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Thermomechanical Massage Devices used in China and South Korea: A Preliminary Report of Health Outcomes and Side Effects

Chang Sok So O.M.D., M.D., Ph.D., Roland A. Giolli Ph.D, Maritza Jauregui Ph.D., Tonya L. Schuster Ph.D., Haiou Yang Ph.D., Robert H.I. Blanks, Ph.D. 

Editorial Comments by Dr. Matthew McCoy

Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research ~ September 30, 2003 ~ Pages 1-9



Purpose: To provide a preliminary evaluation of health outcomes for a type of thermomechanical massage device used in Asia, Middle East, and Europe and now in the United States.  The device under study is manufactured by Migun Medical Instruments International (Taejeon, Korea) and has an estimated usage of 24-35 million client-sessions per year worldwide.


Methods: findings were obtained from unpublished clinical evaluations of 76 patients (47 female, 29 male; age 16-78 years) across four hospitals in China, and a survey of 238 clients from a Migun demonstration center in Seoul, Korea.


Findings: Health professionals in the four Chinese hospitals rated thermomechanical massage as effective among 75-95% of their patients with a variety of musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, neurological and other disorders. Similarly, 91% of clients from the Migun demonstration center in Seoul reported an improvement of 91% overall. The most common health problems of the clients were musculoskeletal (40%), gastrointestinal (20%), and nervous system (14%). There were also side effects reported; the most common involved the gastrointestinal (15/41), integumentary (12/41), musculoskeletal (5/41), nervous system symptoms (5/41), urogenital and endocrine systems (2/41), cardiovascular system (1/41), and respiratory (1/41) systems. Side effects were generally mild in severity and short term in duration.


Conclusions: Although these findings are preliminary, and based upon limited clinical evaluations and self-reported client data, they suggest that thermomechanical devices may offer major health benefits with moderate numbers of relatively minor side-effects. The next phase of the research will be to confirm these findings in a large, representative sample of thermomechanical massage clients using a new standardized self-reported health and wellness survey before initiating further studies to assess effectiveness of the device under controlled clinical conditions.


Key words: Health and Wellness outcomes measures, crosscultural health, alternative therapies, thermomechanical massage devices.

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