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The MRI: What to Do With the Results
As I wrote in my previous article on this topic, it is my goal for you, the doctor, to be an expert in interpreting MRI images yourself; and to be able to independently make decisions based upon a combination of clinical presentations and findings, followed by the MRI images.
Is There a Neurological Basis and Correction for Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration, aka AMD (age-related macular degeneration), is a common eye disease and a leading cause of blindness in people age 50 years and older, according to the National Institutes of Health National Eye Institute.
Forgotten Options for Musculoskeletal Health
Challenges with musculoskeletal health are of tremendous concern for many people today.
How to Humanize Your Content to Create Stronger Relationships
Content marketing is about building relationships, whether that is through updates on social media, offers on your website, blog posts, email campaigns, or even printed material. Now days a business needs to make a human connection.
Integrative Medicine Can Shape the Profession
As the AOM profession struggles to define the role of "integrative" medicine within their practices their schools and organizations, students, faculty, alumni and administrators at schools wrestle with discussions of how much, where, how, and what to "integrate."
Do Doctors Lie to Patients? (Do You Lie to Yours?)
In a previous column ["When Patients Lie (Bribe or Flatter)," Oct. 1, 2015], I discussed the issue of patients lying to doctors, and the many reasons why this can occur.
Asking the Insurance Rep the Right Questions
One of the first or last questions a potential patient often asks is: "Do you take insurance?" An ill-informed or optimistic, "yes" can result in delayed or non-payment. Instead, just say: "Let me check if you are eligible first."
Yo San University Helps Make LA Communities Healthier
An element of healthcare training often overlooked is the residual benefit to communities served by Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AOM) schools nationwide.
Treating Pain: The Hypermobile Coccyx
When I write about the coccyx, I recognize that I am talking about a relatively small subset of patients. When I write for Dynamic Chiropractic, I am trying to reach 60,000 chiropractors.
Billing and Coding for Moxibustion
Q: I am trying to locate a code for cupping and moxibustion, and have had various fellow acupuncturists indicate that they bill using the existing codes for heat, 97010 hot packs or 97026 infra-red for moxa and 97016 vasopneumatic device for cupping.
Interprofessionalism: What it Means and Why You Should Care
Interprofessionalism in education and in practice is a growing trend across health care in the United States. The idea that team-based care and collaborative practice can improve health care has been around more than 50 years.
Window of the Sky Points
The acupuncture points known as Window of the Sky are a modern creation. There is no reference in Chinese medical texts for an acupuncture point category called Window of the Sky.
The Clinical Versatility of Milk Thistle (Part 2)
Evidence is growing that the silymarin complex of flavonolignans from milk thistle can impact serum ferritin and iron overload in various clinical circumstances.
The Roots of Insomnia
One of the most common clinical presentations is insomnia. Next to digestive disorders, sleep disorders are one of the most common complaints the clinician will encounter in daily practice.
Lab Rats (Roaming the Streets)
The title of this article is an accurate description of American consumers (regardless of age) in the modern era.
Taking Another Step Toward a Secure Future
In 2008, the Council on Chiropractic Guidelines and Practice Parameters (CCGPP) released a literature review on chiropractic care for low back disorders.
RAND Study Recruiting DCs
Dr. Ian Coulter, RAND / Samueli chair for integrative medicine and senior health policy researcher for the RAND Corporation, has issued a call for participation, recruiting doctors of chiropractic for a practice-based research study that will examine "the impact of evidence, outcomes, costs and patient preferences on the choice of treatment for chronic low back pain and neck pain."
Percussion Therapy: An Experiment
My study of qi began more than 20 years ago — long before my study of TCM, points or pathways. It all started with an awareness in my hands and physical manifestations in the way of blockages while working on clients.
Ethics: The Glue That Holds Us Together
Kudos to the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) for creating a code of ethics for the nationwide profession and for deciding to make courses in ethics a requirement for certification renewal.
Enhancing Performance in Cross-Fit Athletes
Cross-fitness centers are expanding in number and increasing in popularity. To remain relevant to this growing portion of society, practitioners need to learn about the exercises and injuries common to this group.
Changing the Cultural View of Medicine
Many hospitals in the U.S. are incorporating integrative clinics that include Traditional Chinese Medicine. Cleveland Clinic has led the charge for adding a traditional Chinese herbal medicine clinic to their existing acupuncture program.
From Antiquity to Modernity: Huang Qin Tang at Yale Medical School, Part 1
Traditional Chinese medicine is a coherent medical system with several unique characteristics: it originated almost 3,000 years ago; in its area of origin, it has been practiced without interruption since its inception.
East Meets West
Gung Hay Fat Choi. Welcome to the year of the Monkey. There will be fireworks for both January and February this year. What great celebrations.
Chiropractic Around the World: WFC Country Reports December 2015
The following country updates are reprinted with permission from the December 2015 World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC) Quarterly World Report. Information is excepted for space and edited to DC-specific style guidelines.
Diet, Nutrition and the Context of Risk (Part 1)
Food and supplement safety is a topic that often comes up when I speak to chiropractors for CE relicensing, even when it is not the advertised subject.
Evaluating the Use of Gas Discharge Visualization to Measure Massage Therapy Outcomes
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/.