The Biber Protocol® & VitalStim®: A Comparison

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Apples to Oranges

The Biber Protocol® and VitalStim® are fundamentally different. The only similarity between the two protocols is that they both use electrical stimulation to treat dysphagia. However that does not mean that one is right and the other is wrong, it's much more complicated than that. There are a multitudes of differences between the two protocols in philosophy, methodology and practicality. In a free market economy, those differences provide useful alternatives for both the patient and the clinician. A well informed choice is always better than no choice. The following represents some of the more global differences between The Biber Protocol® and VitalStim®. 

Difference # 1 NMES vs TENS derivitave

The Biber Protocol® is based on a true NMES protocol for small muscle groups which can be externally validated by a multitude of sources in electrotherapy. The VitalStim Protocol is an independent protocol based on a unique array of parameters and placement that was developed by the founder Marcy Freed based on her personal experience with a TENS protocol following a runner's injury. 


Difference # 2 Open Access vs Exclusivity

The Biber Protocol® can be used with any standard NMES device as long as you have an option to customize the parameters and you have the proper knowledge and training. VitalStim maintains exclusivity over their device, their electrodes and their teaching without exception.

Diference # 3 Electrode Placement

The Biber Protocol® uses two electrodes in a singular electrode placement, which is in the submental region; specifically stimulating the suprahyoid muscles for eliciting hyolaryngeal excursion. The VS Protocol teaches an array of placements all over the anterior neck often using four electrodes. 

Difference # 4 Treatment Time

The Biber Protocol® can be performed in 15-30 minutes. The VS Protocol requires 1 hour.

Difference # 5 Patient Access

The Biber Protocol® has been successfully taught to hundreds of caregivers and patients to perform as many treatments as needed for as long as needed in the privacy and luxury of their own home. The VS Protocol can only be performed by a VS trained therapist.

Click here for the science behind the Biber Protocol®