Manual therapy uses vacuum cups and specific techniques to relieve pain along with those compensatory patterns no matter how old the injury may be.

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Old injuries, chronic conditions and repetitive movement patterns often comprise a large amount of a massage therapy practice.

Compensatory patterns develop and enable to dysfunction to spread, creating pain and limitations in life.

Manual therapy uses vacuum cups and specific techniques to relieve pain and restriction, along with those compensatory patterns—no matter how old the injury may be.

PH of Injury, Chronic Conditions and Repetitive Movement

The body responds to injury via the neurohormonal and immune systems. The tissue shifts from a healthy alkaline PH to an acidic one, in order for the body to send chemicals via blood and lymph to address pain and other factors.

The area fills with lymph and the inflammatory response kicks in. This is a normal part of the healing process.

The biggest challenge is allowing the injury to fully recover. People often let it heal, wrap it up and get back to life’s activities as soon as possible. The tissue stays in the acidic PH and that becomes the new “normal” for that part of the body.

Chronic conditions such as diabetes and arthritis mimic this pattern. And the longer the condition is present, the more likely it is to become systemic as other areas are affected. Repetitive movement is also similar in that it is simply an injury created over a long time.

For recent injuries or conditions, vacuum manual therapy is used to assist the body through the healing and recovery process to prevent long-term acidic and inflammatory issues, along with compensatory patterns.

Understanding the Tools for Healing

A truly effective tool used to shift the PH and break the pattern of the tissue are negative pole magnets. The negative pole is used to shift the charge and PH of the tissue, so the body will release the cycle and release the protective mode it has adopted.

This is a bit similar to the body’s reaction to rapid weight loss where it lowers the metabolism. Even when the person starts eating a higher caloric value, the body will not easily adjust the metabolism out of starvation mode.

There are wonderful sets of tools that feature a very strong magnet in a small micro-cup. These can easily be applied and left in place for about two to three minutes prior to using a vacuum cup with slow pumping or gliding movements to move the congestion out of the area.

These magnets are also very effective to relieve acidic or inflammatory conditions and pain associated with arthritis and diabetes.

Manual therapy movements using glass, silicone or polycarbonate vacuum cups create space in the fascia to encourage full range of movement, soften scar tissue to ease restrictions in lymph and blood flow and encourage drainage of fluids and debris.

Conditions Addressed with Vacuum Manual Therapy

Congested lymph: Congestion is usually old lymph that thickened from dehydration associated with inflammation. The vacuum creates vasodilation and uses that heat to liquefy the lymph so it can flow.

The vacuum is also effective at opening up space for the lymph to flow and stimulating the lymphatic system when pumping movements are used. This thick debris that is trapped at the site restricts movement and flow of blood and lymph from areas distal to the site.

Trapped blood: Congestion can also be blood from an old injury or micro-tears in the tissue associated with recurring movement patterns. Athletes suffer quite a bit from this issue, with tissue congestion interfering with normal contraction and elongation of the muscle fibers.

This is the situation where a discoloration can occur under the cup, even at it is moved. The vacuum liberates the old blood, which can then be carried away and eliminated. Darker discoloration often indicates older blood deposits.

The main reason you do not want to place the cups and let them sit in place longer than 3 minutes, especially on athletes, is to prevent the blood congestion from getting stuck in the dermal tissues and lymphatic terminations. The best method is to move the debris out slowly and with movement toward pre-cleared lymph nodes.

Scar tissue: Scar tissue is another condition that creates restriction and traps congestion while limiting blood and lymph flow, along with affecting movement. There are many types of scar tissue, and knowledge of them is the key to successful treatment. Overstimulation of hypertrophic scar tissue can result in more tissue formation, while gentle work can result in significant changes in appearance and flexibility.

Use a large cup first to visually identify any adhesions that may attach deep into the tissue and bony structures. Then loosen the adhesions with gentle pumping and rolling rotations with the cup. Use a smaller cup that fits the size of the scar and begin with pumping movements to soften rigid tissue.

Once congested lymph and old blood is softened and liquefied, it can be drained through the newly created space around the scar and toward the appropriate pre-cleared nodes.

A Fast and Effective Rehab Method

Vacuum manual therapy is used to affect the major components of dysfunction such as inflammation, pain, nervous system imbalances, restrictions, hydration and congestion. Injury recovery, chronic conditions and repetitive movement issues can be broken down into these factors to create a customized protocol for each person.

Adding vacuum manual therapy techniques into a larger treatment system that includes other great techniques, products and professional referrals produces results that positively affect quality of life.
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.