Vacuum manual therapy (VMT) is a fast and effective addition to manual therapy techniques for common conditions such as chronic pain,

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Massage Therapy has become an invaluable asset as a complementary allied medicine approach to wellness and common health issues. Adding vacuum manual therapy to existing services will easily generate abundant interest to create a busy and profitable resource for new clients.

Vacuum manual therapy (VMT) is a fast and effective addition to manual therapy 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 protocols. Quality education is crucial to success with VMT, and the investment in training and equipment is low.

Benefits of Vacuum Manual Therapy

We have all seen the celebrities sporting their cup marks on the red carpet, most recently on the 2016 Olympics coverage and in a rather pathetic presentation on Good Morning America in May 2017. Traditional cupping therapies are very different from vacuum manual therapy, even though they both use similar tools.

We all have hands, but 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, and blood flow increases to help move deep inflammation out of the tissues. Athletes benefit greatly from treatments incorporating VMT for injury recovery, as well as performance enhancement.

Effects on Fascia

The combination of deep soft tissue release with structural alignment techniques produces profound effects in the fascia. While structural malformations will limit progress, structural issues formed by compensatory habits, past injuries or trauma can respond very quickly to VMT.

One has only to view the astounding video from France called Strolling Under the Skin to see the masterpiece of design that is the fascia. Long threads with lubricating droplets connect soft tissue and cover soft and bony structures, and it becomes so evident that this tissue can easily become bound down by a trauma, chronic inflammation, dehydration or chronic compression. This will restrict movement of blood and lymph flow, along with movement of muscular structures and joint articulations.

The vacuum is used to gently open the space up between these strands and move residue from trauma and compression. Increased blood flow to the skin aids the body in eliminating residual inflammation that dehydrates the soft tissue and fascia.

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.

Effects on Lymph


Another application for VMT is lymphatic drainage issues. VMT is used to create something called lymphatic liquefaction to liquefy the lymph and allow it to begin flowing to filtration and elimination.

A great descriptive name for a common condition is solid bloat. This means that a 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.

People will diet and exercise, but if the restriction in the fascia or the inflammation in the bony and soft issues is not shifted, the congestion will continue to build and restrict movement, blood flow, and elimination of tissue wastes. This can lead to degenerative disorders and inflammatory disorders in the body.

If the patient has weight issues that underlie solid bloat, stimulating lymph flow can help boost metabolism. The loss of inches of congested lymph can also provide the much-needed boost to continue with weight loss practices

VMT has also 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-Lymph and Restrictions

Women who have undergone breast surgeries often suffer restrictions in movement and lymph flow from excessive scar tissue, soft tissue contractures, sometimes creating restrictions in breathing. VMT uses a gentle pumping mode with large cone-shaped cups to release and soften tissue to regain range of movement, reduce scar tissue and assist with lymphatic congestion, especially if nodes have been removed.

Many of the millions of women who have any kind of breast surgery do not realize the need for manual therapies for healthy breast care until they have been treated and experience the immediate benefits. The pumping vacuum mode is similar to a breast pump, and stimulates the lymph flow in the breast.

Women with the diagnosis of dense breast tissue reported that the tissue felt much lighter, and a few of them reported a positive change in their diagnosis with their next mammogram or thermogram.

VMT for breast health has been praised because it is powerful, yet gentle, and results are quickly observable. Word spreads quickly in your community when there is a successful remedy for the pain and discomfort that so often accompanies breast procedures and conditions.

Education Yourself on VMT

There is a plethora of information available about cupping, especially since Olympian Michael Phelps proudly showed his marks in August 2016. 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.

About the Author

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.

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.