VitalStim Therapy Certification Course
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Private Course
Appropriate Disciplines:
• Speech Language Pathology
• Occupational Therapy
  • Course Description
  • Objectives
  • Instructors
  • Agenda
  • CEU's
  • Reviews
This is an ADULT FOCUSED COURSE. Click HERE for Pediatric Focus.
Scroll down for Re-Certification Information

This dynamic and innovative program is revolutionizing dysphagia therapy! Speech-Language Pathologists and Occupational Therapists will bring their facilities to a state-of-the-art-level with certification from this course. VitalStim® Therapy is the only FDA cleared treatment approach that successfully combines Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation and traditional dysphagia techniques. This energetic certification course will focus on topics such as muscle physiology, kinesiology of the swallowing mechanism and on pathological swallowing mechanisms and processes. The basic principles and concepts of neuromuscular electrical stimulation will be taught and the VitalStim® Therapy protocol will be extensively reviewed and practiced. The participants will receive one-on-one attention from two instructors, a certified SLP and a PT. Through extensive hands-on labs; attendees will apply the theory of neuromuscular electrical stimulation to the treatment of dysphagia. This exclusive program will provide participants with the building blocks to implement a successful VitalStim® Therapy program and will add value to therapists, facilities, and most of all patient care!

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Instructor Bios and Disclosures

NOTE: Successful completion of the pre-requisite online course MBS: The Clear Picture and the live, 2-day VitalStim® Therapy Certification Course will certify the participant to utilize VitalStim® technology in the treatment of dysphagia. DJO has developed and patented a licensed technology trademarked as VitalStim. Because there are no other similar products available, course offerings will only cover information that pertains to the effective and safe use of VitalStim.

This is an intermediate level course. Requirements for the course are as follows:
  • Successful completion of online anatomy and MBS review course (open link to right and print for details) MBS Course Instructions
  • Prior knowledge and experience in dysphagia management
  • Dysphagia as a significant portion of active caseload
  • SLP or OTR with current licensure in state of practice
  • SLP or OTR in compliance with state and national practice acts
Certification to provide VitalStim® Therapy will be awarded to those who:
  • Complete the written post-test.
  • Demonstrate the accurate practical application of VitalStim® Therapy
NOTE: If these criteria are not met at the course, additional opportunities to successfully complete the certification process will be available.

Course Pricing
$725 (Group - 10-24)
$625 (Group - 25-99)
$525 (Group - 100 or more)

The VitalStim Manual and the Primal Pictures Head & Neck CD will be issued at the live course.

The VitalStim® Certification Program includes the online course, MBS: The Clear Picture for 1.2 CEUs (12 contact hours) and the two day hands-on "VitalStim® Certification Course" for 1.6 CEUs (16 contact hours) for a total of 2.8 CEUs (28 contact hours).

Re-Certification Options
Live Re-Certification you can Re-Certify by attending the VitalStim course again (live, 2 day course only). 1.6 CEUs (16 contact hours) will be awarded for successful completion of course. Entire live course is required for this option. Select the date/city above and click register. Choose the price option labeled "Re-certification (no online MBS course required)" .
Online Re-Certification .

VitalStim is a registered trademark of VitalStim, LLC. Vital Stim
Course Objectives
Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to::
  • Name the anatomical structures relevant to the swallowing function
  • Palpate the structures mentioned under objective 1 that are accessible to palpation
  • Describe the various phases of the normal swallowing movement
  • Describe the neuro-physiological processes involved in normal swallowing, neural pathways controlling swallowing, positive and negative feedback occurring during swallowing
  • Discuss the psychological aspects involved with and their impact on swallowing
  • Describe the main pathological conditions affecting the swallowing function in both the adult and pediatric population
  • Interpret the results of a modified barium study
  • Describe the procedure/protocol to perform a standard MBS
  • Categorize the swallowing disorder based on the result of the evaluation
  • Describe the characteristics of electrical stimulation and the influence of electricity on muscle tissue
  • Identify the pathological conditions for which electrical stimulation is indicated
  • Describe the characteristics of the VitalStim® Therapy electrical stimulation unit and the electrodes used
  • Discuss and demonstrate the application of VitalStim® Therapy technology in the treatment of dysphagia
  • Discuss and demonstrate the use of swallowing exercise during and after the application of VitalStim® technology
  • Discuss the use of other interventions to maximize the impact of VitalStim Therapy
  • Discuss and demonstrate correct use of documentation forms
  • Demonstrate effective communication skills regarding VitalStim therapy with other members of the healthcare team

• Julie DeVahl , MS, PT
• Gina Gallo, MS CCC-SLP
• Joe Gallo, DSc, PT, ATC
• Penny Head, PT, SCS, ATC
• Tom Holland, PhD, PT
• John Kelly, MPT
• Susan Cole, MA CCC-SLP
• Charissa Moore, MA CCC-SLP
• Kathy Ramirez, OTR/L
• Jon Rose, M.S., PT, ATC
• Carole Roth, PhD, CCC-SLP, BC-NCD
• Mary Nylin, MA CCC-SLP
• Karin Mitchell, MA CCC-SLP
• Jodie Lujanschi, MS CCC-SLP
• Yorick Wijting, PT, DPT
• Jennifer Carter, M.Ed., CCC-SLP
Founder: Marcy Freed
Marcy Freed, M.A. CCC-SLP, has changed Dysphagia therapy with her medical breakthrough approach that combines traditional Dysphagia therapy with Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation. Marcy is the pioneer developer of VitalStim Technologies LLC and has 32 years experience specializing in voice and swallowing intervention. Marcy continues to treat patients from across the country successfully following her personal mission to "end dependence on tubes for nutrition!"

Certification Program Developer: Yorick Wijting PT, DPT
An internationally known speaker, Yorick Wijting brings a dedication to rehab across continents. Yorick was educated in the Netherlands where he received his degree in Physical Therapy. He has practiced physical therapy for more than 20 years in various care settings across Europe, South Africa and the United States. Yorick has extensive training and practical experience in electrotherapy and teaches nationally and internationally to medical professionals on the therapeutic use of electrotherapy. He has been instrumental in promoting and developing the use of electrical stimulation (VitalStim Therapy) by Speech and Language Pathologists in the treatment of dysphagia in the USA and in Europe. He currently lives in California and works with Empi as the Director of Clinical and Market Development, focusing primarily on VitalStim Therapy. In this role he promotes research initiatives, facilitates educational programs and assists in the development of new methodologies and applications for electrotherapy.

Certified VitalStim® Instructors: There will be at least two Certified VitalStim® Instructors for each course.

Click for Instructor Bios and Disclosures

The presenters in this program are contracted by CIAO. CIAO holds no proprietary interest with Empi, the manufacturer of the VitalStim device. Under this contract, each presenter is obligated to present material in an unbiased, scientific and educational manner. It is not to be assumed that any speaker is endorsing or promoting any product.

  Day 1
  07:30 - 08:00   Registration (Continental breakfast provided)
  08:00 - 10:00   Introduction, Program Overview, Swallowing physiology, anatomy, kinesiology, palpitation of head and neck structures (lab)
  10:00 - 10:15   Break
  10:15 - 12:00   Dysphagia: presentation, evaluation, treatment
  12:00 - 01:00   Lunch (on your own)
  01:00 - 02:30   Dysphagia: presentation, evaluation, treatment (cont.), Electrical stimulation: Basic theory
  02:30 - 02:45   Break
  02:45 - 05:00   Electrical stimulation: Basic theory (cont.), Electrical Stimulation for swallowing (lab)
  05:00 - 06:30   Written Exam

  Day 2
  07:00 - 07:30   Registration (Continental breakfast provided)
  07:30 - 08:30   Review of material day 1, Q&A
  08:30 - 09:30   Electrical stimulation for swallowing: theory
  09:30 - 09:45   Break
  09:45 - 11:30   Electrical Stimulation for swallowing (lab continued)
  11:30 - 12:30   Lunch
  12:30 - 03:15   Treatment progression, diet progression, case studies, integration
  03:15 - 03:45   VitalStim Resource Network, General Q&A

Contact hours pre-approved for:
  • 16 Hours (1.6 CEUs) SLPs
  • 16 Hours (1.6 CEUs) OTs
  • CIAO is an Approved Provider for ASHA #AAWA (SLPs)
  • This course is offered for 1.6 ASHA CEUs (Intermediate level, Professional area).
  • This course meets PDU requirements for NBCOT (16 PDUs)
  • CIAO is an Approved Provider for AOTA #4119 (OTs)
  • CIAO is authorized by IACET to offer 1.6 CEUs for this program.
  • CIAO is an IACET Approved Provider
  • Certified Providers will receive a total of 28.0 Contact Hours (with MBS Online Course)
  • VitalStim is approved by the CA Board of OT for Advanced Practice:
  • - 7.0 hrs Swallowing CABOT#25-S1
  • - 11.25 hrs Physical Agent Modalities CABOT#25-P4
CIAO is regognized on the NBCOT Provider Registry (meets PDU requirements for NBCOT)
The assignment of AOTA CEUs does not imply endorsement of specific course content, products, or clinical procedures by AOTA.
CIAO has been approved as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET), 1760 Old Meadow Road, Suite 500 McLean, VA 22102. In obtaining this approval, CIAO has demonstrated that it complies with the ANSI/IACET Standards which are widely recognized as standards of good practice internationally. As a result of their Authorized Provider membership status, CIAO is authorized to offer IACET CEUs for its programs that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Standards."
New Orleans - Metarie, LA   Feb 2015
The course was fantastic! I can not wait to benefit my pts at a greater level with this new information.
New Orleans - Metarie, LA   Feb 2015
Amazing! I gained not only more infor/knowledge about NMES but greater understanding of Dysphagia.
San Antonio, TX   Feb 2015
Phenomenal course! I learned so much!! Can't wait to apply what I have learned!!
Baltimore, MD   Feb 2015
I really enjoyed this course. Both presenters were very engaging while moving through a lot of info at an appropriate pace.
Atlanta, GA   Feb 2015
Amazing course! I would recommend the course to anyone even those who remain skeptical of NMES in treating dysphagia. There was a wealth of info!!
Nashville, TN   Jan 2015
This course was excellent! I learned so much and will use this knowledge everyday in my practice to better my patients lives.
Phoenix, AZ   Dec 2014
Great course! Learned so much. Thank you!
Tampa, FL   Nov 2014
I came to this seminar quite apprehensive and a bit stressed. Upon completion, I am now equipped with new knowledge and confidence - ready and eager to apply these skills! Loved this course! Excellent presenters.
Nashville, TN   Feb 2014
Especially liked cranial nerve review. Great info. Switching of speakers was helpful. Presenters answered all questions. Nice hotel/location.
Nashville, TN   Feb 2014
Wonderful intense, coursework. Labs were very helpful with direct feedback from presenters.
Houston, TX   Jan 2014
Great presenters. Thorough explanations helped understand the course material with ease. 100% satisfied.
Houston, TX   Jan 2014
Jodie rocked! Jodie for President! :) Love & appreciated how Jodie used her arms & hands as visual aids to help us learn structurs concepts for anatomy. Was blown away by both Jodie's & John's vast applied knowledge & how well they taught us. Liked having PT perspective. Lynus has the best contagious smile & energy! Thank you!!!
Tampa, FL   Dec 2013
I can apply what I've learned immediately in therapy.
Tampa, FL   Dec 2013
Great class! Fun, interesting, thorough and functionally applicable. Thank you!
St Louis, MO   Oct 2013
St Louis, MO   Oct 2013
A Lot of material in a very short amount time.
Richmond, VA   Sep 2013
Fantastic diagrams that helped facilitate a greater knowledge of muscles and placements!
Minneapolis, MN   Apr 2013
Course was very informative. I liked that case studies were presented as well as hypothetical patient cases - to help w/ application
Little Rock, AR   Mar 2013
Enjoyed the course. Presenters with excellent knowledge and teaching methods. Ready to put the VitalStim to use with patients.
Columbus, OH   Mar 2013
Excellent course- the best CEU course I have taken. I can’t wait to start using VitalStim in my practice.