What is Complete Decongestive Therapy?

What is Complete Decongestive Therapy?

The goal of Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) is to reduce swelling, improve symptoms, and enhance the overall quality of your life. 

There are four main parts to Complete Decongestive Therapy — manual lymphatic drainage (MLD), compression therapy, exercise, and skincare.

Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD), a specialized massage technique performed by trained therapists. It involves gentle, rhythmic movements that stimulate the lymphatic system, encouraging the drainage of excess fluid and waste products from the affected areas. By manually redirecting lymphatic flow, MLD helps alleviate swelling, promote circulation, and reduce discomfort.

Compression therapy is another key element of CDT involving the use of compression garments like SiennaWrap to support the affected limbs and maintain the reduction achieved through MLD. Compression garments apply external pressure to the tissues, helping to prevent fluid buildup and enhance venous and lymphatic drainage. 

Exercise is an essential component of CDT, as physical activity plays a crucial role in promoting lymphatic circulation and overall health. Patients are encouraged to engage in low-impact exercises that promote muscle movement and enhance lymphatic flow, such as walking, swimming, cycling, and gentle stretching. Regular exercise not only helps reduce swelling and improve mobility but also supports cardiovascular health and mental well-being.

Skincare is the final component of CDT, focusing on maintaining the health and integrity of the skin in areas affected by lymphedema. Patients are taught proper skincare techniques to prevent infections, minimize the risk of skin breakdown, and manage any existing wounds or complications. This may include keeping the skin clean and moisturized, avoiding trauma or injury to the affected areas, and promptly addressing any cuts, scratches, or infections.

CDT empowers patients to take control of their lymphedema and live fuller, more active lives. And by working closely with your team, you can receive the personalized care and support you need to stay on top of your care.