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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter June 18, 2015

Evaluating the use of gas discharge visualization to measure massage therapy outcomes

  • Jolie Haun EMAIL logo , Nitin Patel , Gary Schwartz and Cheryl Ritenbaugh


Background: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the short-term effects of massage therapy using gas discharge visualization (GDV), a computerized biophysical electrophoton capture (EPC), in tandem with traditional self-report measures to evaluate the use of GDV measurement to assess the bioenergetic whole-person effects of massage therapy.

Methods: This study used a single treatment group, pre–post-repeated measures design with a sample of 23 healthy adults. This study utilized a single 50-min full-body relaxation massage with participants. GDV measurement method, an EPC, and traditional paper-based measures evaluating pain, stress, muscle tension, and well-being were used to assess intervention outcomes.

Results: Significant differences were found between pre- and post-measures of well-being, pain, stress, muscle tension, and GDV parameters. Pearson correlations indicate the GDV measure is correlated with pain and stress, variables that impact the whole person.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates that GDV parameters may be used to indicate significant bioenergetic change from pre- to post-massage. Findings warrant further investigation with a larger diverse sample size and control group to further explore GDV as a measure of whole-person bioenergetic effects associated with massage.


Dr Haun and co-authors conducted this research in cooperation with the University of Arizona, College of Medicine, and the Laboratory for Advances in Consciousness and Health; and Canyon Ranch. This material is also the result of work supported with resources and the use of facilities at the Health Services Research & Development (HSR&D), Center of Innovation on Disability and Rehabilitation Research at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital, Tampa, FL, within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Manuscript content is solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NCCAM, the National Institutes of Health, or the University of Arizona; or the VA or the United States Government.

Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.

Research funding: This publication was in part made possible by Grant Number T32 AT001287 from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM).

Employment or leadership: None declared.

Honorarium: None declared.

Competing interests: The funding organization(s) played no role in the study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the report for publication.


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Received: 2014-3-11
Accepted: 2015-5-28
Published Online: 2015-6-18
Published in Print: 2015-9-1

©2015 by De Gruyter

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