Sponsored by Ace Massage Cupping and MediCupping
Chiropractic assistants have become an invaluable asset to any chiropractic practice.
While many perform administrative tasks, a large number also do manual therapies. Adding vacuum manual therapy (VMT) to existing medical massage services in your office can easily generate enough interest to create a busy and profitable resource for new patients.
VMT is fast, effective, and complementary to chiropractic techniques for common conditions such as chronic pain, scoliosis and other spinal issues, arthritis, plantar fasciitis, TMJD, headaches, injuries, and surgical recovery.
Treatments are done in a series once or twice each week. Sessions are short in duration and the techniques can be easily added into current medical massage protocols. Quality education is crucial to success with VMT, and the investment in training and equipment is low.
Benefits of vacuum manual therapy
You may have seen celebrities recently sporting their “cup marks” on the red carpet, and most recently at the 2016 Olympics. Traditional cupping therapies are very different from vacuum manual therapy, even though they both use similar tools. While we all have hands, a carpenter uses their hands very differently from a surgeon—same tool, different techniques. The vacuum is used just as a hand is used a manual therapy, but is negative pressure.
Negative pressure adds a whole new dimension as the vacuum and techniques combine as a deep and soothing approach to soft tissue manipulation. Scars disappear, ROM improves, tissue softens, and regains elasticity, lymph liquefies and moves, pain levels decrease, blood flow increases (helping move deep inflammation out of the tissues). Athletes benefit greatly from treatments incorporating VMT for injury recovery, as well as performance enhancement.
The combination of deep soft tissue release with structural alignment techniques produces a profound effect in many cases of scoliosis. While structural malformations will limit progress, scoliosis formed by compensatory habits, past injuries or trauma can respond very quickly to VMT. The most effective approach is a combination of chiropractic care, VMT and other manual therapies, and specific exercises that the patient can do at home.
Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition, and the quantity of remedies on the market indicates the large number of sufferers. VMT is used to reduce pain levels, increase flexion and extension of the toes and foot, as well as loosen and release soft tissue of the entire foot, leg, and hip. Powerful micro-cup magnets should be integrated into the treatment, and work at a deep level to shift tissue toward recovery.
Temporal mandibular joint dysfunction (TMJD)
VMT creates space in joints through suction, and one of the popular applications is TMJD. Using a bifurcated hose and two small glass flared cups, a pumping or gentle traction on the joint will decompress impinged nerves.
Work the vacuum with pumping or gliding techniques along the masseter, digastric, SCM, scalene, levator scapulae, splenius cervicus, and trapezius to release rigid muscles and fascia to address much of the soft tissue involvement. Treatment prior to chiropractic care produces amazing and cumulative results when the patient completes a personalized series of treatments.
Surgical preparation and recovery
VMT has been used prior to surgeries such as hip, knee, or shoulder replacements to prepare the lymph system and soft tissue for the procedure. When the referring physician has released the patient for treatment, the vacuum is used to clear any surgical debris from the area, keep scars soft and supple, and maintain blood flow for optimal cellular nutrition and natural healing agents. Many surgeons send their patients for VMT prior to surgery so that operating conditions are ideal, and post-surgery so patient recovery is quick and complete.
Breast health and surgical recovery
There are some remarkable additional applications that attract potential chiropractic patients, such as mastectomy and reconstruction patients. Women who have undergone these procedures suffer from excessive scar tissue, soft tissue contractures, and restrictions in movement and breathing, often compromising the structure of the spine as the body compensates.
VMT uses a gentle pumping mode to release and soften tissue. If a woman has opted to not go through reconstruction, these techniques are used to regain range of movement, reduce scar tissue, and assist with lymphatic congestion if nodes have been removed. VMT techniques were used successfully to create enough space for implants (without expanders) for two women who were told they could not get reconstructive surgery.
Many of the millions of women who have any kind of breast surgery do not realize the need for manual therapies and chiropractic care until they have been treated and experience the immediate benefits. VMT has been praised because it is powerful, yet gentle, and results are quickly observable. Word spreads quickly in the community when there is a successful remedy for the pain and discomfort that so often accompanies breast procedures.
Weight Loss, lymphatic congestion
One other fascinating application for VMT is weight loss and lymphatic issues. A great descriptive name for a common condition is solid bloat. This means that this person is bloated with congested lymph, which is not flowing for filtration and excretion. Some form of inflammation is almost always present, and the lymph simply dehydrates and collects. This can affect the entire body, or be localized over a joint or zone of the body.
VMT is used to create something called lymphatic liquefaction to liquefy the lymph and allow it to begin flowing to filtration and elimination. If the patient has weight issues that underlie the solid bloat, stimulating lymph flow may help boost metabolism. The loss of inches of congested lymph can also provide the much-needed boost to continue with weight loss practices.
There is a plethora of information available about cupping, especially because Michael Phelps proudly showed his marks at the Rio Olympics. Vacuum manual therapy is pure manual therapy for soft tissue and rarely leaves any discoloration because VMT techniques do not include stationary cupping. Information ranging from hidden secrets of cupping to quality articles and videos are a click away on your computer. Try choosing 3-6 different sources for a more complete view of the wide variety of ancient and modern techniques that use the familiar vacuum cup.
Anita Shannon has been licensed in massage therapy and cosmetology since 1983. An educator since 1990, she appears at national chiropractic, massage, and spa conventions and currently presents workshops on ACE Massage Cupping and MediCupping at international locations since developing these brands of bodywork in 2002. She has published multiple articles in Les Nouvelles Esthetiques, Massage Today, Massage & Bodywork and Massage Magazine and has created five educational videos on vacuum therapies. She was inducted into the Massage Therapy Hall of Fame in 2011.
About ACE Massage Cupping & MediCupping
TheraCupping, LLC does business as ACE Massage Cupping & MediCupping to provide training and equipment for vacuum manual therapies. The techniques and equipment can be used by hospitals and other medical professionals, CAM (complementary alternative medical) service providers, spas and massage therapy clinics, and the general public. The products range from professional vacuum machines to soft silicone cups for home use, and all equipment is supported with comprehensive educational videos, certification workshops, and online education.
Anita Shannon developed original techniques and published work on these unique ways to use vacuum cups, and much of this information has been replicated on websites all over the world. TheraCupping, LLC acted as an active force behind the re-emergence of vacuum therapies and cupping in healthcare, and continues to progress into the medical and home health care industries.
ACE (Advanced Continuing Education) techniques are based on a somatic approach to treatments that is clearly understood by both health care professionals and laypersons. Many other companies promote traditional uses from Traditional Chinese Medicine (and other traditional medical approaches) that utilize a vastly different system of evaluation and treatment. ACE is dedicated to teaching safe and highly effective techniques that utilize medical massage and manual and physical therapies as the foundation.