Equine MLD (EMLD) is Equine Manual Lymphatic Drainage. It is a method of manually stimulating the horse’s lymphatic system through a highly skilled and precise manipulation of the skin. It uses a range of specialised techniques to stimulate the flow of lymph. Lymph is the fluid that circulates throughout the lymphatic system.It is formed when the'interstitial' or 'tissue fluid' ( the fluid in which all cells in the body lie ) is collected through the lymphatic capillaries.
The lymphatic system is the body’s ‘waste disposal' system which consists of a network of lymph vessels, lymph nodes and lymphatic organs that help drain the body of proteins, toxins, waste and other unwanted materials. The lymphatic system has an important immunological function as a defence mechanism for the body as well as maintaining 'homeostasis' or equilibrium of fluid within the tissues.
While humans respond well to MLD, horses tend to respond much better due to their having a much thinner sub-cutaneous layer. Horses have the highest number of lymph nodes of any known animal (appox.8000) whereas humans only have around 600. As lymphatic fluid slows down as it enters a lymph node, there are a greater number of potential bottlenecks which can reduce the rate of lymph flow.
MLD therapy has been established for decades in the treatment of a wide variety of medical conditions. MLD is the most prescribed physical therapy modality in Germany. Developed in Germany, Equine MLD is slowly gaining a foothold in veterinary medicine and becoming a popular treatment modality for performance horses on the continent. Correctly applied, EMLD has no side-effects. Horses tolerate the treatment very well, even when painful areas are touched. EMLD does not contravene anti-doping regulations, an advantage which should not be underestimated as it permits treatment of sport and racehorses at any time.