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Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) for horses with sweet itch

The Natural Way - specialized in itching and skin complaints and the natural treatment of horses with sweet itch, mud fever and CPL. 

In this blog series 'Alternative therapies for sweet itch' I would like to give the stage to experts who provide holistic support to horses with sweet itch.

In this article I let An Gybels from Equi Ikigai speak, manual lymphatic drainage therapist (MLD).

Manual lymphatic drainage treatment MLD to support horses with summer eczema and itching, natural treatment, - An Gybels - Equi Ikigai, The Natural Way Laura Cleirens, Summer eczema lotion

© An Gybels - Equi Ikigai

Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) for sweet itch

What is MLD?

Manual lymphatic drainage is a gentle massage technique that can provide support for various conditions involving the lymphatic system. The treatment provides relaxation and addresses the parasympathetic nervous system.
Our sympathetic nervous system ensures action and tension, the parasympathetic nervous system ensures rest and recovery.
In the parasympathetic state there is maximum room for an optimally functioning immune system, recovery and regeneration.

MLD stimulates the lymphatic system, which increases the drainage capacity by up to 75%, improves the removal of waste products and strengthens the immune system.

Function of MLD in itching and sweet itch

I deliberately say sweet itch and itching here because itching complaints are usually categorized as sweet itch, while there is actually something else at the root. For example, insulin resistance can also cause severe itching complaints.
With itching and sweet itch, the immune system actually responds to a normal stimulus, the bite of Culicoides mosquitoes (midges). A well-functioning immune system is a system that responds adequately to stimuli and invaders. The immune system springs into action, neutralizes the intruder AND must be disabled again afterwards.
Things often go wrong there and the immune system remains switched on.

An immune system that is constantly on costs the horse a lot of energy and nutrients. These nutrients are then no longer available for other essential matters such as the recovery of wounds, skin quality and detoxification.
MLD supports the immune system to function correctly and helps remove waste products.

Winter: time to make preparations

The function of MLD in the winter months is to make the horse “as clean as possible”. If we support and relieve the liver by offering specific vitamins and minerals, we can increase the detoxification capacity of the liver and it can begin to clear waste products according to its own wisdom and pace.
MLD then removes the waste, so you can enter the itching period with a clean slate and the damage caused by midges can be limited. With a clean and well-functioning lymphatic system, waste products are immediately removed and do not have to be stored in the liver. This relieves the liver. Because winter is often an itch-free period and the pressure on the horse's system is less high, it is the ideal period to ensure that discomfort in the summer season is minimal.

MLD during itching season

During the itching season you often have to deal with wounds. During this period, regular application of MLD will contribute to the recovery of wounds. The immune system is supported and waste products are removed.
After treatment, the horse is taped so that the treatment can continue and waste products are better removed.

The itching complaints are reduced in this way.

How do I proceed during an MLD treatment?

Prior to a first treatment, I send an intake form in which I extensively map the horse.
During a treatment, the horse receives manual lymphatic drainage for approximately 45 minutes. I will then apply tape to allow the treatment to continue. It is useful that the neck and area around the tail are clean and free of grease (anti-itch products!) and have not been treated with gloss spray, otherwise the tape will not stick.
During the first treatment, the horse also receives nutritional advice and possibly advice for using Gemmo therapy, which can further support the body.



Discover our 100 % natural Zomereczeem lotion, Mok olie, CPL olie, Natuur Shampoo and OERVOER (E-book) about healthy nutrition for itch-sensitive horses HERE.


This article was published on The Natural Way by
Laura Cleirens - 2022.01.17
Last updated: 2023.12.28

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