Intermittent vacuum therapy

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Intermittent vacuum therapy

The intermittent vacuum therapy (IVT) is a treatment conducted in case of venous and arterial issues as well as in rehabilitation (after sports injuries[1] and vascular complaints). With the aid of normal and low pressure, it should enable to control venous reflux, enhance lymphatic flow[2] and improve blood flow in periphery and muscles.


The IVT treatment device consists of a cylindrical space in which the lower body of a lying patient (up until the ribs) is enclosed and affected. The legs are fully comprised. In the waist region, the inner space of the device is sealed by means of a lens. Within the cubicle, a vacuum pump alternatingly generates intermittent normal and low pressure (-20 until -70 mbar). The devices are declared medical devices (Class IIa. CE 0123).

Mode of operation[edit]

Through the generation of low pressure, blood circulation within the lower body parts and the abdomen is encouraged, meaning that arterial perfusion is stimulated.[3] This blood flow leads to a reduction of hypertension within the central line, stroke volume, cardiac output and eventually to a reduction of the arterial blood flow which is counteracted through the compensation mechanisms.[4] As a reaction to this change, pulse and peripheral vascular resistance are enhanced. In addition, shearforces are effective[5] and the sympathetic answer of the heart is activated. Blood volume is adapted to the change of pressure within the lower part of the body.[6] The flow of oxygenized blood within the legs and lower extremities is encouraged and enhanced through the changed conditions of normal and low pressure. During the phase of normal pressure, the backflow of venous blood and lymph within the large vessels is facilitated. Through that, the IVT has a strong physiological effect on the “removal of lymphatic waste products”,[7] in other words a lymphatic drainage takes place. The related raise in pH value often entails a strengthening of the connective tissue, leading to an increase of collagen synthesis as well as to improved fat reduction.[8]

The treatment was developed on basis of the LBNPD-method of the NASA[9] (lower body negative pressure device). In 1999, the development of the intermittent variant of the LBNPD started as a neurolab research project at the institute of aerospace medicine of the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) in Cologne.


The average treatment duration, according to indication, amounts to 4 to > 10 applications (30–45 minutes). There are numerous indications for the intermittent vacuum therapy, however you still find a great need for research since findings are not always distinct enough. Indications are amongst others: Connective tissue weakness, overacidification,[10] cellulite and spider veins, injuries (e.g. bruises or sports injuries[11]), vascular diseases, oedemata and ulcers.[12] Further indications which are already treated in the Netherlands are RSI syndrome, CTS (carpal tunnel syndrome), CRPS and the Raynaud syndrome.[13] No blindstudies available.


Negative effects could not be detected until now. Nevertheless, the IVT should not be conducted in case of acute injuries such as phlebothrombosis, thrombophlebitis, infections or pregnancy.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dong, Hui Hui; Gao, Bing Hong; Zhu, Huan; Yang, Sheng Tao (February 2019). "[The effects of lower limb intermittent negative pressure therapy on the skin microcirculation perfusion of quadriceps in male rowers]". Zhongguo Ying Yong Sheng Li Xue Za Zhi = Zhongguo Yingyong Shenglixue Zazhi = Chinese Journal of Applied Physiology. 35 (2): 126–129. doi:10.12047/j.cjap.5727.2019.028. ISSN 1000-6834. PMID 31250602.
  2. ^ Campisi, C. C.; Ryn, M.; Campisi, C. S.; Di Summa, P.; Boccardo, F.; Campisi, C. (December 2015). "Intermittent Negative Pressure Therapy in the Combined Treatment of Peripheral Lymphedema". Lymphology. 48 (4): 197–204. ISSN 0024-7766. PMID 27164765.
  3. ^ "Intermittent Negative Pressure Therapy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 September 2012. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  4. ^ Orletskiy & Timtschenko, 2009 / Ben T. A. Esch, Jessica M. Scott and Darren E. R. Warburton, 2007
  5. ^ Thijssen, Dick H. J.; Atkinson, Ceri L.; Ono, Kumiko; Sprung, Victoria S.; Spence, Angela L.; Pugh, Christopher J. A.; Green, Daniel J. (2014-05-15). "Sympathetic nervous system activation, arterial shear rate, and flow-mediated dilation". Journal of Applied Physiology. 116 (10): 1300–1307. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00110.2014. ISSN 1522-1601. PMID 24699856.
  6. ^ Orletskiy & Timtschenko, 2009
  7. ^ "Die intermittierende Vakuum-Therapie zur Behandlung von Sportlern". Archived from the original on 21 June 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
  8. ^ Löberbauer-Purer, Elisabeth; Meyer, Nanna L.; Ring-Dimitriou, Susanne; Haudum, Judith; Kässmann, Helmut; Müller, Erich (May 2012). "Can alternating lower body negative and positive pressure during exercise alter regional body fat distribution or skin appearance?". European Journal of Applied Physiology. 112 (5): 1861–1871. doi:10.1007/s00421-011-2147-1. PMID 21922264. S2CID 2578811.
  9. ^ "Lower Body Negative Pressure". Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  10. ^ Fonda, Borut; Sarabon, Nejc (July 2015). "Effects of intermittent lower-body negative pressure on recovery after exercise-induced muscle damage". International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance. 10 (5): 581–586. doi:10.1123/ijspp.2014-0311. ISSN 1555-0265. PMID 25473823.
  11. ^ Beyzadeoğlu, Prof Dr Tahsin; Yildirim, Dr Kerem (2021-05-31). "Intermittent Vacuum Therapy after ACL Surgery". Sportärztezeitung (in German). Retrieved 2021-11-10.
  12. ^ Tuganbekov, Т; Ashimov, N.; Saipiyeva, D. (April 4, 2021). "Experience in the application of interval vacuum therapy with Vacumed device in complex treatment of lower extremity trophic ulcers" (PDF). Retrieved November 10, 2021.
  13. ^ "Vacuümtherapie - Een bewezen RSI-behandelmethode". Archived from the original on 2013-11-12. Retrieved 2013-11-12.

Further reading[edit]