Bio-Well and Massage Therapy

Bio-Well and Massage Therapy

The following is taken from the article: Evaluating the use of gas discharge visualization to measure massage therapy outcomes.

Previous research has demonstrated that massage therapy affects both physiological and psychological outcome measures and provides an indication of the biological systems affected by massage therapy. Biow-well has shown that massage is helpful for stress and overall healthHowever, these measures evaluate the effects of massage on different systems in the body in a somewhat fragmented manner when viewed from a complex systems perspective. Practitioners and researchers alike seek innovative ways to understand the energetic whole-person effects of massage therapy commonly seen in practice with clients and patients after receiving massage treatments. This study sought to investigate the bioenergetic effects of massage in a sample of healthy adults using the GDV device in tandem with traditional self-report paper-based measures to determine if the GDV device can effectively address more global, whole-person outcomes.

This study contributes several findings regarding use of GDV to evaluate whole-person outcomes of massage therapy. First, the protocol of this study was successfully completed with all participants; demonstrating the acceptability of using GDV measurement with healthy participants. All participants were able to complete the GDV measure process without issue. Second, consistent with previous research, data findings supported H1 and H2, suggesting that massage therapy has beneficial effects on well-being, pain, muscle tension, and stress using traditional measures and GDV measurement. Outcomes of the analysis to explore RQ1 indicated significant correlations between the paper-based measures and the GDV measures. Standard deviations for GDV correlations were high; however, this is expected in cases when there is high variation among participants, as in this study sample. The significant correlations between the GDV and self-report measures of pain and stress support the theoretical hypothesis that the GDV device produces a whole-person-oriented psychophysiologic measure that indicates one’s bioenergetic field.

Findings also indicate that the GDV measure of one’s bioenergetic field is not unidirectional. These data support the notion of energetic “balance,” something that has been hypothesized but not rigorously supported through a biological marker such as GDV in this field of study. This notion of balance as measured by the “symmetry” value change as seen in Figure 6 is a quantifiable representation of the participants’ GDV change patterns [example provided in Figure 5(a) and 5(b)]. Generally speaking, some individuals may need to relax during a massage, while others experience rejuvenation; and others may come in a balanced state, and thus experience little change as measured by the GDV. This observation converges with observations made by massage therapists in practice with healthy clients and those with health conditions. This variability in valence of change in symmetry suggests an individualized bioenergetic treatment effect from massage therapy. The potential clinical relevance of this observation is that massage therapy can promote bioenergetic balance, resulting in person-specific treatment effects. These data warrant more investigation that focuses on individualized participant data analysis to understand and explore individualized treatment effects.

While the study is small, it provides several results that can inform future research. GDV subscale measures are correlated with traditional self-report measures of pain and stress; and the GDV is sensitive to changes pre- and post-massage. Outcomes of this early phase research indicate the GDV electrophotographic imaging process is an acceptable approach for collecting data in the general population, and may also be acceptable for use in patient populations. The GDV’s potential to measure whole-person bioenergetic outcomes may also have implications for other complementary and alternative modalities, such as acupuncture, acupressure, meditation, yoga, etc. Future validation of this alternative measure of effectiveness could also be added with other accepted physiological measure protocols, such as electroencephalography.

In summary, findings of this study confirm previous research, suggesting massage is an effective treatment to immediately reduce pain, stress, tension, and increase physical and mental well-being in the general population. Findings indicate the GDV device may hold the potential for demonstrating the complex system bioenergetic effects associated with receiving massage. Using healthy individuals with varying levels of physical, mental, and emotional wellness as a sample with a minimal dosage of Swedish massage provides a preliminary demonstration of the sensitivity and feasibility of using the GDV device. These data also provide a preliminary indication the GDV devise may also be appropriate to use with diverse populations, such as individuals with health conditions, regardless of technique and dosage. One might hypothesize individuals reporting higher levels of symptomology (i.e. pain, stress, tension, anxiety, etc.) may have more significant changes in their bioenergetic levels, from pre- to post-treatment, as measured by the GDV device.

Haun J, Patel N, Schwartz G, Ritenbaugh C. Evaluating the use of gas discharge visualization to measure massage therapy outcomes. Journal of complementary & integrative medicine. 2015;12(3):231-239. doi:10.1515/jcim-2014-0014.

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