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Manual Lymph Drainage was developed by Dr. Emil Vodder and his wife Estrid during the years 1932-1936 while the couple was working in a physical therapy institute in France. At that time, they noticed a correlation between their patients presenting with nose, throat, sinus and ear infections as also having hard and swollen lymph nodes in the neck. Dr. Vodder began visualizing lymphatic vessels covering his patient’s nasal sinuses, he pictured cervical lymph node chains, hypothesized a drainage system for all the organs of the head and neck and considered obstruction of this drainage system as a potential cause for the ailments his patients were experiencing. Vodder went to work intuitively developing a gentle circular massage technique to unblock the drainage of lymph from the head and neck, a method that proved extremely successful, curing his first patient of their symptoms in 10 sessions with no side effects. Certain that the lymph had un-dreamt of healing powers, the Vodder’s went on to spend their life’s work developing their massage technique, researching the lymphatic system, documenting their practical application, training therapists and sharing their surprisingly positive results with the world.

At the time however, the world was not ready for their findings and the method was not accepted by the scientific community. Medically, the lymph system was not well understood, and the manual treatment of lymph nodes was frowned upon to say the least. It was common practice to surgically remove enlarged lymph nodes, and spleen and appendix surgeries were performed without consideration of the potential damage to the immune system, a hypothesis that these surgical procedures could harm the bodies defense system was later proven true. Over the years, Dr. Vodder and his wife continued their work, were eventually called upon to speak all throughout Europe and have trained thousands of therapists. They believed that the body should be treated as a whole, and were certain that the lymph fluid was the source of “miraculous hidden forces”. Science would later prove that the lymphocytes were not only responsible for producing antibodies to protect us against infection and viruses, but the lymphocyte nuclei contains our very life force, our DNA. Dr. Vodder’s intuition about the lymph system was indeed correct. Manual Lymph Drainage is now a world-renowned therapy and treating the lymphatic system is a common practice that can be applied to many conditions for effective and non-invasive relief.

The Vodder’s never stopped believing in the power of the lymphatic system and science has gone on to prove true their hypothesis’ in this regard. In so much of history, if it weren’t for the forward-thinking men and women staying true to their breakthrough findings even in the face of a criticism and non-acceptance, science and medicine and society would not enjoy the benefits of today. I myself am truly grateful to the Vodder’s as well the skilled and faithful teachers of the Dr. Vodder school. Without this method I would not be able to help my community in the way that I do, and I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to find myself in to this line of work. The lymphatic system is amazing and the Vodder’s principle of treating the body as a whole and supporting the lymphatic system has been the foundation of my practice ever since my first Vodder course.

~ Jana

Reference: Textbook of Dr. Vodder’s Manual Lymph Drainage

Gunther Wittlinger
Hildegard Wittlinger