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Breast Tissue One immensely beneficial application of vacuum manual therapy is with breast tissue. Mastectomy patients often suffer severe scarring and restrictions, phantom breast sensations, and pain, along with swelling—sometimes considerable—if nodes have been removed. With these patients, we use a large cup directly over the surgical site, and administer slow, gentle pumping suction to lift and separate the tissue to enable softening and elasticity. Many women have reported that phantom sensations decreased or disappeared with this treatment. This approach has also been used to create space for implants for women who were not good candidates for reconstruction. Painful expanders are often used to create the space for these implants, and a highly trained therapist can even work over some expanders to ease this discomfort. If lymph nodes have been removed, vacuum therapy can be used to open drainage pathways to multiple healthy node sites, giving the body the opportunity to direct and redistribute lymph from affected areas. Many women who use compression garments postsurgery have reported that they need them less frequently, or not at all, as a result of vacuum therapy. Lymphatic taping, using Kinesio tape or other similar options, works extremely well to complement the effects of vacuum therapy, and clients report it is much more comfortable than their compression sleeves. One surprise that has come from working on women with issues such as dense breast tissue is that many of them have informed us that their diagnosis changed after a few treatments. It makes sense that some dense breast tissue could actually be congestion due to lymphatic restrictions caused by tight or rigid bras. Remove the adhesions created by the bra, and use gentle pumping with the vacuum to begin liquefaction of the congestion. As with all lymphatic work, be sure to pre-clear the nodes before directing liquified lymph. REVOLUTIONARY PROGRESS The addition of vacuum manual therapy to our existing manual therapies will promote a marriage of health-care practices that can revolutionize modern medicine. Patients are recovering more fully and faster than ever, and the treatments are comfortable for them and the practitioner. Results are quickly apparent, which fits well with current expectations of modern medicine. Manual work that used to take months to achieve progress can now be done with fewer sessions, and referring doctors are thrilled with how this therapy enhances their work. Anita Shannon has been licensed in massage therapy and cosmetology since 1983, and an educator since 1990. She's presented workshops on ACE Massage Cupping and MediCupping internationally since developing these modalities in 2002, and has published multiple articles and educational videos on vacuum manual therapies. Shannon was inducted into the Massage Therapy Hall of Fame in 2011. For more information, visit C h e c k o u t A B M P 's l a t e s t n e w s a n d b l o g p o s t s . Av a i l a b l e a t w w w. a b m p . c o m . 71 Vacuum cupping can improve range of motion and address postsurgical adhesions for mastectomy patients, as shown here. Photos courtesy Anita Shannon.

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