Multisite Electromyographic analysis of therapeutic touch and qigong therapy

Author: Wirth DP//Cram JR//Chang RJ
Conference/Journal: J Altern Complement Med
Date published: 1997
Other: Volume ID: 3 , Issue ID: 2 , Pages: 109-118 , Word Count: 309

The influence of complementary healing treatment on paraspinal electromagnetic activity at specific neuromuscular sites was examined in an exploratory pilot study that used a multisite surface electromyographic (sEMG) assessment procedure. The study was a replication and extension of previous research that indicated that complementary healing had a significant effect in normalizing the activity of the 'end organ' for the central nervous system (CNS). Multisite sEMG electrodes were placed on the frontalis, cervical (C4), thoracic (T6), and lumbosacral (L3) paraspinals of 44 subjects who were divided into three groups: (1) students/patients of a Qigong practitioner (n = 16); (2) students/patients of a therapeutic touch (TT) practitioner (n = 14); and (3) nonbelievers in complementary healing (n = 14). A traditional ABAC experimental design was used with each subject evaluated for one 20-minute session that included four 5-minute segments. The purpose of this study was to measure the variable energizing effect of Qigong therapy along with the anecdotally and experimentally established relaxation effect of TT therapy relative to patient belief and expectancy. Treatment sessions consisted of Qigong and a modified form of TT intervention for all three groups. Due to the double-blind nature of the study, however, group 1 subjects were aware of only the Qigong intervention; group 2 subjects were aware of only the TT intervention, and group 3 subjects were informed that the study was designed to assess the neuromuscular activity of individuals in a seated position. The results indicated a statistically significant rise in electromagnetic activity for group 1 during the Qigong intervention segment (p <0.024). Group 2 demonstrated a modest although overall nonsignificant decrease in multisite sEMG levels for both treatment protocols, whereas group 3 exhibited relatively consistent neuromuscular activity for both control and treatment segments. The results of this study are considered preliminary in nature, however, due to the potential influence of several confounds including psychophysiological factors, established behavior patterns, and the possibility for information transfer due to sensory cues.