It’s just recently that MLD has begun to appear on spa wellness menus. Could you comment on that?

Years ago when I opened an MLD clinic at a hospital only one of the staff’s oncologists had even heard of MLD. A few months later most of them were sending their patients to me. My feeling is this same dynamic is now taking root in spa and wellness. A growing number of physicians are realizing that MLD treatments can accelerate post surgical healing, spas are training their staffs and practitioners are discovering MLD’s therapeutic potential. MLD’s versatility…its ability to address a wide range of common lifestyle disorders is being embraced by both industries.

Why should a health/massage practitioner consider Dr. Vodder Clinical Wellness Certification?

From a career perspective, Clinical Wellness training effectively positions the practitioner as a specialist in an industry just beginning to embrace its therapeutic gifts. MLD naturally expands one’s scope of practice. It is effective, the results are gratifying and clients are grateful. Speaking on a personal level, I find the work both exciting and challenging. Each client, each case is different and the work engages you.

How have MLD treatments been integrated into the spa wellness experience?
Initially, MLD spa wellness treatments were largely focused on relaxation, rejuvenation and detoxification. As awareness has grown, so has MLD’s range of services and in the last few years it has grown to become a popular treatment for stress related disorders such as insomnia, headaches, digestive issues, minor sports injuries and common aches.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in introducing MLD to the spa wellness industry?
The success of Spa Montage Laguna Beach and The Grand Del Mar in San Diego  – two of the first properties to train their staff in Dr. Vodder’s Clinical Wellness – did a great deal to attract the attention of other properties. I fully expect MLD to play an important role in spa wellness as the industry moves forward.

As a therapist practicing in a spa wellness environment, did you have any difficulty transitioning your clients to MLD?
Most clients are open to guidance and if MLD were an appropriate treatment choice I never hesitated to recommend it. Clients want to be helped. I would describe the technique to my clients and explain how and why it worked. My clientele all had specific problems, MLD proved remarkably effective and the focus of my practice was changed forever.

How is MLD being used in the cosmetic surgery field?
Virtually all forms of cosmetic surgery cause temporary bruising, inflammation and loss of skin mobility and MLD excels in repairing traumatized tissue. By accelerating the removal of waste materials collected by the lymphatics, slowing down the sympathetic tonus and communicating with sensory impulses to induce relaxation, MLD ensures not only a faster recovery but a more comfortable one.

Do you have a favorite MLD case history you could share?
I have numerous case histories but one that may best illustrate the power and efficacy of MLD is about a client of mine who suffered a back injury and was confined to bed. Newly certified in MLD and not altogether confident, I first approached the problem with traditional methods – trigger point and neuromuscular – but after two sessions and little improvement, I decided to change my approach. I asked this gentleman if I could see him for five consecutive days. He agreed and the next day I began treating him with MLD. After the first session there was a noticeable improvement and the following morning when I met with him he had a question for me: Did MLD affect sleep? Each day he improved and each day he had another question: Did MLD affect breathing? Did MLD affect digestion? Blood pressure? At the end of five days he was sleeping better, his breathing was deeper, he no longer had any symptoms of acid reflux and his blood pressure was normal. He was up and walking…completely mobile. He was delighted. So was I. It was a great learning experience for me. I finally understood why MLD was called the “great normalizer”.

Why is MLD called “the great normalizer”?
Research indicates that by quieting the sympathetic nervous system, MLD induces a ‘relaxation response’ which, in turn, combats the effects of physical stress. My client’s backache, in effect, could very well have been a manifestation of stress as were his other symptoms. By restoring homeostasis the symptoms were relieved.

What are some of the career opportunities a certified Clinical Wellness therapist may be expected to pursue?
As a specialist in spa body and wellness the practitioner has the training, expertise and the flexibility to practice in a clinical, spa or a wellness setting. MLD has very few contraindications and numerous benefits, providing the therapist with a wide range of therapeutic applications.

How many hours is the Clinical Wellness Certification curriculum?
The curriculum is 90 hours and consists of 2 trainings: the 40 hour Basic Body and the 50 hour Clinical Wellness program.

Do you see MLD’s role expanding in a leisure spa environment?
Absolutely. The spa wellness industry is evolving. Today’s client is more discerning. They want relaxation but they also want value. MLD’s ability to effectively address a wide range of lifestyle disorders while providing deep, therapeutic relaxation affirms and validates this need.

“As a specialist, the practitioner has the training, expertise and the flexibility to practice in a spa, wellness or a rehabilitative setting. MLD has very few contraindications and numerous benefits, providing the therapist with a wide range of therapeutic applications.”