resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Acupuncture Points: Broadening Our Scope and Diagnostic Work
As every practitioner knows, the correct diagnosis is everything. Most healing disciplines rely on the use of symptomatology for their treatment implementation. Beyond symptomatology, we have clinical tests to provide more objective findings.
Shoulder Rehab: Start With the Scapula
The scapula is an incredible display of elegance and movement within the biomechanics of human motion. It's evolved for mobility and stability in the scapulo-thoracic region, giving us the ability to do things that are uniquely human, such as throwing with accuracy.
An Opportunity & a Responsibility
Nearly 80 Americans die from an opioid-related overdose every day, and spine-related pain is one of the principle drivers of opioid use. This unfortunate situation creates both an opportunity and a responsibility.
Anti-Aging With Dr. Ping Zhang
Jennifer Waters, TCM practitioner and writer of the Acupuncture Today column, "Talking With the Masters" sat down with Dr. Ping Zhang to discuss aniti-aging with acupuncture.
We Get Letters & Email
Our Country Needs Us Between Elections, Too; Continuing Care: We Aren't There Yet; Our Associations Need to Do More.
True Practice Mobility for the Chiropractic Profession
When natural disasters occur, chiropractors can literally travel to the other side of the world to offer humanitarian relief in less than a day. The chiropractor's license to legally practice, however, can't make it past the state line.
Prepare for the End, From the Beginning: Wealth Building and Retirement with the Tao
Yin and yang flow into and out from one another continually. Beginnings become endings and endings become beginnings again. Wholeness and cycles are the nature of Tao.
A New Year and Vision for the ACA
Inadequate pain management coupled with the epidemic of prescription opioid overuse and abuse has taken a severe toll on the lives of millions of people in the United States. Every day, more than 1,000 people are treated in the ER for misusing prescription opioids.
The Acupuncture Channel System (Part 1)
The earliest Chinese reference to channels is in the Mawangdui Medical Manuscripts,1 which are dated to the Warring States period of the Zhou Dynasty (475 BC-221 AD). The text presents 11 channels. There are no acupuncture points listed in those channels.
A Conversation With Dr. Betty Edmond
This month's column is an exclusive interview with Betty Edmond MD, newly elected CEO/President of the AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine in Austin, Texas.
The winter season is upon us and offers unique challenges for the clinician and patient alike. To effectively navigate through the winter season there are two main TCM medicinals, Huang Qi and Gan Jiang, to consider, as well as two important formulas which feature these two TCM treasures.
Scar Reduction With Acupuncture & Microneedling (Part 2)
Protocols & treatment Timing
Let's Clear Up the Collection Confusion
This is an often-misunderstood practice swirling with misinformation. First, a few basics: Insurance is a contract between the patient and the insurance company. The insurance company is simply making a payment for services or care on behalf of the patient.
Nutrition for Menopause: Front-Line Therapy for All Phases
Of all the changes women experience during their reproductive life, there is no doubt the most dreaded are the three phases of menopause. This is not surprising since all of the symptoms associated with menopause are replete with unpleasantness.
Low Back Pain in Running Athletes
After 7 million years of adapting to upright postures, the lumbar spine and pelvis have become remarkably adept at managing ground-reactive forces associated with running.
Five Branches University Has First Hospital TCM Residency
Established in 1984, Five Branches University (FBU) has campuses in Santa Cruz and San Jose, Calif., which serve the communities of Santa Cruz, the Monterey Bay, and Silicon Valley.
The Case Report: A Valuable Tool
Case reports are a valuable form of descriptive research. The most basic form of practice-based research, a case report is a detailed account of the history, presenting symptoms, assessment, observations, treatment and follow-up of an individual patient, discussed in the context of prior and potential future research.
Crow Like the Rooster
As we welcome in the Year of the Rooster, we look at some of its major characteristics: confidence and communication, which suits the image we have of the Rooster...strutting in the farmyard, crowing to the others that it's time to wake up.
Qigong for Substance Abuse
It is commonly believed that substance abuse, in addition to harming one’s physiological state, hurts the spirit. There is also a belief that one’s spirit does not weaken due to substance abuse, but rather, the person finds solace in addiction due to an already weak spirit.
News in Brief
Updated Neck Pain & Whiplash Guideline; Attention, IHS DCs; New VP of Institutional Advancement At Palmer; N.J. DC Interns At U.S. Olympic Training Center; Chiropractic Society Of R.I. On The Front Lines.
An Education in Gluten Sensitivity
A relatively new syndrome officially documented as non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) or gluten sensitivity (GS) was officially recognized and published in the new list of gluten-related disorders in 2012.
Flirting With Alternative Therapies
There are about as many adjunct therapies being marketed to acupuncturists as there are acupuncturists. While some may remain purist in their application of traditional Chinese medicine, others choose to explore new horizons of treatment.
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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