Pumping of the Upper Limb: A Critical Therapy Skill

By Dan Hellman

The next Soma Therapy course at H3 is Pumping of the Upper Limb and TMJ, January 24-26.  Let me tell you why pumping is a critical skill for any physical therapist or trainer.

An Osteopathic Technique

Pumping is an osteopathic technique that has been expanded and enriched by world-renowned French osteopath Guy VOYER, who has developed hundreds of pumping techniques for the body. 

Pumping is literally a means of moving the liquid in the body, particularly the liquid in the fascia, which surrounds all the body’s organs, glands, bones, nerves, muscles, ligaments and tendons.  We now know that all of the body’s fascia is connected. VOYER is fond of saying that the day the liquid stops moving in your body is the day you die. This important liquid can become stagnant in the course of daily living, but proper flow can be restored with the right therapy.

The Pumping of the Upper Limb and TMJ course focuses on the shoulder complex, elbow, wrist and temporormandibular joint, known as the TMJ, and students will learn more than 50 different pumping techniques that can help restore health to the upper limb and the TMJ.

Pumping for Inflammation

Pumping is extremely effective in managing the acute inflammatory process or stimulating healing in chronic cases.  Ice is only recommended for the first 12-24 hours; after that, ice has a harmful effect on the inflammation process.  Pumping reduces inflammation and promotes the healing process by moving stagnant fluid in the joints, promoting the inflammatory mediators.  Pumping also helps normalize the soft tissue (fascia) of the body, promotes proper biomechanics and decreases pain.

The shoulder is really five important joints.

The shoulder is composed of five important joints, with the scapulothoracic joint being the most important.  The scapula is a large sesamoid bone, and pumping of the scapula is a critical skill for all therapists who work with shoulder dysfunctions.  Shoulder issues are rare when the scapula functions properly.

Along with pumping of the scapula itself, the students will be exposed to the extreme importance of the falciform ligament and how to pump it.  I personally have helped resolve many shoulder issues with pumping of the scapula and falciform aloneThe falciform ligament (not to be confused with the falciform ligament of the liver) controls the pinch between the scapula and the collar bone.  That makes it a vital structure for proper mechanics of the shoulder.

Following in importance is the sternoclavicular joint, or SC.  The SC joint is the pivot of the shoulder, and the shoulder cannot function properly if the scapula and the SC joint aren’t working properly together. The result is almost certain injury.

The third important joint is the acromioclavicular joint, or AC. The AC joint functions as a lock and forms the bridge from collar bone to the arm itself.  The fourth and fifth joints of the shoulder are the glenohumeral joint and the sub-deltoid bursa.  Ironically, the glenohumeral joint is typically the only joint that gets attention in traditional rehab.  But in tensegrity biomechanics it falls much farther down the line.

Frozen Shoulder

One of the most common shoulder pathologies is frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis.  Frozen shoulder is typically an adhesion around the frenulum of the capsule.  Participants in the pumping course learn how to treat this part of the capsule by moving the liquid and, in laymen’s terms, unsticking the capsule.  Combine this with pumping of the scapula and most frozen-shoulder issues disappear in a very short amount of time.

Rotator Cuff Injuries

Whether treating rotator cuff tendinitis or minor tears, pumping helps with the inflammation and promotes the healing of the tear. 

Impingement Syndrome

Pumping works wonders for patients suffering with impingement syndrome.  Impingement syndrome occurs from faulty biomechanics, and pumping is the most powerful took I have found to restore the biomechanics of the shoulder joints. 

Sign up today.

If you are interested in attending Pumping of the Upper Limb and TMJ, there is still time The course begins at noon on January 24th and ends at 4 pm on January 26th  in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  Click here to sign up now. 

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