Industry regulation

Incisional Massage has never been “a thing” in this country but has quickly become confused with “lymphatic drainage massage.”

History lesson

In Carribean countries during the 80s, plastic surgery started to become as popular there as in the states. A more savage style of post operative tradition that was performed at the end of every procedure was elicited after each procedure where one nurse would hoist a patient up under their right side, another under their left as one massage nurse would strip straight down anteriorly and posteriorly, manually expelling fluid out of their still open incisions. This style spread throughout Carribean countries, eventually making its way to Southern Miami.

One specific provider brought this style of massage with her from Venezuela, and after becoming licensed in the country for Swedish Massage, she opted to include her Carribean traditions with modern medicine and Swedish techniques.

Initially, no surgeon was interested in the hybrid treatments, but one surgeon was open to seeing the end results and allowed her to use his office when he wasn’t there to work on a few of his clients. They quickly noted how much faster clients were healing with better results. Clients were able to move better, achieving mobility and better quality/integrity of skin with the inclusion of the Carribean treatments. Other surgeons began to ask her to work on their clients as well. The provider asked for standard, equal pay of which the surgical staff declined. She left and went to another surgical center in Miami.

A similar experience happened and the provider eventually left, starting her own practice. However, every surgery center she left brought in other Carribean providers to do for pennies on the dollar the same treatments. As the trend grew, the wording and nomenclature became distorted as the Carribean style was dubbed “Manual Lymphatic Drainage”. The providers were pushing fluid out of open holes… this fluid was called “lymph”… they were draining lymph out of open holes… they were manually moving… manually draining… massaging lymph, manually draining it out of incisions… the treatment style quickly started to be called “MANUAL LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE MASSAGE” or “MLD” and/or “Lymphatic Massage”. This misspeak and missnaming spread like crazy through the south and eventually through the entire Surgery Community. Unbeknownst to them (and everyone that has never sat through an MLD training program) …MANUAL LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE WAS ALREADY A THING!

It was discovered, coined, and claimed by Emil Vodder and his wife when they stumbled across it in 1931.

Imagine creating something, teaching it and spreading the information to others. And then almost 80years later, someone from another country pops up and creates something totally different… but calls it the same name as your preclaimed and prenamed concept. Confusing right? Well that’s exactly what happened.

Pushing or manually expelling fluid out of open incisions is called “Incisional Manipulation”.

Please STOP calling this modality “Manual Lymphatic Drainage”.