resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
Is the New Medicare Reporting Exemption Right for You?
What you've heard is not a rumor – there will be exemptions for providers of Medicare patients, with no penalties assessed for offices that do not do Quality Payment Program (EHR, PQRS, MACRA and MIPS) reporting.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
Women's Hormones: A Western & Eastern Perspective
Sometimes it may seem that you require a degree in medicine to understand hormones and how they function.
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
The Visual Error Scoring System: A Concussion Tool
Postural stability and oculomotor function are the most easily recognized physical indicators of neurologic motor dysfunction associated with concussions.
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
Clearing Blocks: A Way to Improve Cosmetic Acupuncture
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
February, 2016, Vol. 16, Issue 02
Evaluating the Use of Gas Discharge Visualization to Measure Massage Therapy Outcomes
By Massage Therapy Foundation Contributor
Contributed by Renee Stenbjorn MPA, LMT; April Neufeld LMT; Jolie Haun PhD, EdS, LMT
Massage therapy outcomes research is commonly conducted on individual systems of the body, such as the nervous, immune and cardiovascular systems.However, therapists often observe and report an observable effect of massage that impacts the whole person, represented by a general sense of relaxation or rejuvenation that recipients present after a massage. Research in a recent publication of the Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, published by one of our contributing reviewers, Jolie Haun and her colleagues, examined a potential method of evaluating massage therapy outcomes to capture these whole person outcomes using an innovative measure.
The physiological benefits of massage are well documented and, at this time, widely accepted by the public as well as the medical community. Some benefits of massage can be easily measured, such as effects on immune function and sleep patterns. These findings can be measured physiologically or with biomarkers such as immune cell counts, serotonin levels and electrocardiograms. The validity of these findings is considered valid as the measures have been reproduced across studies.
Subjective self-reporting measures are used to demonstrate outcomes such as decreases in stress and anxiety. While many massage studies rely on self-reporting questionnaires for these outcomes, some researchers in the field are seeking a more objectively measurable tool for evaluating changes in subjects receiving massage. This research study had several objectives: evaluating a specific tool to assess the energetic changes a client undergoes during a massage session; evaluating the physical, psychological and emotional effects of massage using standard self-reporting methods; and determining the correlation of gas discharge visualization (GDV) parameters with traditional self-reporting outcome measures. The researchers use the term "bioenergetics effects" to describe this change many experience as a result of the massage.
The researchers describe GDV measurement as a means of "electrophoton capture" (EPC) suggesting, "The GDV uses modern optics, electronics and computer processing for analyzing photon emissions stimulated by a pulsed electromagnetic field." The authors theorize that the energy emitted from a person can indicate the individual's bioenergetic field. Thus, it should be able to be measured and quantified. The theory is that the energy photons represent the dynamic bioenergy of the person and the image represents their energy field. The image is capturing the displacement of gas particles emitting from the subject, either from fingertips or a full body projection. It is theorized that the emissions represent the level and balance of energy flow in the meridians, but it is important to note that the authors state, "GDV measures are not very well defined regarding their meaning." Although this device is widely known to measure these discharge levels, the mechanism remains unclear.
The research question explored by these authors is whether or not the GDV imaging pre- and post-massage correlates with self-reported changes of the client's physical, emotional and energetic experience as a result of the massage to examine the feasibility of using such an innovative measure to evaluate whole person outcomes associated with massage. There were 23 research subjects and inclusion criteria focused on healthy subjects who had received massage in the past. Four massage therapists provided massage to participants, each with at least five years of professional experience and each therapist was trained in the Swedish protocol used in this study.
The GDV measurements were used as a dependent variable, i.e., did the measurements change in response to the massage the subjects received. The GDV measurements were taken from the fingertips of the subjects. Therefore, the massage did not include the hand to avoid the measurements being effected by application of lotion used in the treatment. GDV electrophotography was used to assess the bioenergetics whole person effects of massage therapy. The authors explain the 16 parameter measurements of the full-body assessment used in the study. Briefly, there are 16 areas of the body emitting photons and these are captured by the device then analyzed for strength and symmetry of signals.
Each subject was given one 50-minute full-body Swedish massage according to the protocol. The questionnaires and GDV measurements were taken before and after the massage. The subjects were asked to self-report items on Visual Analog Scales, including pain, muscle tension and stress at several time points, two before the massage and two after the massage. The data shows a statistically significant change in self-reported levels of pain, stress and muscle tensions and some quantitative changes in the bioenergetics field.
It is important to remember that the study was designed to assess the correlation between changes in the GDV measurements and the self-reported outcomes. It is widely accepted that massage changes self-reported levels of stress, pain and muscle tensions. As seen in many other studies, this is true in this study. This study aimed to see if an objective bio-marker measure correlated with the self-reported changes. Findings indicated the GDV bio-marker measures were significantly correlated with the self-reported change in measures.
The study examined 16 GDV measurements on each subject, looking at projections of energy from the right side of the body, left side of the body, etc. They also measured the symmetry of the projects between the right and left side of the body. Of these 16 measurements, the most significant finding was an increase in symmetry on the front of the body – theoretically representing a whole person measure of energetic symmetry. Some subjects showed an increase in energy on one side of the body, contributing to a more balanced field. Other subjects showed a decrease in energy on one side, also achieving more balance in the field. They suggest the increase in balance of the field demonstrates that some people need to relax during a massage while others need to experience rejuvenation. The authors state that this change in symmetry shows a positive finding for the potential use of GDV in future massage studies. The frontal symmetry measurement is one of 16 GDV measurements that were not significantly correlated. The measurements on this one field variable were mixed between increasing and decreasing energy projections.
The authors state the pilot study findings warrant further study of the use of GDV to measure massage outcomes and report common limitations with massage therapy studies, recommending future studies with larger randomized controlled trials to further explore the potential use of the GDV. If we can identify a valid method for evaluating the energetic changes people feel with massage, we can advance the science of massage research.
This research, though a small pilot study, has implications for research and practice. The validation of non-traditional biomarkers to evaluate the whole person effects of massage is not only needed, but can advance the science of massage therapy outcomes research. Although these findings warrant further investigation, much larger randomized controlled trials will be necessary to determine the role of GDV in measuring massage outcomes. This research also speaks to the observations that massage recipients often experience: individualized effects of massage that may result in relaxation or rejuvenation, depending on the person's need; and changes that impact not just individual bodily systems but the whole person.
If you are interested in learning more about the topic of research in massage, consider attending the International Massage Therapy Research Conference. It will be held in Seattle May 12-15, 2016. For more information, visit www.massagetherapyfoundation.org/research-conference/.
Case reports also play an important part in advancing the skills of massage therapy practitioners. The Massage Therapy Foundation Practitioner Case Report Contest is now open. The deadline to submit is October 3, 2016. For more information, visit www.massagetherapyfoundation.org/student-practitioner-case-report-contests/.
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