Ever since VitalStim was launched as a treatment for swallowing difficulty in 2003, it has steadily increased in popularity because of the improvements in swallowing function patients and speech pathologists have seen with its use.
Electrical stimulation is a tool that can be added to traditional swallowing therapy to make the therapy more effective. VitalStim is a type of electrical stimulation which was specifically developed for swallowing therapy. VitalStim works by making more muscle fibers contract during exercise which can help a patient recover swallowing function faster.
Jen Carter worked as a clinical specialist for VitalStim for several years before opening her swallowing therapy clinic in Denver. During that time she traveled around the country teaching speech pathologists about the best way to use this treatment tool. Currently, in addition running her swallowing therapy clinic, she also teaches the VitalStim Certification course on weekends.
There has been extensive research on the use of this tool in swallowing therapy. A summary of this research is available from CIAO Seminars: VitalStim research summary March2017